Covid-19 Update


COVID update


Dear friends, I do hope we are reaching some of the later chapters of the Covid Saga. (Surely , we must be more than halfway through, by now). Let’s hope any sequels, like the movies, and are far less interesting.

Apparently the message of “show don’t tell” is more persuasive and one of the most gratifying ways to pass your time, is to have a look at the map of vaccination by postcode.

The shade of green reflects extent of immunisation, and the Berry postcode is indeed Wimbledon green, against a backdrop of pea soup. We could expect by the time of publishing to see >90% of local residents having had their first dose. This is a nod to all the locals who linked hands around the perimeter of Berry, to provide protection and safety to the whole Community. Think of the huddling group of penguins at the South Pole, keeping everyone inside warm.

So now, if you do hear of a raging COVID outbreak somewhere else, feel compassion first, but it’s OK to take comfort in knowing it’s not likely to take hold here, and it will not smash the place and land multiple patients in Hospital. It should not decimate our Nursing homes. Our town is safer, business are now less likely to be shut down, and the heavy yolk of lockdowns will be lightening up soon.

Please be patient , follow the guidelines carefully. Stay the course and trust the science.

Here are some important points –

The current vaccines do become less effective over time against some variants, including Delta, but the protection against severe disease is still strong. We are watching the Mu variant.

The Worlds Covid vaccination campaign is not only the largest and fastest in history, it is also being monitored more closely than any before it. Hence, we have picking up the rarest complications early.

We are better at diagnosing infection including breakthroughs, better at contact tracing, better at social distancing and locking down.

In the US fewer than 1% of fully vaccinated people reported breakthrough Covid infections.

You are 30 times more likely to end up in hospital if you are unvaccinated and you contract Covid.

These vaccines are simply elegant. The vaccine asks your cells to produce a protein, not a virus. This teaches the immune system to recognise the now bull’s-eye target on any COVID invader, your immune system is primed. Then between the antibodies and killer T cells : they get the job done. The vaccine itself disappears in a few days

The vaccines are not full proof, (60-90% protection) which means you still can get an infection and pass it on. The people you pass it onto may be the most vulnerable. Hence the need for ongoing restrictions.

The vaccines are now recommended for anybody over 12.

The medical reasons not to have any of the vaccine are vanishingly small. You will find certificates for medical contraindications are very rigorous. Expect your doctor to require extensive documentation. It’s just too important to ask or expect us, to bend the rules and unfair to all those patients who have taken the jab, for the greater good.

You can seek out the AstraZeneca vaccine, the Pfizer vaccine or the Moderna vaccine (coming soon.) at General practices, pharmacies and vaccination hubs.

We should aim for Denmark coverage rates, where Covid is no longer a socially critical disease, and they are moving towards removing all restrictions. They use rapid antigen testing, and so should we.

With growing immunisation rates, we will move to measuring not COVID cases, but hospitalisation and deaths, as a measure of success. The vaccine is a game changer.

The vaccine is safe in pregnancy and does not affect fertility

One tiny risk for the Pfizer vaccine is a rare form of Heart inflammation. Predominantly in young males under 30, after the second dose. and it last 1-2 weeks and generally fizzles out by itself. Incidence is 6/100,000 patients.

We are finding that this same group ( young men) are the most likely to faint ( swoon) after the vaccine. Please have something to eat before your vaccine and do not go immediately out into the hot sun.

At Berry Medical Centre we are busy giving Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines as fast as they arrive to our door.

The heated debate about percentages and lockdowns, vaccine availability conspiracy theories and vaccinating children under 12 are all just sideshows towards the inevitable : Learning to live with the virus. Please do not invest too much time in these, it will all become simpler soon.


Dr Neil Donovan

on behalf of Berry Medical Centre