Coronavirus Infection & Vaccination Information

3rd Primary Doses for Patients who are Immunosuppressed

Why do I need another Primary Dose of the Covid-19 Vaccination?

Some people who are immunosuppressed, for example because of an underlying health condition or those who take medication which suppresses their immune response, may not have responded as well to their 1st and 2nd primary doses of the Covid-19 vaccines compared to people who are not immunosuppressed.

It is not possible to know who will or will not have responded, so the JCVI is recommending that all people with certain conditions or taking specific doses of certain medications should receive a 3rd primary dose.  This is differennt from a 'booster' dose which may be needed as initial response to the vaccine reduces.

We will invite all those patients who have been identified as needing this 3rd primary dose directly.  They will still be invited for their 'booster' dose when this needs to be given.

Which Vaccine will I recieve?

If you are aged 18 and over it is likely that you will get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. 

Is it OK to mix vaccines?

If you are eligible for a third dose, you may be offered a different vaccine to your first two vaccine doses. In particular, people who previously received the AstraZeneca vaccine are now likely to receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as their third dose, as recommended by the JCVI.  

Recent studies suggest that having the AstraZeneca vaccine followed by the Pfizer vaccine gives a better immune response than two AstraZeneca vaccines.

Current Changes To Expect When You Attend Birchwood Medical Centre

Please be aware of the following when attending our practice:

We do ask anyone who attends the practice to wear a face covering to help protect themselves, other patients and our staff from the transmission of Covid-19.

Do not to come into the surgery without a pre-booked appointment or you have been asked to attend.

Please use the intercom at the door to speak directly to our reception team when you do attend for an appointment, or if you have been asked to provide a sample to be sent for testing.

Our admin team will check your temperature before you enter the building to check for any fever to help protect our vulnerable patients and staff as much as possible. 

If you need help with a health concern, please contact us via phone or by completing an online form on our website (eConsult).

A clinical member of staff will call you back to provide an assessment over the phone and they will arrange a video or face-to face appointment for you if required. 

Our clinical staff will be wearing full PPE which includes surgical mask, apron and gloves during any face to face consultations with patients.

All our staff will be wearing face coverings in communal areas such as the corridors.

National Covid Vaccination Booking Service

You can now book your coronavirus vaccination using the national NHS online booking service 

for the following vaccinations:


1st dose: If you are 16 years or over

2nd dose: If you are aged 18 years or over and your 1st Covid-19 Vaccination was a minimum of 8 weeks ago

Boosters: Health care workers AND 16-49 years with underlying medical conditions AND 50+ years - and your 2nd dose was at least 6 months ago

You can book appointments at a larger vaccination centre or pharmacy now.

Alternatively you can call 119 to book your Covid vaccination by telephone.

Covid-19 Status Service for Patients

If you're planning to travel abroad, you may need to show proof that you're vaccinated against coronavirus (COVID-19). This is your COVID-19 vaccination status.

There is a new service allowing patients to share their Covid-19 Vaccination Status is available via the NHS App or the NHS Website.

Here is the link to the Covid-19 Status Service

Full information on this service can be found using this link here: About the Covid-19 Status Service

Those in England who have had a full course of the COVID-19 vaccine, which is currently two doses of any approved vaccine, will be able to demonstrate their COVID-19 vaccination status for international travel using this service.

Anyone without a smartphone who needs to prove their Covid-19 status, can request a letter through the NHS website or ring 119.

You can request a letter directly from the NHS website here: Get Your Coronavirus Vaccination Status by Letter

You can ask for a paper version of your COVID-19 vaccination status to be sent to you in the post.  You should get this within 5 working days.  You can request this letter 5 days after your 2nd dose of the Covid-19 Vaccination.

Some countries you are travelling to may also ask for a negative COVID-19 test result. Always check the entry requirements for the country you're visiting before you book your travel.

Covid-19 Vaccinations Given Abroad

At the moment vaccines administered overseas cannot be recorded in the UK National Immunisation Management system (NIMS) which is the system used to show your vaccination status in the NHS App. 

We appreciate that this is a confusing situation.  Unfortunately, there is some conflicting information about this both in the media and on the internet about this.

Currently, it is not possible for us to record details of COVID vaccines in such a way that it will appear on the NHS app.  The vaccine information which appears on the NHS App is taken from the IT system used in the vaccine centres around the country. The information is not taken from a patient’s GP records.  

Therefore the ability to show any “overseas” Vaccination Certificate and request a Vaccination Passport is not currently available from the NHS.

This issue is being worked on at a national level and an update is expected shortly.  We will update you further as soon as we know more.

Any queries regarding this issue need to be directed to NHS 119 or to NHS App support rather than by ringing the practice as we cannot assist in this area.

Further information can be found using this link


Support for Patients with Covid-19

Increased support announced for patients with COVID-19 symptoms and members of their household.

GP surgeries in Halton and Warrington are working with NHS 111 and local hospitals to provide more advice and treatment to patients with COVID-19 symptoms and members of their household who are self-isolating.

The support, which includes telephone, video and face-to-face assessments, will be provided to help these patients with a range of health issues and concerns.

We also have access to a Covid-19 Home Visiting service if you are housebound & unwell with a Covid-19 infection - please telephone our reception to arrange a telephone review with one of clinicians who will advise you if a home visit is needed to assess you further. 


Advice for patients with COVID-19 symptoms & Face-to-Face Assessment Centres

If you have COVID-19 symptoms and you need advice or treatment with any health issue, you should contact NHS 111 in the first instance, unless it is a life-threatening emergency, then you should dial 999.

  • If you have possible COVID-19 and you are struggling to cope with your symptoms, you should use the NHS 111 online Coronavirus service -
  • If you have COVID-19 symptoms but have another health concern, please contact NHS 111 online at via phone.

NHS 111 may then refer you to your GP Practice for further assessment via phone or video call.

If clinically appropriate, a face-to-face appointment will be booked by the practice at one of the dedicated face-to-face assessment sites which have been set up in Halton and Warrington.

As a result, you may need to go to a different surgery than normal for an assessment with a GP. The sites will not offer testing for COVID-19 and are not public testing sites.

The site Birchwood Medical Centre are currently using for the assessment of patients with suspected Covid-19 or those who have tested positive is the Covid-19 Mobile Assessment Unit based at Orford Jubilee Hub.

To ensure the safety of patients and staff, only patients who have had an appointment booked at the assessment sites will be allowed access. Patients will only be allowed to enter one at a time, they will be asked to wait in a car if possible and only enter when they are contacted by mobile phone.

Advice for patients living in a household with someone who has COVID-19 symptoms

If you have a health concern but are self-isolating because you live in a household with someone who has COVID-19 symptoms, you can contact the surgery directly via phone or by contacting the practice via an online form on the practice website (eConsult).

IMPORTANT: please make the surgery aware that you are living in a household with someone who has COVID-19 symptoms.

A clinical member of staff will call you back to provide an assessment over the phone and they will arrange a video or face-to face appointment for you if required. Face-to-face appointments for patients who live in a household with someone who has COVID-19 symptoms will take place at one of the dedicated face-to-face assessment sites.

Advice for patients who live in households that DO NOT have COVID-19 symptoms

To reduce any potential risk transmission of a Covid-19 infection, patients who live in households without any COVID-19 symptoms will be seen separately from patients with COVID-19 symptoms and members of their household.

As a result of the new arrangements, you may be asked to attend a different location for assessment if you have any symptoms which could indicate you have suspected Covid-19.  Please see information on the local face-to-face assessment centres for more information.

Where can I find out more information?