Covid-19 Booster & Flu Vaccinations – Information for patients

Thank-you for your patience in waiting for updates, we wanted to write to you to let you know that the following GP Practices;  Milman Road and Kennet Surgery, Reading Walk-in Health Centre and Abbey Medical Centre, will be working together to offer joint clinics for COVID-19 boosters and Flu jabs.

We also wanted to ensure we have provided you with the information you need and have put together this guide, including some ‘frequently asked questions’ which we hope you find helpful. Because the National guidance changes frequently, we will update this information as the service evolves.

Can we kindly ask that where you have any additional queries about the Flu or covid booster clinics, you contact us through our website via the ‘ask us a question’ form.

This will help reduce long queues on the telephone, which we do anticipate and ask for your understanding.

Why are we doing this?

Our objective is to offer both Flu and COVID boosters to as many eligible people as possible in the hopes that we can reduce the local levels of COVID and Flu cases. We are offering Saturdays to ensure we can continue with business as usual (which includes face to face consultations to those that need it). Our staff and colleagues are offering extra hours at the weekend to make this happen for which we are incredibly grateful. What we ask of you in return is your understanding and support at this time.

For your information Clinics will be held at Milman Road Health Centre on Saturdays between the 9th October through to December 2021.

Additional information is as follows:

Site Information (including address)

Milman Road Health Centre, 50 Milman Rd, Reading, RG2 0AR

Link to the site map as follows: Milman Road Health Centre – Google Maps.

The reason that Milman Road Health Centre has been chosen as the delivery site for the practices listed above is because we wanted to ensure there would not be any confusion with the already established Mass Vaccination Site at Broad Street Mall. We also wanted to be separate to the South Street Hub to ensure a local service for the patient populations that we serve. Milman Road Health Centre has ample space to accommodate several vaccinators, with ground floor access and an outside space for post vaccination observation, which are all mandatory requirements.

Parking

Because we are offering larger than usual clinics, we will not be able to provide parking for everyone, the limited spaces we do have will be prioritised for Blue-Badge holders.

Marshals will be available on clinic days to support patients and reduce impact to the residents of Milman Road and neighbouring streets. There will be a drop off and turning point for patients who have organised a lift with a friend or relative because of limited or restricted mobility.

Please note, should you or a relative have any other access issues, please discuss this with the practice you are registered with to see what we can do to help.

Patient groups eligible for vaccinations

We will be following NHS guidance in terms of who should be offered a Flu and COVID-19 booster and we will contact you in turn, please see below:

COVID-19 Booster

To be eligible for the Covid booster, you must be doubly vaccinated, with the last dose on the dates as follows:

Clinic No. Date of Clinic Dates of 2nd vaccination
1 9th October On or before 9th April 2021
2 16th October 10th – 16th April 2021
3 23rd October 7th – 23rd April 2021
4 30th October 24th – 30th April 2021
5 6th November 1st – 6th May 2021
6 13th November 7th – 13th May
7 20th November 14th – 20th May
8 27th November 21st – 27th May
9 4th December 28th May – 4th June
10 11th December 5th – 11th June
11 18th December 12th – 18th June

Patients eligible for a free NHS flu vaccination include:-

  • Patients aged 50 years and older (age on 21 March 2022)
  • Patients aged 6 months to 49 years in clinical risk groups (those with chronic conditions such as respiratory disease, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, neurological disease, diabetes, morbid obesity)
  • Immunocompromised/immunosuppressed patients and their household contacts
  • Children aged two or three years on 31 August 2021
  • Pregnant women
  • Carers for those who may be at risk
  • Patients with a learning disability
  • Frontline health and social care workers

Where possible, to save you two trips we would like to offer you the Flu and Covid vaccines together, although because of the 6 month gap needed between the 2nd covid vaccine dose and booster, this may not be possible. We will therefore be offering additional appointments during practice hours and will let you know the dates for these. If you think you are eligible for a Flu vaccine and we have not yet contacted you please do go to the ‘ask the practice a question section’ on the website.

Booking

We will be in touch with all patients when it is their turn to be invited to a clinic based on the timeframes provided in section 3 (above) – you will be invited via text message or phone call.

For your information there may be some duplication in us and NHS England contacting you for a Covid or Flu booster. This is because NHS England is contacting all patients that are eligible in a universal way. Their letter will ask you to use the National Booking system to choose a site to book into but this does not include the GP practices (only the Mass Vaccination sites or local pharmacy), which may or may not be local to you.

You are free to choose a site that best suits your needs – you can ignore the NHS invitation letter if you opt to book at the Milman Road site for a Covid booster or have arranged a Flu vaccine with the practice you are registered with directly – we also hope we can offer you both vaccines together to save you two trips if you do need both.

Once you have booked an appointment with us, please do attend it. If you decide to go elsewhere, please also let us know we can then update our records and take you off the contact lists.

  • Instructions on arrival at the clinic:
  • Please see the parking guidance as per section 2 (above)
  • Please come wearing a face mask if you are able to wear one, which is in-line with the National Guidance for accessing healthcare services
  • Do not come for your appointment if you have any Covid symptoms and please give us notice if you are unable to make it so we can allocate your appointment to another patient
  • Following your vaccination you will be required to wait for 15 minutes for observation, the area will be outside but will be covered from the elements, with heating facilities
  • There will be some queuing involved but we will provide chairs, please come prepared with warm clothing. We do ask that you wear clothing that is easy to take on and off so that the vaccinator can reach your arms
  • Toilets will be accessible to use at the Milman Road site and patient navigators will be available

Consent

  • Where possible we kindly ask that complete and bring the consent form with you – we will email or text you this, we will also have forms available from reception for collection from Weds 6th October 2021 onwards
  • We may need your NHS number to update the vaccination record, but do not worry if you do not know this
  • It would also be helpful if you had a list of your medication to hand, in case the vaccinator wants to check these with you

Frequently Asked Questions

What vaccine will it be for the Booster?

The booster currently available is the Pfizer vaccine. The research shows that it doesn’t matter which vaccine you had initially and we will not have any choice in what vaccines we can offer you. You should not have the Pfizer vaccine if you had an anaphylaxis reaction previously (which was very few people), please see below.

If the clinics are for both the Covid Booster & the Flu jab, what happens if I only want one of them?

We will be giving flu and boosters together where possible and has been approved by MHRA and NHS England/I. Patients can decide to just have 1 or the other, however if they do not want to have the Covid Booster, they may be asked to have their Flu jab at a later date, or go to local pharmacy where they do not need an appointment with us. If they decide they do not want the Flu jab, or have already had it, we will still be able to give them the Covid Booster at one of our clinics.

What about my child aged 12-15yrs?

Healthy 12-15 year olds will be offered a Booster and Flu jab at school as the school’s immunisation teams are delivering all these vaccinations.

What about Immunocompromised patients?

We are still waiting to know more from NHS England. Once the plan has been decided we will inform patients.

What if I had my Covid vaccinations abroad?

Some patients will have had 1 or 2 doses abroad. We will be offering the Booster vaccine to these patients the same as any other patients, in line with the guidance i.e. 6 months after the 2nd dose. Please do get in touch via our website if you had your vaccines abroad and are not sure if we have a record of this, or you do not receive an invitation from us for the Booster when you think you should.

What if I have Covid symptoms when I am due to have my Covid Booster?

If a patient has Covid symptoms they cannot have the vaccine until they have recovered from the symptoms to avoid confusing vaccine side effects with the illness.

What if I know I have Covid-19? Covid positive patients need to wait at least 4 weeks from when they tested positive before having the vaccine.

What if I can’t make the clinic if I booked an appointment?

We will be offering clinics on Saturdays from October through to December. It is up to patients where they would like their vaccine; please see the booking section 4 (above).

What do I do if I had side effects from my vaccine last time? Unless you had an anaphylactic reaction (tight throat/breathing AND itchy swollen skin) then you can have the Pfizer vaccine.