Health Matters2021-06-28T16:10:05+01:00

Health Matters

HADRA Committee members are in regular contact with local representatives of the NHS. We will share important messages with you on this page when asked to do so.


Please visit the NHS website to find out more about coronavirus (COVID-19).

You should also refer regularly to the latest government guidance on coronavirus.

COVID-19 Vaccination Programme

Our local NHS trust is providing regular updates on the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in the Croydon area. You can find the latest information here. The South West London Clinical Commissioning Group’s website also provides useful information in the form of answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the vaccination programme here.

There is a pharmacy-led community vaccination centre at St. Aidan’s Church Hall in Coulsdon CR5 3DD. Our nearest mass vaccination centres are at Epsom Downs KT18 5LQ and Selhurst Park SE25 6PU. The South West London CCG’s website gives details of other local vaccination centres including the GP-led primary care network vaccination hubs and any pop-up or walk-in clinics.

As it rolls out the COVID-19 vaccination programme, the NHS is following the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) in terms of which groups to prioritise. You may hear the groups referred to as cohorts – see the list here.

The NHS will contact you when it’s your turn to be vaccinated. It is important that you do not turn up at a vaccination centre without an appointment, unless it is a designated walk-in clinic.

The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. They will give you the best protection against coronavirus. As with any medicine, vaccines are highly regulated products. There are checks at every stage in the development and manufacturing process, as well as continued monitoring once a vaccine has been authorised and is being used in the wider population.

In these short videos, two of Croydon’s faith leaders, Pastor Damian Luke and Imam Suliman, have shared their stories and explained why they have had their vaccines.


Why do I have to wait?2021-02-26T15:14:55+00:00

The COVID-19 vaccines will become available as they are approved for use and as each batch is manufactured. Every dose is needed to protect those most at risk from coronavirus, following the guidelines of the JCVI. Vaccinating the priority groups first will save the most lives and provide the quickest and safest route out of the pandemic.

The NHS will let you know when it is your turn to have the vaccine. Please be patient. It is important not to contact the NHS to ask for a vaccination before then.
Some people who are housebound or live in a care home and can’t get to a local vaccination centre may have to wait for a supply of the right type of vaccine. This is because only certain vaccines can be transported to people’s homes.

Read the related NHS leaflet.

How will I know when it’s my turn to be vaccinated?2021-02-26T15:15:51+00:00

When it’s your turn to be vaccinated, the NHS will contact you and invite you to book an appointment. You may receive a phone call, letter or text message from your GP practice, or a letter from the national booking service.

Can I be vaccinated privately?2021-02-26T15:16:41+00:00

No. Vaccinations are only available through the NHS. Remember, the vaccine is free of charge.

  • The NHS will never ask you for your bank account or card details.
  • The NHS will never ask you for your PIN or banking password.
  • The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.
  • The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.

If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you believe you have been the victim of fraud or identity theft you should report this directly to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. Where the victim is vulnerable, or if you are worried that someone might come to your house, report it to the police online or by calling 101.

What do I need to do before I get my vaccine?2021-02-26T15:17:18+00:00

While you await your turn to be vaccinated, it might be useful to:

  • let your GP practice know if your contact details have changed recently;
  • keep an eye out to make sure you receive the message (for example, if you have a mobile phone but don’t typically use text messages);
  • let your GP practice know if you are an unpaid carer who is caring for someone with underlying health conditions who would struggle to cope if you became unwell.

As long as you’re registered with a GP and have up-to-date contact details, you should receive an invitation in due course.

For more information on how to register with a GP and find your local surgery visit www.nhs.uk/register.

To find out what to expect at your vaccination appointment please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/what-happens-at-your-appointment/

What are the opening hours of the vaccination centres?2021-02-26T15:17:42+00:00

Standard opening times for vaccination centres will be 8am – 8pm, seven days a week.

Is vaccination mandatory?2021-02-26T15:17:57+00:00

There are no plans for COVID-19 vaccination to be compulsory. But please be assured that the vaccines are safe and effective and will give you the best protection against COVID-19.

Can I choose which vaccine I get?2021-02-26T15:18:09+00:00

No. Any vaccines provided by the NHS will have been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) after passing tests on safety and efficacy. People should be assured that whatever vaccine they are offered, it is worth their while getting vaccinated.

Does the vaccine include any parts from foetal or animal origin?2021-02-26T15:18:23+00:00

No. All ingredients are published in healthcare information on the MHRA’s website.

How does the vaccine work?2021-02-26T15:19:22+00:00

The COVID-19 vaccines work in a similar way to other vaccines. The vaccine makes a protein from the virus that is important for creating protection. The protein stimulates the immune system to make antibodies and cells to fight the infection.

How long will the vaccine be effective for?2021-02-26T15:19:39+00:00

We expect these vaccines to work for at least a year, if not longer. This will be constantly monitored.

Will the vaccines work with the new variants?2021-02-26T15:19:52+00:00

Currently there is no evidence that the new variants will be resistant to the vaccines we have, so we are continuing to vaccinate people as planned. Scientists are now looking in detail at the characteristics of the virus in relation to the vaccines. Viruses (such as the winter flu virus) often branch into different strains but these small variations rarely render vaccines ineffective.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe for people with long-term conditions?2021-02-26T15:20:23+00:00

Vaccines are approved if they are considered safe for people with long-term conditions. The approved vaccines are safe and effective for the vast majority of people; they have been tested on tens of thousands of people and assessed by experts. If you have a long-term condition you may be vaccinated sooner; your GP can advise on what cohort you are in.

A very small number of people who are at risk of COVID-19 cannot have the vaccine; this includes people with severe allergies. Everybody will be screened for potential allergic reactions before getting vaccinated. All vaccinators will have the training they need to deal with any rare cases of adverse reactions, and all venues will be equipped to care for people who need it, as with any other vaccine.

What about women who are pregnant or breastfeeding?2021-02-26T15:20:41+00:00

The MHRA have updated their guidance to say that pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding can have the vaccine but should discuss it with a clinician to ensure that the benefits outweigh any potential risks. Women of childbearing age, those who are pregnant, or breastfeeding should read the detailed information in this NHS leaflet.

I am an unpaid carer. When can I have my vaccine?2021-02-26T15:23:30+00:00

If you are caring for someone with underlying health conditions who would struggle to cope if you became unwell, you can help the vaccination effort by contacting your GP practice by email or via their website to make sure they know that you are an unpaid carer.

The JCVI guidance that GPs follow says that if a carer is over 70 years old, they should ask to be vaccinated at the same time as the person they care for – so please ask when you are contacted by the NHS.

If a carer is 69 or younger, they will be able to get their vaccine once the NHS begins immunisations for that group. The NHS is moving through the cohorts in the order recommended by the JCVI.

What is being done to encourage vaccine uptake in black, Asian, minority ethnic and other disproportionately-affected communities or groups?2021-02-26T15:23:48+00:00

We understand that some communities have specific concerns and may be more hesitant in taking the vaccine than others. The NHS is working to ensure vaccine messages reach as diverse an audience as possible and are tailored to meet their needs. This includes engagement with community and faith-led groups, charities and other voluntary organisations.

What happens if I am over 70 and haven’t been contacted by my GP?2021-02-26T15:27:11+00:00

Until now the NHS has asked people to wait to be contacted to help ensure that those who are most vulnerable are protected first. That remains the case for most people. To make sure absolutely everyone is offered the vaccine, people aged 70 and over can now contact the NHS so they can be vaccinated – you no longer need to wait for an invitation letter.

The easiest way to arrange a vaccination is through the national booking service which can be accessed here.

If you are unable to book online, you can call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week. The national booking service allows people to arrange a vaccination at their nearest mass vaccination centre (such as Epsom Downs or Selhurst Park) or a community-based pharmacy service (like the one at St Aidan’s Church Hall in Coulsdon). If a suitable and convenient slot is not available, the over 70s can now also call their GP practice to arrange an appointment at the hub for their surgery (for example, at the Old Coulsdon Congregational Church for those registered with the Old Coulsdon or Woodcote Medical Practices; or at Purley War Memorial Hospital for those registered with Keston Medical Practice).

Are teachers eligible to receive a vaccine?2021-02-26T15:27:31+00:00

The NHS is rolling out the vaccination programme in line with the recommendations of the JCVI. Please refer to the Croydon area vaccination programme update page to find out which cohort is currently being vaccinated. Teachers are being vaccinated in accordance with the relevant age- or health-related criteria. Vaccinating the priority groups first will save the most lives and provide the quickest and safest route out of the pandemic.

What side effects can I expect from the COVID-19 vaccine?2021-02-26T15:27:51+00:00

Side effects are important considerations when the MHRA is assessing vaccines. As with many other vaccines, the MHRA identified that some people might feel slightly unwell after receiving either of the two approved vaccines. The MHRA report that no significant side effects have been observed in the tens of thousands of people involved in trials.

All patients will be provided with information on the vaccine they have received, how to look out for any side effects, and what to do if they occur. This will include how to report side effects to the MHRA.

More information on possible side effects can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/

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