It is already two weeks since our last Happy Hour on the 3rd February! I’ve been a little busy with, amongst other things, getting and reacting to the COVID vaccine! I hope my note finds you all well, and that any of you who have had the jab, and I know there are a few of you now, are now over any side effects you felt. Mine only lasted a couple of days.
A big thank you to all who attended on the 3rd February, including Dr Danni Browning, who answered a lot of our questions as well as giving us an update on her research project – mASCARA, which RTD is helping to fund. As usual, we covered a lot – this is a summary:
mASCARA waiting for NHS go ahead:
We heard from Dr Browning last time about the great progress that mASCARA has had in recruiting sites internationally to the register. This time, she told us that the mASCARA Dashboard is now live and waiting for the “ink to dry” on NHS contracts, before it is opened for use internationally. Since we met, Dr Browning has been in touch to tell me of the first mASCARA publication, where Red Trouser Day is acknowledged. If you want to read about the project and see RTD acknowledged, please go to: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12672-021-00397-7#citeas
More on RTD Funding Strategy:
Last time we heard from Dr Chong and Professor Brown about their plans to collaborate over the next 5 years, and Paul and I had a strategy review meeting with them and with Mr Shahnawaz Rasheed to discuss their plans in more detail. Paul summarised it all for us, along with feedback from the RTD engagement survey that we ran. It is so important to Paul and to me that we respond to our RTD supporters as we plan what we do with the funds that you help us raise, and that we tell you exactly where your money is being spent.
Paul told us of the survey response, which was very encouraging, so we are listening, thank you. We continue to look for research that contributes to early diagnosis, improved patient outcomes, and helps with patient wellbeing. Paul has now made a video, following our strategy meeting with our clinicians that talks about the themes emerging from their plans that we might help with: https://youtu.be/sX3vf3tPpBA
He also told us about an idea he has had to look at the potential link between stress and ill health, and how he has secured support from our clinicians to engage in a long term project to track well people and assess stress levels against any developing illness. We will be looking for a RMCH / Imperial College Psychologist to join this effort, and we hope that it might contribute to understanding how two people with similar physiologies often react so differently to treatment.
A little on our usual subject – COVID and vaccines:
We heard from Dr Browning how doctors who experience reactions to vaccines they have (doctors have a lot of jabs!) simply say “it must be working then”- they report flu like symptoms. Well, that is a relief as, since our meeting, Paul and I have both been vaccinated (with the Astra Zeneca vaccine) and I had two days of flu like symptoms.
Knowledge of peoples’ reactions is growing of course, and it seems that those who have been vaccinated after contracting and recovering from COVID experience worse symptoms, so there is a suggestion being considered that those who have contracted COVID should not be given a vaccine for 3 to 6 months.
Interestingly enough, it has been noted in studies, that people who are reluctant to have the vaccine experience worse symptoms! Also, people over 70 seem to have little reaction to the Pfizer vaccine. And, there is now real hope that the COVID vaccine will simply form part of the annual flu jab.
Finally, a word on masks:
Red Trouser Day has ordered its very own masks. These are too expensive to mass produce, but we can supply them on order – Paul tells us he can order them for £20 for 4 masks. We will check the sizes and let you all know. Dr Browning has even volunteered to get her colleagues to wear the RTD masks, so we should soon have team shots of RTD masked medics!
Paul will let you know via the website about sizes and how to order.
Next Happy Hour:
Hope you enjoyed reading the summary of our last Happy Hour and that you will come to our next one on the 3rd of March.