Covid-19 Vaccination Programme: Guidance for Staff Bookings

The Covid-19 vaccination programme, including for workforce, is rolling out at pace and we have compiled below information and resources available to support individuals, organisations and communities across Birmingham and the surrounding areas.

We have been informed to share the booking links below with all health and social care staff, including those from the voluntary, community, faith and social enterprise sector.  Where services are funded through health or social care, then all staff are eligible, including volunteers.  Please also note, this applies to those working in Birmingham and Solihull, even where travelling from home outside of these areas.

Information from Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group

Birmingham and Solihull Vaccination Update

Key Messages to cascade

The BSol Covid Vaccine Programme is now entering Phase 2 after successfully completing Phase 1 (offering all over 50s, health and social care workers, the clinically vulnerable and carers the vaccination by 15 April). Phase 2 will see age-related cohorts open up, between now and June, to offer the rest of the adult population the opportunity to be vaccinated.

Over 40s now eligible to book 

As you will have read, the JCVI has opened up the next cohort (Cohort 10) for vaccinations. All over 40s can now book their vaccinations via the National Booking Service (NBS). Text messages are being send via NHS national team to advise people there are now eligible.

We have put together a toolkit so that you can share this across your channels and promote uptake in your respective areas. You can download this here: https://www.birminghamandsolihullccg.nhs.uk/get-involved/campaigns-and-toolkits

Second doses

Second doses are progressing well across the system however there are a small percentage who have either not attended or have not yet been contacted by their GP to arrange a second dose.

It is important to ensure maximum protect and to reduce the transmission rate in the community that people complete the course and have the second dose. This is particularly important as the lockdown restrictions are further eased and members of multiple households can now mix outdoors.

ACTION: Please share the message that the second dose is vital to ensure maximum protection against the virus and to reduce the spread of coronavirus through your internal and external channels.

Health and social care workers  - National Booking Service reopens

From Monday 19 April, the National Booking Service (NBS) will reopen for health and social care bookings. The service took a short pause to allow second dose appointments to be prioritised for the most vulnerable cohorts.

Staff requiring a first dose will be able to book at a location of their choice via the NBS. They will still be required to prove there are employed in a health or social care role. A reminder of the information needed is below:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • NHS number
  • Residential post code
  • Mobile telephone number (so that appointment date and time can be texted)

On the day of appointment, staff will need to bring their ID badge or proof of your employer such as a payslip or letter on headed paper.

Key messages following update on AztraZeneca vaccine (as at 9th April 2021)

As you will have read, the JCVI guidance for the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine has been amended following a small number of rare blood clot complications after the first dose. All vaccinations given at Hospital Hubs in Birmingham and Solihull, except the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust and Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust use the Pfizer vaccine. There is no change to the guidance for the Pfizer vaccine and therefore any of your staff vaccinated should be reassured and continue to uphold their appointments.

This a very rare condition – there is only a 4 in 1 million chance of developing this and to put it into context there is greater risk from other common practice such as using an oral contraceptive or taking a long-haul flight.

Please see below the guidance for service users and any health and social care workers booked at a local vaccination service or vaccination centre.

Guidance on Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccination

The MHRA is carrying out a detailed review of reports of a very rare blood clotting problem affecting a small number of people who have had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. Scientists have found a risk of about 4 people in 1 million developing a rare blood clotting disorder; with about 1 person in a million dying. This has now been classified as a very rare side effect of the vaccine.

It is currently unclear whether this disorder affects people of a particular gender or age, or whether it is associated with any under lying health conditions.

It is also important to note that thromboses (blood clots) have been reported with natural COVID-19 infection and more than a fifth of hospitalised patients with COVID-19 have evidence of blood clots.

It remains clear that the Astra Zeneca ­(Oxford) vaccine is very effective against protecting you from becoming seriously ill or dying from COVID-19. Advice now issued reflects the balance of risk and benefit for individuals based on your age and underlying health conditions. 

People aged 30 or over or those with health conditions

In this group of people it is believed that the risk associated with the AZ vaccine (which is very small) is hugely outweighed by the benefit of protection from COVID-19 that is offered. Age is a significant factor when weighing up risk with older adults more likely to die from coronavirus due to their age alone – for example the risk of dying in an individual aged 40-49 years is 3 times higher than someone aged 30-39 years and 12 times higher than someone aged 20-29 years – therefore protecting against covid-19 has greater benefit than any potential risk. This benefit is also demonstrated in people under 30 years with health conditions placing them in the clinically extremely vulnerable or clinically vulnerable categories.

If you have already had a first dose of AZ vaccine without suffering any serious side effects, you should complete the course. You will protect yourselves and your loved ones against coronavirus.

People under 30 without health conditions

If you are under 30, without health conditions that increase your risk, your risk of serious consequences of COVID-19 vaccination is low. This group includes health and social care workers, carers or people living with immunosuppressed patients who are prioritised for vaccination. In this group, the risk of the rare clotting complication with AZ is estimated as the same as in the rest of the population. The JCVI have advised that this changes the risk/benefit balance of receiving the AZ. If you have not yet had a first vaccine, you can be offered an alternative vaccine. This would be either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. 

If you have an appointment scheduled for your first dose at a centre using the AZ vaccine, your appointment will be cancelled by the central booking team. You should have a discussion with your GP or other healthcare professionals about the risk benefit balance of receiving the AZ vaccine.

After this conversation:

  • You may choose to go ahead and have the AZ vaccine
  • You may choose to have a different vaccine

You will be guided on how to book to receive your vaccination.

If you have already had a first vaccine with no clotting side effects then you will be offered the second vaccine as AZ.

People aged 18 to 29 years including health and social care workers, unpaid carers and family members of those who are immunosuppressed can still choose to have the second AZ dose if they have already had a first dose of AZ vaccine without suffering any serious side effects. If you have had a history of bloods clots that have required treatment with blood thinning medication, please seek advice from a medical professional before having your jab.

Pregnant women and those with blood disorders

Pregnant women and people with blood disorders that leave them at risk of clotting, should discuss the benefits and risks of vaccination with their doctor before going for a jab.

If you have experience unusual/serious side effects following your first dose

Anyone who experiences the following symptoms for four or more days should call 111;

  • a severe headache that is not relieved with painkillers or is getting worse
  • a headache that feels worse when you lie down or bend over
  • a headache that's unusual for you and occurs with blurred vision, feeling or being sick, problems speaking, weakness, drowsiness or seizures (fits)
  • a rash that looks like small bruises or bleeding under the skin
  • shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling or persistent abdominal (tummy) pain

Further information regarding the vaccine and blood clotting is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-and-blood-clotting/covid-19-vaccination-and-blood-clotting                    

Public Health England Covid Vaccine resources: https://coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/

Other key messages:

First doses

Staff who have not yet received their first dose, can book their appointment through their GP as the National Booking System is now closed for first doses.

Second doses

Second doses will begin taking place at Hospital Hubs and vaccinations centres across the city, over the next few weeks. Please see communication about second doses which contains a schedule, advice on what staff need to do if they have an issue with their second appointment and lots of FAQs.

Manager actions for vaccination

If you are a line manager, you have an important role to play in the vaccination programme to ensure our staff are well protected from the virus.

Please ensure you contact your staff directly who are currently away from work, on long term sick, maternity leave etc and are informed, encouraged and supported to book a COVID-19 vaccination slot.

Vaccination slots are open to all staff regardless of role and we have a duty of care to keep them informed of the opportunities available to them. Those who are clinically vulnerable or shielding, in particular, should be encouraged to have the vaccine as soon as possible.

Please be mindful that some colleagues may have not been on-site at all during the pandemic and remind them to adhere to social distancing measures such as keeping 2m apart wherever possible and to wear a mask at all times.

A comprehensive list of FAQs and information is available on dedicated Birmingham and Solihull COVID-19 Vaccination website to aid you in answering questions, however, please do let Communications know if there are concerns being raised that are not covered in the FAQs.

View a range of staff testimonials here.

Vaccine hesitancy – communication toolkits

We know that there are groups who are unsure about taking the vaccine and as such considerable work is being undertaken to reassure and promote the safety and efficacy of the vaccine particularly among our BAME communities and younger female colleagues. We continue to produce social media assets and updated FAQs to support answering questions and promoting the vaccination programme.

Our dedicated website, which had over 90,000 views last week alone, is updated daily and contains social media images, staff and public case studies, videos from BAME local clinicians, translated leaflets, interfaith messages, recordings of online sessions and mythbusters.

You can access these here.

We’d encourage you to share these resources on your channels and to flag any new myths, rumours etc to us so we can address these in any new materials.

Further information and queries

For more information about the vaccine and FAQs, leaflets and videos, please visit the Birmingham and Solihull Covid Vaccination website here.

Any queries regarding Covid vaccination for health and social care staff should be directed to [email protected]

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