Last week, the NHS set out the long COVID action plan https://bit.ly/3zFKhgn for the thousands of people with persistent symptoms. Patients with long-lasting symptoms from COVID will have access to more convenient tests and checks closer to home. Specialist clinics, dedicated to long COVID, will now be able to send people for tests at local one stop shops and mobile clinics, rather than people going back to their GP practice for multiple different tests.
With £90 million investment, the updated long COVID plan includes ambitions for all patients to have an initial assessment within six weeks to ensure they are diagnosed and treated quickly. Latest estimates from the Office for National Statistics show that around 1.6 million people in England are experiencing ongoing COVID symptoms lasting more than four weeks, with around one in five saying it has a significant impact on their daily life.
Anyone who is concerned about ongoing symptoms following COVID-19 can find information and advice on the NHS Your COVID Recovery website https://bit.ly/3SAZ30w .
Winter Preparedness – what are we preparing for?
This Autumn and Winter we expect to see both flu and covid viruses circulating . With the UK experiencing its first flu season since 2019, which means the population will have less immunity than previous flu seasons. Preparations for the potential impact of this on our population’s health and well-being, centre on vaccination for both flu and covid19, targeted to at risk groups.
Covid Autumn Booster Programme
This Autumn and Winter we expect to see both flu and covid viruses circulating . With the UK experiencing its first flu season since 2019, which means the population will have less immunity than previous flu seasons. Preparations for the potential impact of this on our population’s health and well-being, centre on vaccination for both flu and covid19, targeted to at risk groups
The programme is likely to begin in mid-September and end around the 15th December, a 10 week period of delivery. There will be further detail communicated in the next few weeks.
* Cohort 1-2: Care home residents as a priority; and frontline H&SC workers.
* Cohort 3: Over 75s.
* Cohort 4-9: Over 50s, CEV & at-risk incl. Pregnant people
Anyone who is 75 on or after the 1st July 2022 is now asked to wait until the Autumn to get their next booster, although people who are immunosuppressed are still able to come forwards.
Walk in Covid Vaccination Clinics:
Bridgwater Town Hall
*Closed Fri 26th August
9am – 2pm (18+ only)
2:30pm – 5pm (age 5+)
High St, Bridgwater, TA6 3BL
Bridgwater Community Hospital
9am – 5pm
2:30pm – 5pm (age 5+)
Bower Lane, Bridgwater, TA6 4GU
Weds 3rd August
1pm – 6pm
Community Hub, Fairfax Road, Bridgwater, TA6 4HX
Fleet Air Arm Museum
Every Tues & Thurs
Alternate Saturdays – 13th & 27th August
9am – 4:30pm (age 5+)
RNAS Yeovilton, Ilchester, BA22 8HT
Tower Vaccination Centre
7 days a week
9am – 6pm
*7pm on Thursdays
Tower Road, Taunton, TA1 4AF
Minehead Community Hospital
8:30am – 6pm
2:30pm – 7pm (age 5+)
Luttrell Way, Minehead. TA24 6DF
Wellington Community Hospital
9am – 5pm
2pm – 5pm (age 5+)
Bulford Lane, Wellington, TA21 8QQ
Wincanton Community Hospital
Monday, Wednesday, Friday
8:30am – 2pm (18+only)
2:30pm – 5:30pm (5-11 only)
Dancing Lane, Wincanton, BA9 9DQ
It’s still possible to use the national booking system https://bit.ly/3zHp6dZ to book vaccination appointments.
Lots of information is also available on the CCG website:
The Covid-19 Vaccination whilst Pregnant
You’re at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 if you’re pregnant, especially if you are more than 28 weeks pregnant (in your 3rd trimester).
According to the NHS website, other things that can put you at higher risk if you are pregnant include if you:
* have an underlying medical condition (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or asthma)
* are overweight
* are aged 35 or over
* are from an ethnic minority group
Covid-19 vaccines have been administered to thousands of pregnant women in this country and around the world. Data from the UKHSA https://bit.ly/3bF8OKG shows Covid -19 vaccinations provide strong protection for pregnant women against the virus. It also shows that vaccines are safe for pregnant women.
Please encourage women you know who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to have their vaccination.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) will be widening the offer of the free flu vaccine to more eligible groups. These additional groups will only be eligible once the most vulnerable, including previously announced pre-school and primary school children, those aged 65 years and over and those in clinical risk groups, have been offered the jab.
The additional groups set to be offered the free flu vaccine in England will be:
* all adults aged 50 to 64 years
* secondary school children in years 7, 8 and 9, who will be offered the vaccine in order of school year (starting with the youngest first)
How will the flu vaccination be rolled out to school aged children?
see leaflet here: https://bit.ly/3QmLRuc
This autumn term, all primary school-aged children in England (from reception class to year 6) will be offered a flu vaccination by the NHS school-aged immunisation nursing team (SAINT). There have been very low levels of flu activity in the last two years because of measures to reduce Covid-19 infections. This means that there may be a rebound in flu levels this winter because people mix more and are more susceptible as they have not been exposed to the virus.
As usual, SAINT will get in touch with schools to agree a date for the vaccination session and the best implementation approach.
A briefing on the flu vaccination programme is available here: https://bit.ly/3SzomQD
Separate guidance has been issued for pre school flu vaccination: Immunising preschool children against flu – GOV.UK https://bit.ly/3vOh6Xh
How will the flu vaccination be rolled out to pre-school aged children?
Flu is a common infection in babies and children and can be very unpleasant for them. Children under the age of 5 have the highest hospital admission rates for flu compared to other age groups.
When flu comes round this autumn and winter more young children are likely to catch it than usual. This is because the Covid-19 restrictions also stopped flu and young children in particular won’t have natural immunity from catching flu before.
All children aged 2 and 3 years old (on 31 August before flu vaccinations start in the autumn) are eligible for a free flu vaccination in the form of a nasal spray. This is usually given at the GP practice. However, not all parents are aware of this or take up the offer. Not only does the flu vaccine help to protect the children themselves, but by reducing the spread of flu it will also help protect family members, and others in the local community. The nasal spray will be available from the beginning of September.
Please download and share the following resources:
Protecting your child against flu; Information for parents and carers (publishing.service.gov.uk) https://bit.ly/3QmLRuc
Flu: 5 reasons to get your child vaccinated – Primary School (publishing.service.gov.uk) https://bit.ly/3SB5Ffg
New courses launched by Somerset Recovery College:
Recovery College courses are for the benefit of people who wish to learn to live well, for their family and friends and for the professionals who support them. They don’t take referrals from clinicians and students do not have to be using mental health services to access any of our courses.
A range of online and in person courses are available and they’re all free. You can find out more here https://bit.ly/3BPTFAW.
Altruistic August Calendar from Action for Happiness:
Helping isn’t just good for others, it also helps our own wellbeing! You can access the Altruistic August Calendar here https://bit.ly/3bDRxS1.