Tackling Vaccine Hesitancy during the covid19 pandemic
As the rollout of the covid19 vaccination continues and many people choose to have the vaccination when offered, it is clear that some people are choosing not to have it or confused by this. The covid19 vaccination is a critical part of the strategy to help the country get out of the lockdown and bring a normal sense of life and it is therefore essential as many people as possible take the vaccine when offered to help prevent the effects of the disease and in time slow the spread of the disease to others. This is alongside other measures including washing hands frequency, wearing a face mask in enclosed spaces and staying socially distanced. We are also currently in a tier 5 lockdown which means we must all stay at home unless there is a credible reason not to otherwise we will be breaking the law and be fined.
We at Haughton Thornley Medical Centres have therefore chosen to try to help those unsure or who are confused about whether to take the vaccine to try to provide trusted facts and information for you to refer to.
Please remember though that if you are still unsure or confused then please contact your GP or nurse to have a chat. We will remain non-judgmental and help you to make an informed decision about whether you choose to take the vaccine or positively decide not to.
Currently over 119,000 people have however died within 28 days of contracting the virus.
Many people are suffering with:
Fear, anxiety and stress
Mental health issues as a result of government measures to prevent the spread of covid19
Information overload finding it all too overwhelming
Whilst we know most people are not overtly against the vaccine, some people are simply unsure and wish to delay taking up the vaccine when offered. There are lots of reasons for this and we know certain types of people seem to be more affected particularly those from a Pakistani or Bangaldeshi background. However people from all communities are affected.
There is a lot of misinformation, half truths, myths, lies, conspiracy theories and fake news being spread. People often are unsure who to trust and what. Sometimes, people realise later it is fake news but by then they have already spread it to family and friends thinking it may be true when in fact it is not. Sometimes people find the messages communicated by the government to be confusing too which makes things even more difficult. When the same news is heard many times either via social media (whatsapp, text messages, facebook etc) or also word of mouth especially when it comes from a friend you know, it is more likely to be believed so be careful what you hear and check if it is true or not and trustworthy or not. Forwarded messages where it is not clear who sent it or whether they are authentic or not is a particular problem. Check if that sounds right or seems to be different to what you have heard otherwise. The more "amazing the claimĒ, the more you should question whether it is true or not. Do not just follow blindly because you get to decide what you believe or not and what you forward to others or not. People are fearful but this is due to the infection and knowing people have died, been admitted into hospital or become poorly as a result, not because of the vaccine and its effect on others.
Your GP practice - a safe place to receive trusted information from
When you are worried about your health, you come to your doctor or nurse to seek reassurance and also to know what to do. The practice is independent of other businesses and the government The practice website is a trusted place for you to know the facts and where we can continually signpost you to uptodate trusted information.
Local community leaders, Tameside & Glossop CCG and Tamside councilís website / facebook / twitter page are other sources of trusted information too.
What do we know about the covid19 vaccinations now?
It is safe to use now. It has been developed quickly in less than a year because the regulatory authorities have removed some of the red tape and countries, pharmaceutical companies and others have come together to share their knowledge to help develop the vaccine in as short a time as possible.
There is no need to wait for the vaccine when offered to you. You are putting yourself and others at increased risk if you wait.
Most people who have the vaccine do not encounter any side effects. Those that do may get a sore arm where the needles went in, may feel tired, feel achey or get a headache for a couple of days. About 1 in 3 people may experience such minor side effects. Take regular paracetamol for 2 days and this should make you feel better too.
Many people are fearful when the vaccine goes into the arm but are pleasantly surprised when they hardly feel it at all. Getting a blood test or having a blood pressure check hurts more!
The vaccine cannot cause covid19 infection just as the flu vaccine cannot cause flu. The vaccines help the body to fight the covid19 infection and hence reduce the effect of any symptoms or not cause you to have any symptoms at all.
You still need the vaccine even if you have had covid19 infection because this does not provide immunity for you and people had had the infection again
Staying indoors does not protect you from getting the infection because others you meet with can pass it on to you.
The vaccine cannot change your DNA or that of your offspring
The vaccine cannot make you infertile. No vaccine has ever made people infertile and those who had the vaccine have subsequently become pregnant.
The vaccine is not unsafe to use in pregnancy. Pregnant women at greater risk of getting covid19 because of where they work or have a health condition that means you are at high risk of serious complications of covid19 should have the vaccine.
Breastfeeding women should have the vaccine.
You do not need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination. The vaccine cannot give you or your baby covid19.
Even if you have had a reaction to another vaccine or suffer with allergies to medications or other foods eg nuts, it is still safe to have the vaccine. The only people who should not have a vaccine are those who have had a serious reaction to the previous dose of the same covid19 vaccine before and those who have suffered with anaphylaxis ( a very serious side effect which causes collapse of the patient and being referred to A&E as a result for life-saving treatment). Such reactions are very rare, usually happen at the time of the vaccination and staff giving the vaccine are trained on what to do if this happens.
The vaccine does not contact pork products or any animal products for that matter and is safe to use by vegans too.
Imams have said it is important for you to look after your bodies and do everything you can to protect yourself as well as putting your trust in God (Allah) too.
Those needing to go on hajj this year will need to have proof they have had the vaccine first as it is a requirement of the Saudi authorities. All vaccines are halal and can be used by Muslims
Here are some links to websites where you can find out more about the myths and how to overcome them
Please remember the NHS will get in touch with you when it is time for you to have the vaccine. You will receive a text message and/ or a letter inviting you to get the vaccine. Look out for this and then register to get the vaccine online. If you are unable to go online or unsure what to do then please ring the surgery and our reception staff would be happy to help you.
For those people who are housebound, staff will come to you to provide the vaccine in your own home. This may take time - please wait until you have been contacted to do so. To qualify, we need to know you are housebound, If you are unsure then please contact the surgery so that the code is added to your record. Please note - it is best to get somebody to take you to the vaccination centre by car if at all possible so that you have the best chance of getting your vaccine as soon as possible.
Well done for getting to here and reading this. Please share this with other people in your family / bubble. It is all in English but if you friends and family speak another language then please translate for them so that they know too.
Also please register for engage consult to get an appointment online, download and install the MJOG Messenger app on your mobile phone and see the practice website for further information about covid19 too.