The COVID-19 vaccine is now being rolled out across the Two Cities. A number of people have contacted Nickie, asking various questions about the vaccine. Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions Nickie has received.
Who can get the COVID-19 vaccine?
The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus.
In England, the vaccine is being offered in some hospitals and pharmacies, at hundreds of local vaccination centres run by GPs and at larger vaccination centres. More centres are opening all the time.
It's being given to:
- people aged 65 and over
- some people who are clinically extremely vulnerable
- people who live or work in care homes
- health and social care workers
You also need to be registered with a GP surgery in England. You can register with a GP if you do not have one.
The order in which people will be offered the vaccine is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
Advice if you're of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding
There's no evidence the COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe if you're pregnant. But more evidence is needed before you can be routinely offered the vaccine.
The JCVI has updated its advice to recommend you may be able to have the vaccine if you're pregnant and:
- at high risk of getting coronavirus because of where you work
- have a health condition that means you're at high risk of serious complications of coronavirus
You can have the COVID-19 vaccine if you're breastfeeding.
Speak to a healthcare professional before you have the vaccination. They will discuss the benefits and risks of the COVID-19 vaccine with you.
You do not need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination. The vaccine cannot give you or your baby COVID-19.
How the COVID-19 vaccine being given?
The COVID-19 vaccine is given as an injection into your upper arm.
It's given as 2 doses. You will have the 2nd dose 3 to 12 weeks after having the 1st dose.
I am still waiting for my vaccine, what should I do?
If you are:
- aged 65 and over
- clinically extremely vulnerable
- Live or work in a care home
- a health or social care workers
You are now advised to book an appointment.
People outside these two groups are still advised to wait until the NHS contacts them to book an appointment or guidance changes.
How can I book my vaccine appointment?
You can book your vaccination appointments online.
I've received 2 invites to get the vaccine, What should I do?
Please also be aware some people may receive two invites – one from a local practice hub and one from a vaccination centre. If this happens to you, you should pick the site you would prefer to go to for your vaccination and follow the booking-in advice provided. You can ignore the second invite.
For more information on the COVID-19 Vaccine, you can visit the NHS website here.
How safe is the COVID-19 vaccine?
The vaccines approved for use in the UK have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Any coronavirus vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through. The MHRA follows international standards of safety.
Other vaccines are being developed. They will only be available on the NHS once they have been thoroughly tested to make sure they are safe and effective.
So far, thousands of people have been given a COVID-19 vaccine and reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions, have been very rare. No long-term complications have been reported.
To find out more about the vaccines approved in the UK, see:
- GOV.UK: Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 approved by MHRA
- GOV.UK: Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 approved by MHRA
- GOV.UK: Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 approved by MHRA
How effective is the COVID-19 vaccine?
The 1st dose of the COVID-19 vaccine should give you good protection from coronavirus. But you need to have the 2 doses of the vaccine to give you longer lasting protection.
There is a chance you might still get or spread coronavirus even if you have the vaccine.
This means it is important to:
- continue to follow social distancing guidance
- if you can, wear something that covers your nose and mouth in places where it's hard to stay away from other people
Read more about why vaccines are safe and important, including how they work and what they contain.
Are there any side effects from having the vaccine?
Some people do suffer from side effects. 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
- 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, call 111.
What should I do if I suffer from allergic reactions?
Tell healthcare staff before you are vaccinated if you've ever had a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).
You should not have the vaccine if you've ever had a serious allergic reaction to:
- a previous vaccine
- a previous dose of the same COVID-19 vaccine
- some medicines, household products or cosmetics
Serious allergic reactions are rare. If you do have a reaction to the vaccine, it usually happens in minutes. Staff giving the vaccine are trained to deal with allergic reactions and treat them immediately.
What does the COVID-19 vaccine contain?
The approved COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any animal products or egg.