As misinformation superspreaders peddle their myths on social media platforms, some of us are feeling hesitant to take the COVID vaccine. But the vaccine is our only escape route to freedom. Freedom from lockdown. A recipient of the jab herself, Dr Anne Child has written the following to dispel disinformation and to set things straight.
Written by Dr Anne Child
The national rollout of coronavirus vaccine appointments has begun. Naturally, everyone wants to know when their turn will come. Marfan syndrome patients can be classed according to the NHS risk assessment as high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable), if they have a severe lung condition such as severe asthma, severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or chronic cardiac failure with shortness of breath and swollen ankles. Such Marfan syndrome patients will not have received a letter from the NHS, because unusual conditions have not been taken into account, only the general population. For this reason, you may need to speak to your GP or hospital care team if you have not been contacted as regards classification as high risk.
People at moderate risk (clinically vulnerable) include patients with a lung condition that’s not severe, such as mild asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema or bronchitis which responds to treatment; or heart failure responding to medical therapy.
Otherwise, having Marfan syndrome alone does not put you in an At Risk Category, and you will be contacted according to your age group, starting with the oldest patients.
All of us of course need to follow social distancing advice.
You can read more here
How to Book Your Appointment
You will be able to book your free NHS coronavirus vaccine when you receive your letter or text from the NHS. Contact the vaccination website as above to discover what your risk is and when you can book an appointment. If you cannot book an NHS appointment, phone 119 free of charge. When you book you will need your name, date of birth, and NHS number.
This appointment will be for your first vaccine dose. At the time of booking your first appointment, you will also be given a follow-up appointment for a second dose of the same vaccine 12 weeks later.
You will be given written information at your first visit.
It is extremely important to realise that this vaccine is safe for the vast majority of people, including those with Marfan syndrome, unless they have had a severe allergic reaction to a previous vaccination. This vaccine is separate from your usual annual flu vaccination. It is effective to a high degree, two weeks after the first dose, however full immunity will not occur until two weeks after the second vaccination. Therefore, you should continue to practise distancing and government precautions until you have had your second dose at least.
Do not believe any anti-vaccination literature which you may come across especially on social media accounts. These vaccines have all been tested to a high degree of safety, and have passed national and international safety requirements for use in the general public.
There is a 12-week gap between the first and second appointments because the government have decided to ensure that the first dose of the vaccine is delivered to as many people as possible, as soon as possible. The first dose of the vaccine provides a high level of protection. Thus vaccinating a greater number of people with a single dose to start with will prevent more deaths and hospitalisations.
Question: Will the vaccine protect those I care for?
We expect that vaccinated people will be less likely to pass infection to their friends, family, and vulnerable people that they care for. Any infection in a vaccinated person will be milder, with a shorter virus shedding period.
Question: Will the vaccine have side-effects?
Vaccines can cause side-effects, mostly mild- and short-term, and not everyone gets them. Very common side-effects include:
· A painful feeling of tenderness in the arm where you had this injection. This usually lasts only a few days.
· Feeling tired.
· General aches, or mild flu-like symptoms.
· Management: you can take a normal dose of paracetamol, and rest to help you feel better. These symptoms normally last less than a week.
Question: What about pregnancy?
The vaccines have not yet been tested in pregnant women. If you are pregnant you are advised to wait until your pregnancy is completed before you are vaccinated.
If you have the first dose, and then become pregnant, you are recommended to delay the second dose.
If you find out you are pregnant after you have the vaccine don’t worry, it cannot cause COVID-19 infection in your unborn baby.
Most women who catch COVID-19 during pregnancy do not suffer a more serious outcome than non-pregnant women and will go on to deliver a healthy baby.
Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should read the detailed information here
Question: Can I go back to work after having my vaccine?
Yes, as long as you feel well. If your arm is particularly sore you may find heavy lifting difficult. If you feel unwell or very tired you must rest and avoid operating heavy machinery and driving.
Question: Can I catch COVID-19 from the vaccine?
Question: What do I do after the first vaccination?
You will be given a record card with the batch number of your vaccine, and your next appointment written on it. It is important to have both doses of the same vaccine to give you the best protection.
Question: After I have the vaccine will I still need to follow infection control advice?
It will take a few weeks after your second vaccination for your body to build up protection. So you will need to follow the guidance in your workplace, including wearing the correct personal protection equipment and taking part in any screening programmes.
To continue to protect yourself, your family, friends and colleagues you should follow the general advice when you are at work, at home and when you are out:
· Practise social distancing.
· Wear a face mask.
· Wash your hands carefully and frequently.
· Follow the current guidance.
Question: If I am shielding, and other family members are going out to school and work, how can they protect me?
As soon as they arrive home, clothes should be changed, and washed, or hung up separately to be put back on the following day. Face and hands should be washed before greeting. A full shower can also be used if desired.
For More Information, see:
Dr Child's Casebook: Bittersweet Blessings - Article provides reassurance to those with Marfan-specific worries about the side effects of the Covid Vaccine