Covid-19 Vaccine FAQs

Who can get the Covid-19 vaccination?

Who can get the Covid-19 vaccination?

The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus, in line with the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

It's being given to:

  • people aged 60 and over
  • people who are at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable) 
  • people who live or work in care homes
  • health and social care workers
  • people who are at moderate risk from coronavirus (clinically vulnerable) 

The vaccine will be offered more widely as soon as possible.

How will I know it’s my turn to get a vaccine?

How will I know it’s my turn to get a vaccine?

The NHS will let you know when it's your turn to have the vaccine. Do not contact the NHS for a vaccination before then. Once you have received your letter you can book your vaccination appointment online, or for those who cannot access the online booking service, they can book by calling 119.

You will need your ten-digit NHS number, it will be on the letter sent to you. You can also find it on your prescriptions or through your GP online service.

If a patient cannot go to one of the large vaccination centres, they can choose to have their vaccination at their GP surgery when it’s available there or a pharmacy.

When will I receive my vaccine?

When will I receive my vaccine?

The NHS goal remains to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible, with the prioritisation guided by advice from the JCVI.

Expansion of the programme will mean all adults will be offered a vaccine by the autumn.

In what order are patients being prioritised?

In what order are patients being prioritised?

The full prioritisation list can be found here and is as follows (in order of priority):  

  1. Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers 
  2. All those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers 
  3. All those 75 years of age and over 
  4. All those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals 
  5. All those 65 years of age and over.
  6. All individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality 
  7. All those 60 years of age and over 
  8. All those 55 years of age and over 
  9. All those 50 years of age and over 

How will patients be invited for a vaccination?

How will patients be invited for a vaccination?

When it is the right time people will receive an invitation to come forward. For most people this will be in the form of a letter either from their GP or the national booking system; this will include all the information they need, including their NHS number. 

We know lots of people will be eager to get protected but we are asking people not to contact the NHS to get an appointment until they receive their invitation.

Can people do what they want after they have been vaccinated?

Can people do what they want after they have been vaccinated?

It is essential that everyone continues to stay at home if possible whether they have had the vaccine or not.

This means it is important to:

What vaccines are available?

What vaccines are available?

The University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine are now available across the UK.

Which vaccine is better/more effective?

Which vaccine is better/more effective?

Both Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca are very effective vaccines. It’s not as simple as saying one vaccine is better than the other. An effective vaccine will save lives and reduce hospitalisations.

Both vaccines have been approved because they pass the MHRA’s tests on safety and efficacy, so people should be assured that whatever vaccine they get will be highly effective and protect them from Coronavirus.

Are there any side effects?

Are there any side effects?

Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short-term, lasting no longer than a week, and not everyone gets them.

These may include:

  • a sore arm where the needle went in
  • feeling tired
  • a headache
  • feeling achy
  • feeling or being sick

Can people choose what vaccine they have?

Can people choose what vaccine they have?

No. Any vaccines that are available will have been approved because they pass the MHRA’s tests on safety and efficacy, so people should be assured that whatever vaccine they get will be highly effective and protect them from coronavirus.

Why are some patients receiving Covid-19 vaccination record cards?

Why are some patients receiving Covid-19 vaccination record cards?

When patients are vaccinated, they are likely to receive a vaccine record card that notes the date of their vaccination, the suggested date for their second dose and details of the vaccine type and batch.

Is having the vaccine compulsory?

Is having the vaccine compulsory?

There are no plans to make the Covid-19 vaccine compulsory. The UK operates a system of informed consent for vaccinations.

Are there animal components in the vaccine?

Are there animal components in the vaccine?

The MHRA has confirmed that the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine do not contain any components of animal origin.

Are new strains resistant to the vaccine?

Are new strains resistant to the vaccine?

There is currently no evidence to suggest that the Pfizer/BioNTech or Astra/Oxford vaccine would not protect people against the new strain.

Further laboratory work is currently being undertaken as a priority to understand this.

Can pregnant women have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines?

Can pregnant women have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines?

The latest advice, from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is that the vaccine should be considered for pregnant women when their risk of exposure to the virus infection is high and cannot be avoided, or if the woman has underlying conditions that place her at a very high risk of complications of Covid-19.

Women should discuss the benefits and risks of having the vaccine with their healthcare professional and reach a joint decision based on individual circumstances. Women who are breastfeeding can also be given the vaccine.

Does the Covid-19 vaccine affect fertility?

Does the Covid-19 vaccine affect fertility?

There is no evidence that the vaccine affects fertility.

Do I have to pay for the vaccine?

Do I have to pay for the vaccine?

The vaccine is only available free from the NHS. At no point will a patient be asked to pay.

Please be aware:

  • The NHS will never ask you for your bank account or card details.
  • The NHS will never ask you for your PIN or banking password.
  • The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.
  • The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving license, bills or pay slips.