COVID Vaccination Clinics

New COVID symptoms

The Delta variant of COVID-19, first identified in India, is currently responsible for around 90% of new COVID cases in the UK.  It is significantly more easily transmitted than the original strain and cases of hospitalisation - including in younger patients - are rising.

The symptoms of the new strain are most commonly a headache, sore throat and runny nose.  Fever remains a common symptom but loss of smell is no longer in the top 10 reported symptoms.  The risk is therefore that you might feel off colour but dismiss it as a seasonal cold, and carry on socialising without realising that you could be spreading the virus.  So if you have symptoms of headache, sore throat, runny nose, chills, fever or muscle aches, please stay at home and take a test.  Lateral Flow test kits are free from pharmacies.  If you test positive you should then confirm it with a PCR test - call 119 or go to the website for more information.

The good news is that vaccinations appear to be effective against the new strain.  Of 33,000 cases in England up to 7th June, nearly 60% (19573) were in unvaccinated individuals.  Only around 5% (1785) were in fully vaccinated people, with the remaining cases being in those who had received one dose of the vaccine, or whose vaccination status was unclear.


Update 16th June 2021

Stop Press: We completed inviting all our adult patients last week, which felt like a huge milestone!  If you have not yet received your text from us, this will probably be because we have no - or an out of date - mobile number for you so do give us a call so we can book your appointment.

Up to last Friday the nine practices in our Mid-Dorset Primary Care Network had given a first vaccination to 31,183 patients, more than 83% of those eligible.  Portesham patients are at the top of the list as we have given a first dose vaccination to 87.3% of our eligible patients.  In the over 80s group the PCN has vaccinated an incredible 97.8% of our patients.  We also lead the way with our second dose vaccinations, having done 73.4% of our patients.  The PCN as a whole has given second doses to 25,508 patients, or 68.1% of patients.

In the UK as a whole around 73% of those eligible have received their first dose, and of these, 77% had been done by GP practices and networks (the remainder have been done by the mass vaccination centres and pharmacy sites).

This is a fantastic effort by staff who are already working flat out to manage the back-log of work and rising patient expectations, and we are very proud to be part of making Dorset safer.


PLEASE RESPOND TO OUR INVITATION even if you don't want to have the vaccine or have booked an appointment elsewhere!  Our admin team spend hours trying to contact non-responders as we have a duty (unlike the mass vaccination centres) to make sure all our patients have the chance to book if they want the vaccine, so we have to speak to you before we can cancel your invitation and offer the slot to someone else.  Thank you.

New patients: if you had your first COVID vaccination elsewhere or have moved into our area, your name will come up as due for your second dose and we will invite you to have it here so as above, please wait for us to contact you when your turn comes up and we have deliveries and clinic dates for you.   If you do not hear from us when your second vaccination date is close, this may be because your medical record has not fully transferred to us, so please give us a call so we can sort out your booking over the phone.

For frequently asked questions about our vaccination clinic, please see Covid Patient FAQs

All appointments are at the Atrium Health Centre in Dorchester and invitations are sent out by text.

When you receive your text, click on the link to book your appointment date.  The time you are given is a 10-minute arrival slot – please do NOT arrive early as our clinics have been planned to allow for social distancing and efficient crowd management, and attending without an appointment or earlier than your booked slot risks an increase in queues and social distancing being difficult  to maintain.  You will get a text confirming your appointment time as you do for appointments at the Surgery here.

If you do not have a mobile phone rest assured we are contacting you by telephone and making the booking for you over the phone so no one will miss out.

Parking is free for clinic appointments in the lower (covered) end of Market car park - look for the marshals in yellow jackets (and don't forget to thank them; they are all volunteering their time to help our clinics run smoothly and we couldn't do it without them!). 

This video from Dorset CCG shows how quickly and efficiently so many people have been vaccinated (with an interview with the Atrium COVID clinic marshals at around 2 minutes – it opens best in Google or Microsoft Edge)

Those patients who are too frail to travel or don’t have transport to Dorchester are being put on a waiting list to have the Astra-Zeneca vaccine more locally and we will contact you as soon as we can arrange this.

Cancelling the invitation: If you are unable to book your vaccination now (for example if you are isolating or stuck elsewhere in the country or abroad) but do want to be invited again in the future,  please respond “cancel” to our text invitation.  This cancels the invitation so we can offer the opportunity to the next person on the list but you will still be invited later if you haven’t had it elsewhere.  Please also “cancel” the invitation if you are booked elsewhere, rather than decline which implies you do not want the vaccination at all.

Declining the vaccination altogether: If you do not wish to have the COVID vaccination please reply to your text with the word “decline” so that we don’t keep trying to contact you.