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Covid-19 Information

Vaccine Rollout Update – 19th April

  • Over 70s rollout with Pfizer vaccine has now been completed.

  • Update to vaccine rollout for patients aged 60-69 – These patients will now be vaccinated with Astra Zeneca in mass vaccine clinics, regardless of risk category and are invited to register on the HSE portal, starting 15th April, please see further information and registration link here

  • We will be vaccinating Cohort 4 & 7 aged 18-59 with Pfizer vaccine in General Practice from late April/May – if you feel you are in one of these groups and have not contacted us, please read the eligibility criteria carefully and complete the contact form so we can tell you if you are in Cohort 4 or 7 and include you on our vaccine list.

    Please click on the following link for a list of the people in each cohort .  Here

  • Please note, we will not be able to accommodate patients in the 60-69 group who would prefer the Pfizer vaccine over Astra Zeneca, there is no choice at present in vaccines and we would encourage everyone to take the vaccine they are offered. Astra Zeneca is proven to be safe and effective, particularly in the population over 60 that it is being rolled out in, we would strongly encourage our patients to take it when offered.

 Please note: we are receiving a lot of queries at present, we would be grateful if you could read all the below information before contacting the practice for further information. If you need medical advice regarding whether you should take the vaccine or not or the vaccine you have been offered through the hospital system, please schedule a phone consultation with one of the doctors.


Cohort 4 – late April

From mid-April, our clinic will be supporting the hospital roll-out of Cohort 4 patients to vaccinate those that do not attend the hospital or have not been invited by their hospital teams and who are aged 18-59 (patients 60-69 will be vaccinated in mass vaccination clinics, registration can be made through the online portal). We will start this process with ‘very high risk patients’ and we have been asked to prioritise patients in the following groups

Cohort 4 – Aged 16-59 and at very high risk of severe COVID-19 disease

  • Cancer – All cancer patients actively receiving (and/or within 6 weeks of receiving) systemic therapy with cytotoxic chemotherapy, targeted therapy, monoclonal antibodies or immunotherapies and radical surgery or radiotherapy for lung or head and neck cancer. All patients with advanced/metastatic cancers.

  • Chronic kidney disease – Chronic kidney disease, on dialysis, or eGFR <15 ml/min.

  • Chronic neurological disease or condition – Chronic neurological disease or condition with evolving ventilatory failure (requiring non-invasive ventilation), for example: motor neurone disease, spinal muscular atrophy.

  • Chronic respiratory disease – Chronic severe respiratory disease, for example: severe cystic fibrosis, severe COPD, severe pulmonary fibrosis.

  • Diabetes – Uncontrolled diabetes, for example: HbA1C ≥58mmol/mol.

  • Immunocompromised: Severe immunocompromise due to disease or treatment, for example:

    • transplantation: Listed for solid organ or haematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) – Post solid organ transplant at any time – Post HSCT within 12 months

    • genetic diseases: – APECED** – Inborn errors in the interferon pathway

    • treatment: – included but not limited to Cyclophosphamide, Rituximab, Alemtuzumab, Cladribine or Ocrelizumab in the last 6 months

  • Inherited metabolic diseases – Disorders of intermediary metabolism/at risk of acute decompensation, for example: Maple Syrup Urine Disease.

  • Intellectual disability – Down Syndrome.

  • Obesity – BMI >40 Kg/m2.

  • Sickle cell disease*

We will have some capacity for patients who have not yet been vaccinated by their hospital clinics. If you are in Cohort 4 and have not yet been contacted for vaccination by ourselves or hospital clinic, please  contact us at info@spiddalgp.ie. Where possible, we would encourage these vaccines to be given in hospital through specialist clinics as originally planned.

Cohort 7 – May

Once Cohort 4 is complete, we will be moving on to the next phase of vaccination in General Practice for patients aged 18-59 with medical conditions that put them at a high risk of severe disease or death. The exact guidelines are pending , however gov.ie lists the categories of illness as below:

  • Cancer – Haematological – within 1 -5 years, Non-haematological – within 1 year. All other cancers on non-hormonal treatment.

  • Chronic heart (and vascular) disease – Chronic heart disease, for example: heart failure, hypertensive cardiac disease.

  • Chronic kidney disease – Chronic kidney disease with eGFR <30ml/min.

  • Chronic liver disease– for example: cirrhosis or fibrosis.

  • Chronic neurological disease or condition – Chronic neurological disease or condition significantly compromising respiratory function and/or the ability to clear secretions, for example: Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy.

  • Chronic respiratory disease – Other chronic respiratory disease, for example: stable cystic fibrosis, severe asthma (continuous or repeated use of systemic corticosteroids), moderate COPD.

  • Diabetes – All other diabetes (Type 1 and 2).

  • Immunocompromised – Immunocompromise due to disease or treatment, for example: high dose systemic steroids (as defined in Immunisation Guidelines for Ireland Chapter 3), persons living with HIV.

  • Inherited metabolic diseases – Disorders of intermediary metabolism not fulfilling criteria for very high risk.

  • Intellectual disability* excluding Down Syndrome (already vaccinated in Cohort4).

  • Obesity – BMI >35 Kg/m2.

  • Severe mental illness – for example: schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, severe depression.

Although we have already compiled lists of all our patients who fall into these categories if you think you fall into either Cohort 4 or 7, please email us on infor@spiddalgp.ie.  confirm the cohort you belong to and ensure you are listed for vaccination if appropriate. Please note, both of the above groups will be vaccinated with Pfizer vaccine, which is 2 doses given 4 weeks apart. There currently is no ability to choose between vaccine types, we would encourage you to take the first vaccine you are offered to ensure you are protected from Coronavirus as soon as possible.


Covid Vaccine Cohort 4 & 7  Email the practice (info@spiddalgp.ie) with the following information:

Name

Date of Birth

PPS number

Mobile number

And select cohort based on above criteria

Risk Factors for high/very high risk patients

Please detail the medical condition(s) that put you at higher risk of serious illness as per the Cohort 4&7 illness categories

Covid-19 Symptoms

If you have any symptoms suggestive of Covid -19  please call us and we can discuss if you require a test. 091-553135

Clinical Hubs are now open in Galway city and around the country to assess our patients with confirmed COVID who are concerned regarding symptoms or deterioration. These are specialised centres (not in hospital) where the patient can be assessed in a safe enviroment away from non covid patients. If you are concerned with worsening symptoms your GP may refer you to these hubs for further review and monitoring.

General Covid information.

Covid -19 numbers are at far higher levels than previously seen.

The number of hospital  and ICU admissions are escalating daily.

Close contacts of positive cases are not routinely being currently tested and must therefore self isolate for 14 days, even if well.

If you have any symptoms suggestive of Covid -19  please call us and we can discuss if you require a test. 

We continue to be open for consultations. Please phone our reception staff regarding appointments.

We are aiming to limit the number of patients attending the surgery for your safety and safety of our staff.

We aim to deal with many problems by telephone if possible.

However if you feel you need to be seen we can arrange a doctor review by consultation / in person as deemed appropriate.

We will try to keep your time in the surgery to a minimum.

All antenatal , smears, necessary laboratory tests, monitors and vaccinations will continue to take place.

Most people (80%) who contract Covid-19 will have mild to moderate respiratory symptoms varying
from fever, sore throat, headache and cough. Irrespective of a positive swab these people will be
able to treat themselves at home with rest, fluids and paracetamol. It is critical that they self-isolate
immediately at the onset of symptoms so as to protect their families, friends and communities and
minimise spread. HSE has practical advice on the following link:

Please see https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/self-isolation-and-limited-social-interaction.html#self-isolate

20% of people may get more moderate to severe symptoms. Often their symptoms begin mild with
sore throat, fever, cough but may worsen particularly around day 8-9 of the illness with increased
shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. These patients should stay in contact with their GP so
we can closely monitor their progress. A percentage may require hospital referral.

Testing?– how efficient presently?

Community swab testing continues in several centres around Galway city.
If a patient is suffering from symptoms of sore throat, high temperature cough or  other concerning symptoms, testing will be organised through  your GP

Testing of patients without symptoms but who have been in close contact with a positive covid case will be contacted through public health contact tracing system. Unfortunately , currently this system is experiencing considerable delays and this can understandably cause frustration and concern amongst those awaiting testing who will have to continue to isolate until swab results are available.

It is important to know that whilst swabbing is important to monitor spread of the virus it does not
change the treatment of the patient as most will recover unaided at home and thus suspected cases , those awaiting swabbing or results will need to continue to self isolate.

Who needs a swab?

Concerned patients with symptoms of fever, cough, sore throat or difficulty breathing should ring
their GP. Their GP following assessment of the patient will organise a swab referral and the patient
will be advised, as above, to self- isolate immediately and await further instructions until results of
swab received (3-4 days).

Who does not need a swab?

Concerned patients with no symptoms do not need a swab .

Those with a confirmed close contact ( > 15  min contact within 2 metres)  will require testing via the public health team. Although there may be signficant delay in being contacted and this may be frustrating and worrying it is the correct way that our public health system can assess  the spread of disease safely within our communities.

However, if you monitor the situation and develop fever and respiratory symptoms over the course
of a few days you will need to contact your GP.

Even if you have contracted Covid-19 and go on to develop symptoms the viral load at the initial
stage when you have no symptoms will be negative as there is not enough of the virus in your body
to generate a positive swab. So, swabbing with no symptoms could lead to false negative results.

What if my swab tests negative but I have symptoms? (80-90% of swabs presently)

There are many seasonal viruses ‘common colds’ that cause ‘flu like symptoms’ that are not Covid-
19. These are common in the community. Once symptoms are settled and you have been asymptomatic for 48 hours you may return to work and normal home life. Details also on www.hse.ie

Who needs to self- isolate at home?

Those who have symptoms of sore throat , cough , fever and/or  respiratory symptoms and those awaiting swab test/results and those who are considered close contacts of known cases.
Those who test positive for Covid-19 and treat themselves at home.                                                                         

Those returning from abroad. See details regarding PCR testing and specific countries.

www.gov.ie.

Who needs to practice social distancing?

All of us, to protect our most vunerable.

There are many excellent resources and information on www.hse.ie and www.hpsc.ie and
www.gov.ie.

There will be huge pressure on general practice at the moment and we ask you to be patient with
our phone system and our great reception team and doctors/nurses. We are committed to providing
our community with the best health care we can and will continue to do so through these
unprecedented times.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine,
Muide le meas,
Foireann Ionad Leighis an Spidéal.