OVER the past couple of weeks, we have been asking readers to send in their questions regarding coronavirus in Warrington and the town’s vaccine roll-out.

It can be difficult to get your head around the latest virus information, and many of you have asked for updates on the progress of the vaccination programme.

We took your queries to the people tasked with delivering the vaccine to residents across Warrington.

And Dr Dan Bunstone, GP and clinical director of the Halliwell Jones vaccination site, and Dr Laura Mount, GP and clinical director of the Orford Jubilee Hub vaccination site, have generously taken time out of their busy schedules to answer them.

What age group is being vaccinated at the moment in Warrington? My slightly younger friends in other north west towns have had it already.

Across Warrington, patients who are over 65 are now being invited to receive their vaccination, as well as patients aged between 16 and 64 who are classed as vulnerable to Covid.

In terms of cohorts, this means that cohorts one to six are now open.

GP-run sites are focussing on inviting JCVI cohort six, which includes the wider group of people at higher clinical risk, including carers and young adults in residential settings.

Pharmacy colleagues who are working out of the Imaan Pharmacy, Village Hotel and Appleton Village (Widnes) Pharmacy will focus on inviting people aged between 65 and 69.

Some younger people may get their vaccine if their jobs are looking after vulnerable residents such as care home residents.

Warrington Guardian: Dr Laura Mount, GP and clinical director of the Orford Jubilee Hub vaccination siteDr Laura Mount, GP and clinical director of the Orford Jubilee Hub vaccination site

Can you have the vaccine if you are allergic to penicillin or other medicines?

Tell healthcare staff before you are vaccinated if you have ever had a serious allergic reaction.

You should not have the Covid-19 vaccine if you have ever had a serious allergic reaction, including anaphylaxis, to a previous dose of the same vaccine or any of the ingredients in the vaccine.

Serious allergic reactions are rare, but if you do have a reaction to the vaccine, it usually happens within minutes.

Staff giving the vaccine are trained to deal with allergic reactions and treat them immediately.

Checking for allergies is a routine part of the process before giving any vaccine or new medicine.

In Warrington, the practices screen patients before they are invited to one of our local GP sites for a vaccination, and we will make sure that anyone with allergies gets the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

We are working closely with Warrington Hospital and if we are concerned about how a patient may react to the vaccine, we will refer them to the hospital for their vaccination.

Pharmacy sites and the mass vaccination site at the Totally Wicked Stadium in St Helens are only using the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

Please remember that these are new vaccines, and clinicians in the NHS and the MHRA are being extra vigilant and are responding quickly to ensure everyone across the NHS is totally clear on these requirements.

Warrington Guardian: Dr Dan Bunstone, GP and clinical director of the Halliwell Jones vaccination siteDr Dan Bunstone, GP and clinical director of the Halliwell Jones vaccination site

I recently had my first vaccination but had a reaction within three hours.  My arm is still lumpy around the vaccination area a week after my first vaccine. Should I be worried and can I expect the same reaction or worse when I have my second dose?

Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild to short-term, and not everyone gets them.

Most side effects of the Covid-19 vaccine are mild and should not last longer than a week, such as a sore arm where the needle went in, feeling tired, a headache, feeling achy or feeling or being sick.

You can take painkillers such as paracetamol if you need to.

If you have a high temperature, you may have coronavirus or another infection. If your symptoms get worse or you are worried, you can also call 111.

It is important that you let your GP know if you have a reaction that is not as described in the leaflet you will have been given or if your reaction was severe.

However, even if you do have symptoms after the first dose, you still need to have the second dose. 

If you are worried, then please contact your GP practice and discuss this with either the GP or one of the practice nurses.

How long do we have to wait after our first jab until we get our second?

To ensure as many people are vaccinated as quickly as possible, the Department for Health and Social Care now advises that the second dose of both the Oxford-Astra Zeneca and the Pfizer vaccine should be scheduled up to 11 to 12 weeks apart.

RECAP> First set of reader questions answered by town’s vaccination leaders

If you have not already got an appointment for your second dose, your practice will be contacting you soon. 

The first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine should give you good protection from coronavirus, but you need to have the two doses of the vaccine to give you longer, lasting protection.

Full protection kicks in around a week or two after that second dose, which is why it is also important that when you do get invited for your second dose, you act on that and get yourself booked in as soon as possible.

Even those who have received a vaccine still need to follow social distancing and other guidance such as hand washing and wearing face coverings, as there is a chance you might still get or spread coronavirus.

What is the effectiveness of the vaccine for people who take immunosuppressive drugs?

This type of question needs to be answered by your secondary care clinician or consultant at the hospital where you are treated.

There are lots of reasons why different people take different types of medicines, so chatting to your consultant can answer this question for you.

Will childminders be able to get the vaccine sooner than later? We’re the only workforce who have to have children from various families, who have been mixing in school and family bubbles, in our own homes.

The order in which people will be offered the vaccine is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

At the moment, childminders are not mentioned specifically.

Warrington Guardian:

If someone has Covid-19 but has no symptoms, will the vaccine still work?

Please remember that if you have any of the coronavirus symptoms – a high temperature, new continuous cough or loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – get tested.

If in doubt, ring 111 and speak to someone who will be able to advise you.

If you have had a recent positive Covid test, your vaccination should be delayed to around four weeks after the onset of symptoms, or four weeks from the confirmed positive Covid test if you did not experience any symptoms.

However, if it turns out that you had Covid-19 when you got your vaccine, please inform you GP practice as soon as possible.

Other questions you may have could have been answered already by the NHS or by Warrington CCG.

We will be publishing more Q&As over the coming weeks, so if you have got a question on coronavirus and its impact locally, email nathan.okell@newsquest.co.uk and we will select the best to put forward to our experts.