Covid News and Updates    2021

  1. 1It is pretty clear to me that mass vaccination, when there is limited stock and high throughput is required, is best carried out at mass vaccination centres.  Once there is greater levels of stock and we can afford to be less efficient in the administration of the vaccine then of course pharmacists should be involved in the vaccination programme, particularly if this is to become an annual event.


[Graham Phillips] Agreed;  which is why we should get the service set up and commissioned NOW so we can hit the ground running as soon as stocks become available. That is precisely what happens every year with the flu jab


Also, I would be less cynical about all the chirping from local pharmacists if they came out and stated they would offer to carry out vaccinations free of charge to the NHS.  In the Harpendia article, Graham Phillips is quoted as saying "The Nation’s 11,000+ local community pharmacies have offered to work alongside local GPs to provide a vaccination service in precisely the same way they already provide the annual Flu jab".  Given that they get paid to administer the flu vaccine it seems that all this complaining maybe about not having the opportunity to take "advantage" of another revenue stream.  Maybe they could volunteer at one of the mass vaccination centres until such time that and alternative more distributed approach can be afforded

[Graham Phillips] Does your reader assume that GPs are providing this service unpaid? I can assure them that’s not the case. The NHS has invested an additional £150m to fund GPs to provide the service.  Community pharmacists would provide the identical service and  be paid the same as our GP colleagues. To provide something at this scale (ie  to inject the majority  of the UK adult population TWICE with no resources is simply not feasible. Does your correspondent believe that the pharmaceutical companies are providing the jabs for free? I can assure you that they aren’t


  1. 1Pharmacies will need space to do this also with the Pfizer vaccine you have to wait to see if there are side affects so not that easy as well as PPE. Not like a flu jab when you can walk in and out. Logistics would be hard as well as storage of the vaccine and safety of storing it and who is handling it during storage. Being an ex nurse it often isn’t as simply as you think. X the Pfizer vaccine you have to return for a second injection so again the logistics of that.


[Graham Phillips] We have the space: already provide the annual flu jab; actually with respect to the new Oxford/AZ jab its remarkably similar to the annual Flu jab, except each person receives the vaccine twice. As for the logistics? Community pharmacists are superb at logistics: perhaps your correspondent is unaware of the 10 billion prescriptions we dispense every year


3. Certainly the way to go in the future as so much more convenient for us the public.

Would imagine the logistics behind distribution etc a handicap. In addition having seen the huge number of people having covid vaccinations at batchwood yesterday ( my 96 year old mother one of them) can see that the central vaccination sites a good way to have as large a "throughput" as possible in the first few months of covid vaccine rollout. There's certainly a time and place for pharmacy and gp surgery vaccinations but let's go for the easy wins first!!


[Graham Phillips] The logistics are not a problem for us. I doubt your correspondents mother has to go to a distant centre to collect their prescriptions? Or do they use a local pharmacy? Nuff said!


Jan 11. PHARMACY OWNER GRAHAM PHILLIPS RESPONDS TO comments on Harpenden’s social media about Pharmacies being used for Covid vaccinations.

“Can Harpenden Pharmacies

be enlisted to help with the

Covid Vaccination programme?

I wondered why Pharmacies were not

involved in the programme given their

experience in providing Flu jabs. So I

researched the web site of

The Pharmaceutical Journal.

They were confident that that Pharmacies

could offer vaccinations if they followed Government procedures.

I also asked Graham Phillips the owner of Manor Pharmacy Group for his comments about the practicalities of the current situation and his thoughts going forward to achieve the Government targets.

Graham Phillips said:


The NHS is under massive pressure. The sooner we get vaccinated, the sooner thousands of lives (and the economy) will be saved.


The introduction of the new, (Oxford) Covid vaccination is a potential game changer which could be made available from every local pharmacy.


The Nation’s 11,000+ local community pharmacies have offered to work alongside local GPs to provide a vaccination service in precisely the same way they already provide the annual Flu jab. (Incidentally patient satisfaction with the pharmacy Flu service is off the scale!) If every local pharmacy were to provide just 20 Covid jabs a day, this would increase capacity by over 1.4million jabs PER WEEK.  But the Government has rejected the offer..


To deny people the convenience of having a jab from their local pharmacy (compared with than having to travel to a mass vaccination centre) and the opportunity to have the jab much sooner seems absolutely crazy.  


Why not write to our local MP and ask him to justify this position.

The 3 Harpenden GP Surgeries are still to announce a start date and a location. The Harpenden Trust have co ordinated a large volunteer force ready to assist the medical professionals. So it would seem that vaccinations could soon start? Presuming of course supplies of the vaccine are received.

BBC TV NEWS at ONE Jan 6 featured Simon Dukes, Chief Executive, Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee who questioned why Pharmacies across the country were not being involved in the roll out.


People in Wales will be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccination from their “local GP practice or pharmacy”, Vaughan Gething, the Welsh health minister, has said.


COVID-19 vaccination sites led by community pharmacies will start administering vaccines to patients in England from the week beginning 11 January 2021, NHS England has said.

The announcement comes as high street multiple Boots told The Pharmaceutical Journal that it will open three COVID-19 vaccination sites in Halifax, West Yorkshire, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire and Gloucester from “early January.


Pharmacy technicians in England are able to administer the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the Association of Pharmacy Technicians (APTUK) has said.

In a position statement, APTUK said that the government’s national protocol enables pharmacy technicians in England to “be authorised by name” to work under the supervision of a registered healthcare professional to deliver COVID-19 vaccines.

Ron Taylor. Editor.

Harpenden Health Primary Care Network (HHPCN) Newsletter 6   FAQ’s

Some Frequently Asked Questions

You will see below in the updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) answers to many of the queries people have at the present time.

1) Which group is Harpenden Health PCN (HHPCN) currently vaccinating?

At present we are inviting all patients in cohorts 1-9 to have their first doses and have just begun inviting patients who received their first dose in mid-January for their second doses.

2) Does Harpenden Health PCN have enough vaccine to continue with the vaccination programme in light of the recent government announcement on vaccine shortages?
Local vaccination centres have been given assurances that they will receive sufficient second dose supplies for all patients who have had their first dose with them. Second doses are due between 11 and 12 weeks after the first.

We also have plenty of vaccine available for all patients in cohorts 1-9 to be vaccinated with their first dose in Harpenden so please do not worry. As soon as we know when we will be delivered vaccine, we arrange clinics and send out invitations. Frequently this is with less than one week notice.

3) I have not been invited for my second dose yet, should I be concerned or try and book my second dose through 119 at a mass vaccination centre?
Invitations for second doses will be sent out a few weeks before they are due. If you have not been contacted by the 11 week mark post first vaccination then please do contact your GP surgery:

If registered with the Village Surgery, please use the online communication service on our website using the heading general enquiry.
If registered with Davenport House, please use the contact us section on the Practice website.
If registered with the Elms Medical Practice, please email

If you have had your first dose of vaccine at the Harpenden Public Halls your second dose has been ordered for you and will be delivered to the same location. It is therefore very important that you attend the same site for your second dose as you did your first. The only exception to this rule should be if you have moved out of the area or likewise just moved into this area.
You will definitely be invited by your Practice to attend Harpenden Public Halls if that is where you had your first dose. Please ignore any invitations form the National Booking Service (NBS) if you are in cohorts 1 to 9 and received your first dose at Harpenden Public Halls. Some patients have received texts from the NBS already but this is a mistake, you should wait for your Practice to contact you

4) I am in cohort 10-12 can I be vaccinated now?

The government have made it very clear that they will advise when cohorts 10-12 can be invited for their vaccines. Until this time we are being urged to encourage all those in cohorts 1 to 4 who have not yet taken up the offer of vaccination to do so and all those in cohorts 5-9 who are currently being invited to attend.

Cohorts 10-12 include all people aged 18 to 49 years who have not been vaccinated as part
of a higher priority group. This is phase 2 of the government COVID vaccinations policy and Harpenden Health PCN has applied to be allowed to use the National Booking Service (NBS). This will mean patients will get notice of their second appointment at the same time as they receive their first appointment. NBS is currently only used by the mass vaccinations sites and pharmacies. At present PCNs are not allowed to offer both appointments, hence why we have applied to join the NBS.
We are expecting much greater supplies of vaccine such that our patients in phase 2 (cohorts 10-12) will not need to travel to mass vaccination sites as you will be able to choose Harpenden Public Halls for your first vaccination once you receive your invitation from the National Booking Service.

5) Do you have a vaccine reserve waiting list that I can be put on?

We have had quite a few enquiries from patients asking to be added to a reserve waiting list. We plan our clinics very precisely on the number of vaccines delivered to avoid any leftover doses
at the end of each day. If we do have unexpected vaccine doses available at the end of the day, then we invite patients who are booked into subsequent clinics along earlier to ensure that we are vaccinating patients in those cohorts we have permission to vaccinate.

6) Cancelling appointments.

If you are not able to come to your vaccine appointment, please do remember to cancel it to allow the appointment slot to be released for someone else. We understand that people have busy lives or the unexpected happens and so if you miss your time slot and realise on the same day, then please do feel you can come down to the vaccine centre as soon as you can as we may still be able to vaccinate you.

7) I am pregnant and not sure whether to have the vaccine.

At the moment, the COVID-19 vaccine will only be offered to you if you are pregnant and at
high risk of catching COVID-19. However, this advice may change as more safety data accrues because of the concerns around the risks associated with this infection in the later stages of pregnancy.
We recognise this may be a difficult decision for you to make. We are here to listen to your concerns and provide you with information which may help you to make an informed decision. Please have a look at the following link which you may find useful. decision-aid.pdf

8) I have read in the news that there has been concern in Europe that the Oxford Astra Zeneca (AZ) vaccine may be associated with a risk of blood clots. I have a history of blood clots, should I avoid having the AZ vaccine?
The MHRA, the UK safety regulator for medicines and vaccines, has advised that there is no proven association between thrombosis and the AZ vaccine. Blood clots can occur naturally and are not uncommon. If you have had a previous blood clot depending on the cause of this, you may be at higher risk of a subsequent one and as such been prescribed medication to prevent this. There is no evidence that your risk is increased further by having the AZ vaccine. However, what we do know for certain is that there is an association between COVID-19 disease and thrombosis so we would urge you to speak to us and make an informed decision on risks versus benefits.

As of 19 March 2021, a number of countries who had halted use of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine have resumed rolling out this vaccine. receive-the-covid-19-vaccine-astrazeneca

9) Should I be worried if I get a headache or bruising after my vaccine?

Headaches for up to 48 hours post vaccine and bruising at the injection site are listed as common side effects and should not be a cause for concern. However, if a post vaccination headache persists for more than 4 days or spontaneous bruising at a site away from the injection site develops it is recommended that you consult your GP for advice.

This is because the type of thrombosis that has been highlighted in Europe and studied in the most recent safety investigations relates to a very rare type of blood clot in the brain. It has been noted these patients may also have low levels of blood cells responsible for clotting which can cause spontaneous bruising. It is a bit of an oddity as when these cells known as platelets are low, we might expect to have a lower risk of blood clots but the body in fact responds by releasing young hyperactive clotting cells which in turn lead to higher levels of tiny platelet particles which promote clotting factors in the blood so making blood clots more common.

10) I have read that having the vaccine may affect my mammogram result. Should I delay my mammogram?
A recent article in the British Medical Journal reported that advice in the US is that breast screening appointments should be scheduled to take place before women receive a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine or four to six weeks after the second dose where possible as there is a potential for glands under the arm injected to be increased in number and size temporarily post vaccination.

Public Health England (PHE) advise that breast screening service personnel are aware of the potential for enlarged lymph nodes following a COVID-19 vaccination. There is currently no requirement for women to be advised to delay attending a mammogram screening appointment following a COVID-19 vaccination.

11) Will having the COVID-19 vaccine affect fertility?

There is no evidence to suggest that the COVID-19 vaccine affects fertility. The information below may be helpful. rcog-on-covid-19-vaccinations-fertility-and-pregnancy/#:~:text=Dr%20Edward%20Morris%2C%20 President%20at,not%20supported%20by%20any%20data

12) If I do have side effects of the vaccine who should I contact?

If symptoms are mild, please follow the advice on the patient information leaflet you will be given at the time of vaccination. If they are prolonged or severe then please do contact your GP. We would also encourage patients to report any side effects to the MHRA by using the yellow card reporting system online.

Please use the link below to view previous newsletters and answers to other common frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Dr David Hemsi, Dr Tania Goodwin and Dr Chas Thenuwara Harpenden Health PCN (Primary Care Network)

Offering enhanced care and services to the patients of Davenport House Surgery, The Elms Medical Practice & The Village Surgery

For the latest Corona Virus Updates Please Follow the Links Below:

Davenport House Surgery The Elms Medical Practice The Village surgery

Newsletter 1 Newletter 2 Newsletter 3 Newsletter 4 Newsletter 5

Dr David Hemsi, Dr Tania Goodwin and Dr Chas Thenuwara Harpenden Health Primary Care Network

May. NEW.   Covid-19 booking

service at the Harpenden

Public Halls.

It has switched to the National Booking Service

which means you can use this service to book

a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination or

manage your appointments. As appointment

can booked either by

• booking on-line using the link


or by telephoning 119 and pressing option 1 for England and then option 2 for Coronavirus COVID-19 vaccination service

You can only use this service if any of the following apply:

You are aged 40 or over
• you’ll turn 40 before 1 July 2021
• you’re at high risk from COVID-19 (clinically extremely vulnerable)
• you have a condition that puts you at higher risk (clinically vulnerable)
• you have a learning disability
• you’re an eligible frontline health or social care worker
• you get a Carer’s Allowance, get support following an assessment by your local authority or your GP record shows you’re a carer.

The single biggest advantage in HHPCN switching to using the National Booking Service is that it means our patients get their first and second dose appointments at the time of booking. HHPCN and the three Practices will use their websites and social media to give advance notice to our registered patients of when the Harpenden Public Halls NBS booking opens, so our patients get first choice of dates.

Book your appointments

You need to:
• have 2 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine at 2 appointments
• book both appointments at the same time
• get the 2nd dose 11 to 12 weeks after getting your 1st dose

You can use this service for someone else.
If you’ve had a positive COVID-19 test, you should wait 4 weeks from the date you had the test before you book an appointment.
If you were under 30 years old on 30 March 2021, you will not be offered appointments for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. There may be fewer appointments available or you may have to travel further.
If you’re pregnant, speak to a healthcare professional from your maternity team or GP surgery before booking. It’s preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, which are not available at all vaccination sites.
We understand the concerns about blood clots, the latest information can be found here: vaccination-and-blood-clotting

Manage your appointments

If you already have appointments booked, you can: • view your appointments
• cancel your appointments
• book appointments again

If you are in cohort 1 to 10 and have not received your invitation for vaccination yet, or indeed have changed your mind and want to be vaccinated now, then please contact the National Booking Service.
As cohorts 11 (30-39 years) and cohort 12 (18-29 years) go live for vaccination, then these also can be booked through the National Booking Service.

At the moment, we anticipate cohort 11 will be mid-May onwards and cohort 12 early June.

Feb 5. Vaccines 'extremely

safe' as cases continue to fall.

Oxford-AZ vaccine 'effective

against dominant UK variant'

The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine gives

people good protection against the new

coronavirus variant which is now

dominant in the UK, its developers say.

They found similar efficacy against the  B117 “Kent” variant to the original virus, based on swabs from volunteers.

It is still unclear how well the jab works against other variants.

But the Oxford team says it can easily update its vaccine and deploy a new version in the autumn if needed.

Vaccine developers say it is a relatively straightforward process to tweak the current recipe to target any new variants, which occur often in viruses and are not unexpected.

Scientists behind the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines also say early research suggests their vaccines appear to protect against the dominant new variant in the UK.

Covid deaths down

COVID news update March 1st.

Monday evening saw Health Secretary Matt Hancock say there was "exciting new data" suggesting that coronavirus vaccines can reduce hospitalisations by more than 80%.

Speaking at the Downing Street press conference he said that one shot of either the Oxford/AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccines works against severe infection among over-70s and significantly reduces hospitalisations.

The study, published by Public Health England (PHE) on Monday, also shows that three to four weeks after a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine, deaths in the over-80s are reduced by 83%.

The study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, included more than 7.5 million people aged 70 and over in England.

"This is extremely good news," Mr Hancock said.

"In fact, the detailed data show that the protection that you get from catching Covid 35 days after a first jab is even slightly better for the Oxford jab than for Pfizer, albeit both results are clearly very strong."

Public Health England commented Since January, data has suggested protection against symptomatic Covid, four weeks after the first dose, ranged between 57 and 61% for one dose of Pfizer and between 60 and 73% for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

Dr Mary Ramsay, PHE Head of Immunisation, said: "This adds to growing evidence showing that the vaccines are working to reduce infections and save lives.

"Even if you have been vaccinated, it is it is really important that you continue to act like you have the virus, practice good hand hygiene and stay at home.

The number of people in the UK to have been given a first dose of a Covid vaccine as of Sunday is 20,275,451.

France has announced it will be using the AstraZeneca vaccine.

MAY. COVID-19 Self-testing kits now available at Boots in Harpenden.

Call in to the Pharmacy section and ask for details.

They are available after a brief conversation FREE of charge.

This service is part of the ongoing Government campaign,

So much easier than booking a slot at a TEST CENTRE.

The photo shows the Kit content with a Guide on how to use.