If you have allergies – can you have an anti-Covid-19 vaccine?
And what if you are a private patient?
Having picked up numerous allergies, finding out if it’s OK for me to have the vaccine has taken four months, and over 100 phone calls.
Offered this vaccine in December, I reminded my doctor that I have some serious allergies. I could hear her brain ticking over, then she said “come back to me when YOU find out IF you can have the vaccine”.
I don’t blame her for passing the buck; the NHS has given her tiny Surgery a huge problem with a disproportionate amount of Oldies amongst her patients, and judging by the lack of expertise coming out of Whitehall, she knew no-one had given any thought to this problem and didn’t fancy all the trouble – as I found out.
I spoke to officials from Public Health England to the Dept. Health to ask if it were safe for me to have the vaccine. They hadn’t prepared for this question and were only too quick to pass me on, or told me “ask your GP”. I spent hours on the phone during the next ten weeks, and contacts are here if you want to try for yourself https://aftercancers.com/vaccine-programme/
Taking any new drug is a cause for concern, I lost the sight of one eye when put on a new drug; this was changed and side effects from the next drug caused massive heart problems. So now I research very carefully to check if I can take any drug – and don’t appreciate it when told “it’s perfectly safe” without people even looking at my medical history.
What about Private Patients
There have been reports that private patients can’t get the vaccine, but the Minister, Nadhim Zahawi MP says those who receive private healthcare can access the Covid 19 vaccine. The General Practice Covid 19 vaccination programme 2020/21 enhanced service specification is the contract that General Practices will deliver Covid 19 under. This contract enables NHS practices that are working within their Primary Care Network groupings to vaccinate unregistered patients, including those registered privately.
If a person does not have an NHS number, they can still book an appointment to be vaccinated. People do not require an NHS number to receive a vaccination and should never be denied one on this basis, either when attending their appointment or through the design of booking systems.”
One friend had been denied the vaccine as she always believed, earning a good salary, she should pay her own way – and found as a private patient she was denied the vaccine. (The NHS has a ‘dog in the manger’ attitude towards private patients). So she pointed out what the Minister had said (above) – and got it at an NHS centre, and free like everyone else.
Why are we told “ask your GP”?
As a patient with allergies, I was left to “ask your GP”, even when I explained that my GP didn’t have time to sort out if I could have the vaccine. GPs are GENERAL Practitioners, NOT Specialists, so we shouldn’t expect them to be experts in vaccine side effects.
With the current massive vaccination programme, one would have expected the NHS to have organised a department dealing with people with similar medical problems to mine. But no-one could tell me how to contact an expert; the NHS seems to hate a patient having direct contact with any expert.
Finally I get answers
They say it’s not what you know, but whom. And in my case, a wonderful friend phoned me to ask if I would be interested in talking to his friend about my problem. The ‘friend’ turned out to be an eminent Professor, with a string of qualifications; Policy Advisor to the Government as well as being head of a department in a top hospital.
Connected on Zoom, I had a brilliant consultation with him as he talked me through my potential risks. He told me
- To have the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, as Pfizer was contra-indicated for some of my allergies
- To have the vaccine at a hospital, not a local hub. (I worked out for myself that the reason was IF there was a problem, treatment would be on-hand at a hospital). Incidentlly Boris had his in hospital – rather than his nearest hud (Westminster Abbey)
- To wait 30 mins after the vaccine was administered
- That evening take Paracetamol before I had any potential pain, and to go to bed with a hot water bottle
- and, during a Zoom call with Mona, a senior person in a Canadian medical charity, she said that if you have had a Mastectomy, any surgery in the arm e.g. lymph nodes removed, or muscular weakness in the arms it is probably better to have the jab in your thigh.
Obviously the comments above refer only to me. Anyone who has worries about allergies should ask their GP, Specialist Nurse or Consultant for their advice; they should know what is best for you.
Now I just wait for my appointment! A shot in the dark – sending an email to the local high risk vaccine centre – has just produced a long phone call from a doctor working at the hospital centre, who carefully checks my details, then tells me I can be on their list. BUT – the high risk centre is only operating once a week, taking 29 patients a day (hospital catchment centre is around a million) . So it’s a case of I am on the list, and waiting – unless someone cancels in the meantime.
More info: https://aftercancers.com/vaccine-programme/