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Poll: More than half of C+D readers won’t get COVID-19 vaccine

27% would get a COVID-19 vaccine “as soon as it’s available”

More than half of pharmacy professionals (56%) who answered a C+D poll say they will not get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Four in 10 (40%) of the 186 respondents to the poll – which ran on the C+D website from December 3 to December 11 – said they are “not confident that a vaccine that has been developed so quickly will be safe” and for this reason will not get a COVID-19 jab.

An additional 16% said they will not get a COVID-19 vaccine because they “have reservations about vaccines in general”.

More than a quarter (27%) said they will get a vaccine “as soon as it’s available”, while 17% will protect themselves against the virus by having the jab “but not immediately” as they “have concerns about how fast [the vaccine has] been developed”.

Result

Will you be getting a COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes, as soon as it’s available
27%
Yes, but not immediately. I have concerns about how fast it’s been developed and would like more information first
17%
No, I’m not confident that a vaccine that has been developed so quickly will be safe
40%
No, I have reservations about vaccines in general
16%
Total votes: 186

C+D launched its poll following the announcement last week (December 2) that the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine had been approved for use in the UK.

Healthcare professionals, including pharmacists, are expected to be the second cohort to be able to get vaccinated, after elderly people and care workers.

Earlier this week (December 9), the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) specified that “any person with a history of anaphylaxis to a vaccine, medicine or food should not receive the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine”. This followed two reported cases of anaphylaxis and one “possible allergic reaction” to the vaccine, the MHRA said. However, it added that  “most people will not get anaphylaxis”.

Persuade those who need it

Kent-based locum pharmacist Neil Sinclair will get the vaccine “as soon as it’s available”. He told C+D today: "I feel it’s our duty to get ourselves vaccinated as soon as possible so we can encourage others to do it. In my case, I can also say that my health isn’t perfect but I would rather take a very small risk than contract a disease which will certainly knock me out for several weeks."

Paul Watson, pharmacist partner at Kingston Pharmacy in Hull, East Yorkshire, said he would get a COVID-19 vaccine but “not immediately”.

People who “would benefit most from vaccination” should be persuaded to get it, Mr Watson told C+D.

“However, for a very large number of younger healthier people, I cannot see why the unknown and untested potential of long-term side effects of a vaccine should be risked against the possibility of catching a virus – which is unlikely to be much more than a minor inconvenience – if anything at all,” he added.

A pharmacy manager based in Hertfordshire who wishes to remain anonymous said they are not confident that “a COVID-19 vaccine that has been developed so quickly will be safe”.

As a person from an Asian background, the pharmacist feels it is important to understand what proportion of participants from the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) community were involved in the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine clinical trials, they said.

RPS: “Seek and accept advice” on COVID-19 vaccine

An MHRA spokesperson told C+D yesterday (December 10) that the “general safety profile” of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is similar to other vaccines already in use and that while “like all medicines, it can cause side effects – most of these are mild and short-term and not everyone gets them”.

COVID-19 vaccines “require continuous safety monitoring” that manufacturers have a legal obligation to undertake, the spokesperson said. This applies to “any vaccine or medicine”, they added.

“No vaccine would be authorised for supply in the UK unless the expected standards of safety, quality and efficacy are met,” the MHRA spokesperson said.

Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) president Sandra Gidley told C+D yesterday that pharmacy professionals who might have reservations about a COVID-19 vaccine should “seek and accept advice from health professionals and experts in this field”.

“We have every confidence in the MHRA approval process. We appreciate, however, that during the rollout of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19, there may be different individual responses to the vaccine.

“This is not unusual in the administration of medicines and vaccines. We are very pleased to see that the allergic reactions seen in some patients has been identified early and this reaction is being addressed,” Ms Gidley added.

A National Pharmacy Association (NPA) spokesperson told C+D yesterday that community pharmacists play an important role “both in administering and communicating to the public about the vaccine”.

“As highly trusted health care professionals and experts in medicines seeing more patients every day than any other part of the NHS, we are well placed to provide reassurance about the rigorous nature of the registration process and the value of this vital vaccination programme.”

Professor Mahendra Patel says pharmacists can tackle patient misinformation on COVID-19 vaccines by reassuring them about safety concerns. Listen to C+D's podcast here

52 Comments
Question: 
Would you get a COVID-19 vaccine?

MrR Patel, Community pharmacist

This is just terrible and not a proud moment for the pharmacy!

Getting Shorter, Community pharmacist

I didn't vote in the poll, as it didn't have my option:

I have concerns about the mid-to-long-term safety of this vaccine. I'm not worried about the clinical trails per se, but the rapid progress of them has removed that longer-term information, where it would have been maybe 5 years or so from the first few people given it in the trails before it came to the mass-market. So we can be evidence-led, but there is simply no evidence available to cover this area. The science, as we understand it currently, says there shouldn't be a problem, but a fast roll out of a mass vaccination programme would certainly be a good way to give plently of data to power a new understanding if it turns out our current understanding is not quite right...

 

Will I be having the vaccine? Yes. I am still worried by the lack of long term info, but my very personnal risk (outstanding lung damage from an infection 25 years or so ago) means I'd rather try and avoid the virus now, and cross my fingers that the science turns out to be correct down the road.

 

How to tell this to patients? I'm happy to tell them it's safe... as far as we know at the moment. But, at the end of the day, we just don't know about the long term. And there's most likely another vaccine on the way in a few months' time, with many, many, many years of use behind its basic principle, which makes for more choices/balances/evidence to weigh again.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

This is exactly right. You've done the same process as me but your situation is the opposite to mine whereby you have significant risk factors at play. In your position I think I would come to the same conclusion as you. This is what the blinkered pro-vaxxers (DM, NK, UP, AM, CJ - I'm talking to you) don't seem to get - every case is different and choice is very much down to the individual.

Oliver Staunton, Information Technology

Everyone is allowed to have an opinion. However, as pharmacists, we should know how to appraise the data and studies available, and when acting as a pharmacist (in the eyes of patients and the public) we should be objective.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

The problem is, and sorry to keep banging on about this, there are no long-term studies because it hasn't been available long term. Therefore everyone having the vaccine is effectively being experimented on. I know that is a sensationalist statement and I sincerely hope I'm wrong, but the cynical pessimist in me foresees problems....

Leon The Apothecary, Student

It's a fair point, and it should be weighed up against the risk of catching the virus and its long-term effects on the body, which are also just as unknown.

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

I seem to recall the swine flu jab caused some cases of narcolepsy.  I mentioned this in the MailOnline comments recently and got shot down in flames by all the pro-vaxers! ( I'm not anti-vax, was just stating a fact, but didn't go down well!) 

Leon The Apothecary, Student

It was something like one in every 55,000 jabs, right? I do think that mainstream news outlets do sometimes exacerbate and sensationalise the topic, and I believe it is much harder to convince someone on the positives once that negative perception has been implanted. 

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

There is a definite agenda on the BBC, Mail, etc. All the reporting is one-sided in the extreme and anyone with any reservations about the Covid vaccine is made out to be a crackpot. I really don't know what is happening to this country.

Never been on MailOnline but I should imagine it makes this forum look like a teaparty at the Palace. You are absolutely right though. In 2013 (was it really that long ago??) the Government accepted that the vaccine Pandemrix could cause narcolepsy - just looked it up so you should go back onto the Mail and tell them all to eff off. I'd forgotten about that but this just confirms what I've been banging on about for ages.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

To be fair, if you want a really exceptional variety of argument, you should try Youtube comments on news outlet videos.

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

You may struggle with that Leon. Youtube has banned any comments or videos on anything that states the 2020 USA presidential election may have been subject to fraud. If you even post a video of the security footage of suitcases of ballots being pulled out in Georgia after everyone was sent home for the night, your account will be banned! I don't want to start a whole debate on that topic!!! But just pointing out that 'soon-to-be' makes a valid point on media manipulation to fit the narrative they want to push. Youtube are also shadow banning your comments on the above, and now on anything anti-vax. And if you are persistent you will be banned. Many with Conservative or pro-Trump, or vaccine questioners, are moving to Bitchute and Brandnewtube and Parler and Rumble. 

Big tech and Big media and social media in general and how it is manipulated has a lot to answer for today in the way certain views and opinions are censored.

From a medical point, those of a certain age may remember Dr. Vernon Coleman, quite prolific in the 1980s, in the media and on tv, he has now had to leave Youtube due to questioning the official narrative on Covid-19 and the vaccine. I know some may think he is a crackpot, but he was spot on about the addictive properties of benzodiazepines in the late 1970s when he was shouted down by the mainstream. 

So Leon, it would seem that Big tech now does not want to even let us engage in arguement and debate.  Personally I think this censorship is quite worrying if one is not able to raise questions and enter discussions. 

PRIMARY CARE PHARMACIST, Primary care pharmacist

Is everyone answering that poll really a  registered pharmacy professional? 

Leon The Apothecary, Student

No-one mentioned registered. But you illustrate an excellent point of how truth can easily be distorted intentionally or inadvertently!

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

Given that government involvement in distribution of top-up flu jabs has turned the second half of the flu vaccination season into an embarrassing farrago, simple access may be the first problem. Will I be having a covid vaccination? Probably but I certainly won't be first in line - 1,000,001 possibly. (BTW Is everyone else as impressed as I am that the government have sanctioned the biggest clinical trial of a vaccine in care homes by dressing it up as 'protecting the vulnerable')

Alexander The Great, Community pharmacist

How did i miss the poll?? Im here everday!

David Miller, Hospital pharmacist

Can I find the head in hands emoji - are we an evidence led profession

david williams, Community pharmacist

"show me the holes" said |Thomas (maybe). A healther scepticism is to be admired. However, 16% " I have reservations about vaccines in general". That is a tad worrying from a pharmacist.  No wonder the public are confused. More science, less personal "belief" please. Except for Thomas above, a dead cert for some.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Still, that's less than 30 people, so that is positive. I quite agree, personal belief has no place in determining if something is effective or not. Only high-quality evidence.

Graham Jones, Community pharmacist

C and D is extrapolating a ridiculously flawed survey to create a sensationalist fake headline.  Lets have a higher standard of debate and support (not undermining) for a profession in the forefront of spreading the public health message about the importance of vaccination

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Whilst I would not go to the extremes of joining you in calling something a Donald Trump colloquium, I will, however, agree it is a misrepresentation. What it does show, is that there is a fair amount of discourse when it comes to the vaccine, and that is worth starting a conversation about.

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Right, this is my five penn'orth.

As a reply to Uma Patel - the vaccine isn't even known to prevent transmission and may even make it more likely by only reducing symptoms in a vaccinated person so by refusing to employ an unvaccinated pharmacist (which is probably illegal discrimination anyway) you would be putting your staff at extra risk (and why have they not been vaccinated??) because a vaccinated person could still be an asymptomatic carrier or such mild symptoms that covid would not be suspected whereas this is less likely in an unvaccinated person.

As a reply to Caroline Jones - scientifically speaking, I need to see proof that something is safe over a longer term than a couple of months before I will allow it irrevocable access to my body. I don't believe any of the conspiracy theories but I want to know that something is safe in the long term before I'll have it. I've been around the block too many times and seen too many drugs withdrawn because of unforeseen side-effects manifesting on long-term use to believe without question what is spoonfed to us as fact by a Government under enormous pressure to salvage what is left of the economy. I'm not saying they are wrong to do this (I have immense sympathy because they can't seem to do right for doing wrong, a bit like being married.....) but there is not a person in this world that knows if every person who has this vaccine will still be the same in one, two, three years time. That is why I'm not having it, not because some whackjob thinks Bill Gates has put micromachines in it. Also have some respect for people whose views are different to your own rather than dismissing them (us) as flat-earthers. Part of being a scientist is to have a healthy skepticism and believe nothing without proof. I have seen no proof of long term safety so I will not be having the vaccine. I may be proven to be wrong but I may also be proven to be right. It is my choice to make and this choice should be respected.

As a reply to John Ashworth - I hope I am wrong for your sake. You have made your choice and I respect that. As for the flu, it was always going to be a quiet flu season anyway because of the covid restrictions.

As a reply to Nahim Khan - I'm leaving the crap at the end of this year anyway but I would tell patients that although the evidence is that the vaccine is safe over a period of months, it has not been established that it is safe over a period of years and they need to personally assess their own risk/benefit profile before having a vaccine - this would be hugely different between an 18 year old and an 85 year old - you cannot throw a blanket over everyone and give one stock answer. This is what I have done - I'm a 55 year old, not overweight (finally!) with no underlying health conditions and therefore am low risk of covid complications. I have also avoided getting infected during the worst of the first wave. My assessment is the risk outweighs the benefits and therefore I won't be having a vaccination.

Thankyou and goodnight.

Nahim Khan, Primary care pharmacist

 

First of all, it'd be helpful if you READ. My name is Nahim.

Secondly, you've gone into quite a bit of speil to essentially discuss the concept of informed consent. Which we should all be doing regardless of the product.

 

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

Sorry about the spelling, I'll correct it. Didn't have my reading glasses on.

Informed consent is what it's all about but what I object to is all the pontificating on here about the informed decision I and others have made, basically calling us primitive for not believing everything trotted out by the (government sponsored) so-called scientific community. I have my own mind thanks.

Also, it was you that asked the question that I answered. If you already knew the answer, why pose the question?

Nahim Khan, Primary care pharmacist

Interested to know, for those who are not getting the vaccine:

what will you advise patients if they ask whether they should get the vaccine or not?

Oliver Staunton, Information Technology

I would think that if you've read and appraised and understand the data on the vaccine and the risks of covid19, then you can provide advice to the patient. Otherwise you can just tell them that you don't know enough information about it.

Leon The Apothecary, Student

So I pose the question, do you believe that a Pharmacist has a professional responsibility to appraise that information? It appears you accept there are many out there that do not. 

Benie Locum, Locum pharmacist

Freedom of choice.

Nahim Khan, Primary care pharmacist

Thanks for the simple three word reply. I bet your consultations are well easy. 

Patient: should I take this {medicinal product}?

Bernie I, Locum Pharmacist: Freedom of choice

 

 

 

 

 

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

That's basically what we do. You can talk to someone for hours about a medication but when it comes right down to it, the choice whether to take it or not is theirs. You can't prise their mouth open and ping a tablet down with a peashooter.

Do you genuinely believe that informed consent works with most of the public? I don't because I've worked with the public for 30+ years and I know that most of what we say goes so far over their heads, you'd need a pair of binoculars to see it.

Chemical Mistry, Information Technology

I hope you post more often  very enjoyable reading , are you retiring if so enjoy or moving into new occupation?

 

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