Covid vaccine programme rolling onSince the Army were brought in to help with the vaccine roll-out, a cautious but optimistic air is around. However, for those who may have genuine medical reasons to check the vaccine, the Dept. Health / NHS are being singularly unhelpful
For those who want facts
You are probably reading this because you have had worrying side effects from cancer drugs, etc. As a tiny percentage may have an allergic reaction to the vaccine, we will all want to check before accepting the vaccine; we have every right to do so – but why the reluctance to give us information, or help us check before taking the vaccine?
All the information, including the expensive 12 page 4-colour leaflet that is sent out with your vaccination letter, passes the buck. Phone calls, online forms etc. send one round and round and back again. It’s time the NHS admitted honestly they don’t know. It’s a new crisis, and honesty is always the best policy.
Checking short cut
Meantime, I go checking every agency that might help us.
The Patients’ Association was founded to give patients a voice, and Angela from their helpline comes up with info that provides reliable answers to many vaccine concerns. Your questions may very likely have an answer here https://www.anaphylaxis.org.uk/covid-19-advice/pfizer-covid-19-vaccine-and-allergies/
When my questions didn’t have an answer
Drugs kept me alive after cancer, but side effects included blindness in one eye. Not wanting to lose the other eye, I always check before taking a new drug, to ensure that it won’t (hopefully) give me more problems. I’ve also got something known as PEG; react violently to wasp stings; am allergic to penicillin, have the Herpes virus, went blind in one eye due to allergy to Tamoxifen and had side effects from another drug that ended up with a 7-hour heart operation. Unbelievably – no-one in the NHS can tell me what I should look out for with the covid vaccine.
I have become a ‘cyber pen-pall’ of Jo, a super helpful person in NHS England, but even she can’t find a way for me to get information, so it seems that people who have genuine concerns aren’t being catered for. I wonder how many are being lumped in with anti-vaxxers?
Their cop-out is “Ask your GP”.
My GP is far too busy organising a massive vaccine roll-out, but helpfully suggests the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is the better bet for me, then sends over the ingredients saying “let me know when YOU find out if this is OK for you”.
Will you have the vaccine?
For over 200 years vaccines have done a fantastic job ridding us of diseases such as smallpox, diptheria, etc. If Salk had produced his vaccine before I caught polio, I would have avoided a lifetime of disability. But I blessed the anti-rabies vaccine that saved my life when I was bitten by a rabid dog.
But I also grew up in a circle that was heavily involved in raising funds to get compensation for babies who suffered in the Thalidomide crisis, so have learnt to be wary when a new drug appears. I don’t take a new drug without asking if I might suffer side effects, especially after having side effects from cancer drugs (major heart problems, losing sight of one eye, etc).
Anyone who has been treated with the cocktail of drugs cancer patients are given, or who has a history of allergies should check before taking any new drug. With the massive vaccination programme rolling out globally there are bound to be some reactions, but when one tries to ask sensible questions before having the vaccine, the NHS doesn’t have the answer.
The MHRA has this info:.
The ingredients for each vaccine can be found at point #6 at each of the following links:
Our customer services line (staffed weekdays 9am to 5pm): 020 3080 6000
MHRA say talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse before you are given the vaccine if you have: concerns. However, to my mind, if you have had a bad allergic reaction in the past, it might be sensible to make an appointment to talk this over, especially if you have .
- ever had a serious allergic reaction to some medicines, household products or cosmetics. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/?gclid=CjwKCAiAl4WABhAJEiwATUnEFwIxNfIf6V21-qVO6DK9pvyK1h5rdCjht8TM6DAsih2h6XhPMpW4cRoCjNcQAvD_BwE
- ever had a severe allergic reaction or breathing problems after any other vaccine injection or after you were given COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine BNT162b2 in the past.
- a severe illness with high fever (however, a mild fever or upper airway infection, like a cold, are not reasons to delay vaccination).
- a weakened immune system, such as due to HIV infection, or are on a medicine that affects your immune system
- a bleeding problem, bruise easily or use medicine to inhibit blood clotting
MHRA are no longer advising as a precaution that individuals with a history of anaphylaxis to any vaccine, medicine or food do not get the vaccine. However, their advice remains that individuals should not get the vaccine if they have had a severe allergic reaction to any of the vaccine ingredients or if they experience anaphylaxis after the first dose. Individuals should be closely observed for at least 15 minutes following vaccination. This updated advice follows enhanced surveillance since the initial precautionary advice was issued, which has found no evidence of an increased risk of anaphylaxis in those with prior severe allergic reactions, other than to the vaccine and its ingredients.
Vaccine safety is of paramount importance and they continually monitor the safety of vaccines to ensure that the benefits outweigh any potential risks. The MHRA encourages anyone to report any suspicion or concern they have beyond the known, mild side effects on the Coronavirus Yellow Card site. Reporters do not need to be sure of a link between a vaccine and a suspected side effect but are still encouraged to report
If you are a cancer survivor see below for info from Dana-Farber Hospital.
You would think the Dept. Health would be clued up about potential problems, but Hapless Hancock and his colleagues haven’t any idea when I phone them. They should listen to GPs like Dr. Michael Firzpatrick, who told me “If you google ‘Green Book Covid-19 vaccination‘ that will take you to the latest edition of the chapter in the handbook produced by the official vaccination committee (JCVI).
Eventually the Merry-go-round on the Helplines works!
How does one can get through to the NHS that it is sensible to discuss possible side effects before taking a new drug? Simples, but Hapless Hancock and his team don’t seem to understand Common Sense.
I am running out of options, until my inbox starts up with emails from the States Dana-Farber Hospital, (one of top cancer hospitals in the world) comes up with definite. but non-scary information if I have had allergies from drugs : .https://blog.dana-farber.org/insight/2020/12/vaccines-for-cancer-patients-and-survivors-what-we-know/?uCtm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Discover%20Now%20%3E&utm_campaign=spotlight
By then reports of a tiny amount of adverse reactions are coming in, including from the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) saying those with numerous allergic reactions should check first, and even has YouTube videos https://www.youtube.com/user/USFoodandDrugAdmin
Finally, I call the Macmillan helpline, and get a really helpful and informative Glaswegian Chemo nurse. He talks me through the pros and cons, and gives me enough accurate and up-to-date information to realise that I was right to investigate further. 0808 808 00 00
After, I phone the CRUK (Cancer Research UK) Helpline. Just as helpful as Macmillan. The Nurse asks pertinent questions, then gives me sensible advice. 0808 800 4040
- The COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca contains recombinant, replication-deficient chimpanzee adenovirus vector encoding the SARS CoV 2 Spike (S) glycoprotein.
- The COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca also contains:
- · L-Histidine
- · L-Histidine hydrochloride monohydrate
- · Magnesium chloride hexahydrate
- · Polysorbate 80
- · Ethanol
- · Sucrose
- · Sodium chloride
- · Disodium edetate dihydrate
- · Water for injections
- This vaccine contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs). It does not contain preservative.
- Full product information about the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca is available at: https://coronavirus-
Why was vaccine approval so quick?
One of my medical friends send me a video explanation featuring Dr. Anthony Fauci, the American physician and immunologist who has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases https://fb.watch/2Y37W3SRkF/
So when will you get your jab?
One of the main problems rolling out a vaccine programme is the sheer number of people who live in the United Kingdom: over 66 million at the last count.
So it is a case of being patient.
There has to be a follow-up dose after two weeks, but how many will think they don’t need this after the first dose? Or forget to go back, are ‘too busy’, etc. Just make sure, if you have received your first dose, you return for the follow-up.
The US medical media company Healthline has information on contents, so you could check these – but it is only a start, and the NHS needs to be more open on what this vaccine contains https://www.healthline.com/health-news/here-are-the-cdc-guidelines-for-allergic-reactions-to-covid-19-vaccines
STOP PRESS PALS at the JR Hospital in Oxford (my local) comes up with the number for NHS England – 0300 311 22 33. They inform me that there will be a dedicated Helpline on this subject “starting in January”. Mid- Jan. and still nothing. In the meantime I am given this number to call 0300 311 22 33
I contact the London hospital where I was treated for cancer; they reply to say as I am no longer receiving current treatment I am off their books. Thanks a bunch. In contrast, Dana-Farber Hospital in the USA has sent me three helpful emails with lots of info., and I am not even an in-patient there! Well done! https://blog.dana-farber.org/insight/2020/12/i-got-the-covid-19-vaccine-and-heres-why-you-should-too/?https://blog.dana-farber.org/insight/2020/12/i-got-the-covid-19-vaccine-and-heres-why-you-should-too/?
In the States some people have reported Bell’s Palsy as a side effect; in such a vast programme some people might develop this naturally; The exact cause isn’t known but it’s thought to have something to do with the herpes virus.
Now, this is what interests me – I carry this virus, and had numerous side effects from cancer treatment (having been given some drugs that are now used for treating Covid-19); I want to know if, carrying this virus, am I more prone to possible problems – but no-one can tell me.
And why – with all the resources that have been thrown at the vaccine process – has no-one thought to have an official department to answer sensible queries about genuine vaccine concerns?