When is the best time to be COVID vaccinated during pregnancy?

COVID-19 Vaccination Programme

The COVID-19 vaccination programme is open to anyone aged 18 and over. There are currently two vaccines being used locally in Oxfordshire:

  • Pfizer/BioNTech
  • Oxford/AstraZeneca

The vaccines are allocated nationally and local centres do not have any influence over which they receive. You cannot choose which vaccine you have. When you book, you’ll only be offered appointments for vaccines that are suitable for you. 

Most people can have any of the COVID-19 vaccines, but some people are only offered certain vaccines. For example, if you’re pregnant or under 40 you’ll usually only be offered appointments for the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines. 

You should have the same vaccine for both doses, unless you had serious side effects (such as a serious allergic reaction) after your 1st dose. These are very rare reactions and if affected, you will be informed by your GP or hospital clinician, that a different vaccine is necessary for your second dose.

Minor side effects after having any of the vaccinations are common and not a cause for concern. These are usually mild and should not last longer than a week, such as:

  • a sore arm from the injection
  • feeling tired
  • a headache
  • feeling achy
  • feeling or being sick

COVID Vaccination Status

Regarding certificates or evidence about your COVID vaccination status.

We are unable to issue this certificate at the practice.

Please see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/demonstrating-your-covid-19-vaccination-status-when-travelling-abroad for further information.

Proof of your vaccination status will be available in the NHS app from 17th May 2021, and in some of the other apps that provide you with Patient online services. 

The NHS app can be downloaded from:

If you have not used it before, there is a self-registration process within the app to create an “NHS login” as per https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/online-services/nhs-log-in/

If you already have access/ login details for patient online services, for example “Patient Access”, you may use this.

Alternatively, you can call the NHS helpline on 119 (from 17 May) and ask for a letter to be posted to you. This must be at least 5 days after you’ve completed your course of the vaccine.  The letter may to take another 5 days to reach you, or more if postal services are affected.  Please take account of this when making your plans. 

Kind regards,

Cowley Road Medical Practice

Think COVID!

Every day we receive a significant number of calls from patients experiencing cough symptoms or fever who are not thinking that they have COVID because their symptoms are not severe. Unlike what may come across in the news and media, most people with COVID will have mild or moderate symptoms. So please, if you have a new cough or fever, no matter how mild, or a loss in your sense of taste or smell, think COVID, isolate at home and arrange a COVID test. You may have only one of those symptoms – for example, just a fever, and still have COVID.

Further advice about managing your symptoms can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ or by calling 111.

To arrange a test, go to https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or call 119.

Coronavirus Vaccination

We are receiving many telephone queries about coronavirus vaccinations. These are being offered for residents of Oxford city in a number of sites across the city, rather than at individual practices. We do not have vaccines at the surgery. Our patients will be invited to receive a vaccine in line with a priority list set out by the national body responsible for vaccination. We cannot change the order. Please be patient – you will receive your invitation in due course when it is your turn.

Coronavirus Vaccination for Health Care Staff and Social Care Workers

If you are a health care worker and your employer has not already made arrangements for you to receive a COVID vaccine, please email your details to [email protected] with details of your role, and your employer. This information will be coded and passed to the relevant bodies who are organising vaccines for staff.

COVID Self-Isolation Rules

If you have symptoms of COVID, you should start to self-isolate and arrange for a test. You should remain in self isolation from the day your symptoms started and the next 10 full days. Your household members must also self-isolate for 10 days from the start of your symptoms. They should not get a test unless they have symptoms. A negative test during their period of isolation does not mean that your contacts can return to work or normal activities. If you still feel unwell at the end of 10 days, you should seek medical advice, and not return to work. You may return to work if your only symptoms are cough or loss of sense of smell. The full guidance can be found here


Oxford edges towards a red alert as coronavirus cases double in a week

People in Oxford are being urged to follow preventative measures after the number of coronavirus cases doubled in the space of a week.

In the 7 days up to 25 September, there were 67 confirmed cases in Oxford, up from 33 in the previous week.

This means that the weekly rate for Oxford currently stands at 43.9 cases per 100,000 population, putting the city on an amber alert status, but edging closer to a red alert level. Cases per 100,000 are now at their highest rate since May.

The increase is predominantly among young people in the 18-24 age bracket. The rise is being seen across the city and is not focused on one particular area.

Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council’s Director for Public Health said: “While this latest rise in cases mirrors what is happening nationally, Oxford has seen a doubling of cases in the space of a week, which is very concerning.

“We have recently seen many other parts of the country go into lockdown. This is something we all want to avoid. But if cases continue to rise at the rate they have been doing in Oxford, then we may have no choice but to impose tough local restrictions.

“My plea is a simple one – keep your distance, wash your hands, wear a mask, and ensure you are adhering to the rule of six.

“It’s up to all of us to bring the virus under control. The latest figures are a stark warning that we must act now. We need to slow the rate before it’s too late.”

You can find out more about how to keep yourself safe, and the latest number of cases in Oxfordshire, at www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/stopthespread.

COVID – What to do? Should I have a test?

What do I do if I think I might have coronavirus?

If you think you might have coronavirus or you’ve been in close contact with someone who has it:

– stay at home and avoid close contact with other people

– do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital

– use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do next

The 111 coronavirus service will tell you if you need to continue to stay at home (self-isolate) or if you need medical help.

If you’ve recently travelled abroad, see the coronavirus advice for travellers to find out what to do.

Further information is available on nhs.uk/coronavirus.

Do I need to wear a face covering?

Face coverings are now mandatory in public transport and shops and several other public places. The guidance is here (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/face-coverings-when-to-wear-one-and-how-to-make-your-own)

There are a few people who can be exempt on medical grounds which are listed in the guidance above. If this applies to you, you can find details of the exemption process in the link. GPs are not involved in this decision.

We are confident that there is good evidence to support the use of face coverings to protect others from transmission of coronavirus. We ask that everyone attending the surgery wears a face covering. The only exceptions are very small children and those with valid medical reasons not to wear one.

What is track and trace?

Track and trace is the NHS service set up to identify those who have been in contact with a person who has had coronavirus. This may not be someone you know, but simply someone you have come into contact by chance. If you are contacted by NHS track and trace, you should self isolate for 14 days. As long as you have no symptoms, other members of your household or support bubble are not required to self isolate. Here are further details.


Should I have a coronavirus test?

If you have symptoms of fever and general unwellness, particularly if you have a cough or breathing problems or a loss of sense of smell, but sometimes also if you don’t have these symptoms, we would encourage you to arrange a test. It is always better to know. This cannot be done through the GP practice. You will need to contact NHS 11 directly. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested

If you have been in contact with someone who has got coronavirus, you must self isolate for 14 days. If you develop symptoms, you should arrange for a test. A negative test sooner than 14 days does not mean you can return to work or usual social contacts any more quickly.

Can I have a coronavirus antibody test?

Although antibody testing is available, we are not offering it at the practice, unless there is a clinical reason determined by a GP. Although many people are curious to know whether they have had coronavirus in the past, an antibody test cannot reliably tell you this. Many people who have had coronavirus have a negative antibody test. We also do not know whether having antibodies against coronavirus will protect a person from getting the disease again.

Do you need practical help?

Are you worried about receiving your medication or about getting food during the coronavirus outbreak?

Are you worried about a neighbour or a relative?

The practice will be making contact with many of our patients in the next few weeks to put you in touch with sources of support if you need them.

In the meantime, you may wish to look at the website https://oxfordtogether.org/.

You can register yourself or a relative or someone you are concerned about for support.

Last updated 18 Jan 2021