Following on from our first Q&A in January, we're doing it again this month to help answer further queries from Reading people:
1. Why haven’t I been invited yet even though I’m clinically extremely vulnerable or aged over 70?
People in priority groups 1-4 are supposed to be vaccinated by 15 February 2021, so they may still be working towards you on the list.
GP surgeries have also been working at difference speeds due to variable delivery dates of vaccines which they have no control over. Some surgeries also had a week's lull after being told vaccines had to be go to other areas that are behind Reading.
Surgeries may also not have your up-to-date contact details, so you could have missed, for example, an invitation by text because it was sent to an old mobile number. Surgeries have told us they will try other ways of repeatedly contacting you.
2. How accurate are online vaccine date calculators?
These calculators only give estimates and are not linked to exact information held by your doctor's surgery or other local vaccination site.
3. How can I find out my surgery’s progress on vaccinations?
The government publishes national and regional figures, but not information on a borough or neighbourhood level. Healthwatch Reading is calling for local information to be published so we can celebrate progress or identify issues that need addressing.
In the meantime, we know some doctors are keeping their patients informed via the news section or home page of their surgery’s website or on social media.
The surgeries below have active Facebook pages where they post regular updates:
- Balmore Park Surgery (also posting on behalf of Emmer Green Surgery)
- Tilehurst Village Surgery (and for Chancellor House, Grovelands & Westwood Road)
- Western Elms and Circuit Lane surgeries (and for Tilehurst Potteries Surgery)
- University of Reading Medical Practice (including Whitley Villa Surgery)
You can also follow the Healthwatch Reading Facebook page, where we share posts from local surgeries as well as our own information.
4. What can I do if I think I've been missed off the invite list?
If your surgery has publicised that they have moved onto the priority group below the one you’re in, then you could message the surgery, making sure to include your latest contact details. Do this by clicking on the envelope/mail icon in the top left of the home page of your GP surgery’s website.
Surgeries have asked people not to phone to request your vaccination date, as this stops people being able to call to make usual appointments for other medical issues.
5. Why haven’t I been given a date for my second dose yet?
Vaccine arrival dates can change at the last minute so many surgeries will now wait until they are certain of availability before booking people in for the second dose. The government has said it’s confident there'll be enough vaccines for give people their second 12-week dose.
6. Why have I been invited to a mass vaccination site far away?
The national NHS computer system sent out letters to some people inviting them to book through the NHS website to go to one of 50 new mass vaccination sites (none of which were in Reading). You don’t have to go to an out-of-town site if you’re unable to.
Local doctors say: ‘You have the choice of accepting this appointment if you wish to go ahead with your vaccination at the slot and site you’ve been allocated. Alternatively, you can wait to be contacted by your own GP practice. Your practice will be in touch as soon as an appointment slot is available at a vaccination site closer to your home.’