Covid-19 vaccine FAQs
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 16 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)
- people who have a learning disability
If you are eligible, your GP practice will contact you to attend at your local vaccination service or you can book an appointment at a one of the larger Vaccination Centres which are located at the Artrix Theatre in Bromsgrove, Knights Pharmacy in Redditch, St Peters Baptist Church in Worcester, Three Counties Showground in Malvern or Elgar House in Hereford via www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by calling 119.
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.
The NHS is now texting eligible patients, these texts will come from 'NHSvaccine' and are genuine. The NHS will never ask for payment details.
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 or become eligible.
In what order are patients being prioritised?
The full prioritisation list can be found here and is as follows (in order of priority):
- Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
- All those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
- All those 75 years of age and over
- All those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
- All those 65 years of age and over.
- All individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
- All those 60 years of age and over
- All those 55 years of age and over
- All those 50 years of age and over
There appears to be a lot of confusion about unpaid carers. Do I need to show that I am an unpaid carer to get my vaccine, and am I eligible?
There are a number of existing sources that the NHS and the local authorities are using to identify unpaid carers.
These include those in receipt of or entitled to a carer’s allowance; those known to GPs who have a carer’s flag on their primary care record; those known to the council who are in receipt of support following a carer’s assessment; and those known to local carers organisations to be actively receiving care and support.
If you are known to us, you should have been contacted by either your local GP practice and offered an appointment or received a letter and have booked at one of the larger Vaccination centres. We would advise you to take you letter with you when attending the larger Vaccination sites.
If you are an unpaid carer and are not known to the NHS or to the council, you will need contact to contact your GP practice, explain why you are the primary carer and ask for a carer’s flag to be put on your record.
You will then be able to have the vaccination either by calling 119, visiting www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by being invited to attend one of the GP sites.
Are parents of children who have disabilities also eligible for the vaccination?
Parents or foster carers who look after children who are clinically vulnerable to Covid-19, such as children with severe neuro-disabilities or children who are designated clinically extremely vulnerable, are eligible for a vaccination.
I have changed my mind and would now like to be vaccinated. Is this still possible?
Yes, if you are eligible. Please visit www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or call 119.
I haven’t got my appointment for my second vaccine. Do I need to call the national booking service?
Please only call the national booking service if you received your first vaccination at one of the Vaccination Centres listed above.
If you went to one of the GP sites or your practice, you will be contacted when it is your turn to get that second vaccination.
Why do I need to have a second dose? I only ever get one dose when I get the flu vaccination. Is the vaccine effective if I have only one dose?
Both vaccinations that are being used at the moment require two doses to be the most effective.
While a single dose of the vaccine does provide a level of protection from the effects of Covid-19, a second dose promotes a greater immune response and is important to ensure strong protection.
We would encourage all patients to attend for their second dose when offered an appointment.
What happens if I am unable to attend my second dose appointment?
It is advised that the second dose is given no later than 12 weeks after the first, but it can be safely given later.
We ask everyone to attend the appointment slot booked for them but if this is not possible then please contact the relevant team. If your appointment is at a Vaccination Centre please cancel your appointment online via www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by calling 119, if you appointment is at a Vaccination Service (arranged by your GP surgery), please contact your GP practice.
Do I have to have the same vaccine for my second dose as I did for the first?
Yes, all sites are working hard to ensure that all patients receive their second dose and that they get the same vaccine for both the first and second doses.
We are working really hard behind the scenes to make sure this will happen, which includes managing supplies of the vaccine to make sure that everyone gets a second dose.
Do I have to pay for the vaccine?
No, the Covid-19 vaccination is free and is only available on the NHS.
If you are offered or see the vaccine being advertised anywhere as something you can pay for, it will be a scam and you should not follow it up.
At no point will you be asked to pay, asked for your bank account or card details, asked for your PIN or banking password or asked to send any personal documents.
The NHS will also never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.
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:
- Continue to follow social distancing guidance social distancing guidance
- Wearing a face mask and remembering hands, face, space
What vaccines are available?
The University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna vaccine are now available across the UK.
Which vaccine is better/more effective?
Both Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna 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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
The MHRA has confirmed that the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine do not contain any components of animal origin.
Are new strains resistant to the vaccine?
There is currently no evidence to suggest that the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna 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 vaccine?
There have been no specific safety concerns identified with any brand of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines in relation to pregnancy.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises that it’s preferable for pregnant women in the UK to be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines where available. There is no evidence to suggest that other vaccines are unsafe for pregnant women, but more research is needed.
The advice, published in Public Health England’s Green Book, a clinical professional guide for vaccinators in the UK, still advises that pregnant women should discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with their clinician, including the latest evidence on safety and which vaccines they should receive.
More information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/jcvi-issues-new-advice-on-covid-19-vaccination-for-pregnant-women
Does the Covid-19 vaccine affect fertility?
There is no evidence that the vaccine affects fertility.