Sheffield patients urged "get your Covid booster jab and flu vaccine"
Sheffield GP practices have started giving the Covid boosters. We are starting with the highest risk groups, the most elderly and those in residential homes. It is more work, and our team were all in extra this Saturday morning, but it felt really good to be jabbing again!
It’s so hard to know exactly what to believe amongst the science, the politics and the conspiracy theories. But the sources I follow as a doctor, trusted researchers and those with a clear track record of public good, tell us this is important. It appears that after six months the protection from the initial course of two injections starts to drop in most people. The figures I have seen suggest protection drops from around 90 per cent to 60 per cent. As we approach winter, the cold weather and the added risk of other winter bugs (especially flu) we now need to boost our defences again.
Why does it feel so good? Well certainly it is great to have a way of offering protection and hope. We know people remain frightened of Covid, so to be able to do something to offer further protection is well received. Lately General Practice has had a bit of knocking in some media circles. To have patients grateful and expressing thanks is a welcome tonic to all our team.
What this Saturday’s clinic really reminded me of is how much we value tackling a common issue together. GP practices sit in the heart of our communities. They soak up the anger, and frustration of people, no matter what the cause. When crisis hits, the practice is there to support. Practices seek to offer a safe space and to hear and help people. Lately this has been harder to do for so many reasons. But that doesn’t stop us wanting to make it happen.
The vaccine booster offers us all another opportunity to demonstrate that we care about each other. People are getting vaccinated to protect themselves and to prevent spread to others. Communities are pulling together, families and friends giving lifts and a helping arm.
As we chat over the needle some people describe mild side effects from previous injections but come again knowing it is worth it. It was striking to me hearing how few of those older and vulnerable people who have had the initial vaccines have avoided a bad covid illness. They are living illustration of how well the vaccine is protecting us. Please get your Covid booster and your flu jab, and give us all a lift.