GP sites administering Covid vaccinations will only need to observe patients for any immediate negative reactions, NHS England has said.
This comes as the draft plans for the enhanced service had suggested patients may need to be observed for 15 minutes following their vaccination.
NHS England also specified that the vaccine may cause side effects such as a headache or a fever, but the BMA told Pulse patients will not need to be advised to self-isolate if this occurs.
In a webinar for GPs yesterday, a slide presented by NHS England said: ‘Recipients of the Covid-19 vaccine should be observed for any immediate reactions during the period they are receiving any post-immunisation information and subsequent appointment if required. There is no evidence to support the practice of keeping patients under longer observation.’
But it added that ‘as syncope can occur following vaccination, all patients should either be driven by someone else or should not drive for 15 minutes after vaccination’.
One of the two vaccines in the running to be rolled out as part of the enhanced services next month, the Pfizer vaccine, has not reported any negative effects.
However a Lancet study on interim findings from the phase I/II trials of the AstraZeneca vaccine being developed by researchers at the University of Oxford said ‘transient local and systemic reactions were common in the AZD1222 group and were comparable to previous trials and other adenoviral vector vaccines’.
These included ‘temporary injection site pain and tenderness, mild-to-moderate headache, fatigue, chills, feverishness, malaise and muscle ache’, which were all ‘lessened with the use of prophylactic paracetamol’ and less likely following the second dose of the vaccine.
NHS England notes from yesterday’s webinar said: ‘As with other vaccines there may be some local reactions at the injection site such as pain and tenderness. In addition, mild systemic events were reported such as headache, fatigue, fever, malaise and muscle ache. This information will be further clarified as the clinical data is reported and published.’
Asked whether patients needed to isolate if they developed a fever, BMA GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey told Pulse: ‘No, this will be like the side-effects of some other vaccinations, we understand one of the potential vaccines may cause a brief rise in temperature that would settle with paracetamol.
‘There would be no need to self isolate or take a test.’
Oxford researchers are yet to report phase III trial findings but interim findings from Pfizer’s phase III trial showed that their vaccine is 90% effective.
The UK Government said it has ordered 40 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine – 10 million of which will be available for use by the end of this year.