In a bid to ensure that as many people across north east London who are eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccine do so, Barts Health are offering an allergy referral service at their NHS Covid-19 vaccination centre, Newham.
When we think about allergies, we primarily think about allergies to foods or animals – nut allergies, dairy allergies, cat allergies etc. But what people often forget is that people can also be allergic to medicines. This includes allergies to vaccines, like the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. The allergy is rarely to the entire vaccine, but rather to a specific component of it.
For some individuals, having existing allergies, or a history of previous severe allergic reactions that they don’t know the cause of, may cause concern about having a Covid-19 vaccine. It needn’t. These people can still usually receive a Covid-19 vaccine, provided they do so under increased medical observation.
In rare instances, a person’s allergy may be to a component of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, and receiving it may cause an anaphylactic response. These individuals often need specialist advice from allergy specialists, before a tailored vaccination plan can be recommended for them.
Now, Barts Health are offering to help people in both groups get their vaccines. The Trust are working with GPs, local partners and other vaccination centres across north east London to offer a Covid-19 vaccine allergy referral service at the NHS Covid-19 vaccination centre, Newham.
If a medical professional has a patient or citizen they know or think may have risk of allergic reaction to the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, they simply email the vaccination centre team to request a referral form, fill it in and email it back to the team.
From there, it will be picked up by one of the doctors or pharmacists at the centre, who will review it and determine if the individual can receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, getting input from the Barts Health Allergy Service if required. If the patient has had a serious allergic reaction to a Covid-19 vaccine before, or any of its component parts, a referral can be made directly to the Barts allergy service via e-RS.
If the individual receives the green light, they are booked in to have the vaccine under medical supervision at the NHS Covid-19 vaccination centre, Newham, based at ExCeL London.
Barts Health are able to provide this service at the centre because of the availability of dedicated medical supervision at specific clinic times, and close coordination with the Trust’s own allergy service. By doing so, they are able to provide a necessary service to hundreds of individuals who may otherwise have struggled to receive a vaccine. By providing this service, Barts Health are continuing to serve the population of north east London and bringing us another step closer to getting back to doing the things we love.