COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs
Everything you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccine
We've gathered together information from NHS and Government sources to help answer any questions you might have or might be asked about the COVID-19 vaccination.
This information will next be reviewed on 16/04/21 to reflect the ongoing situation with COVID vaccinations.
The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and vaccination gives you the best protection against coronavirus. Vaccination is free and available to everyone through the NHS and is being administered through the UK’s coronavirus vaccination programme.
The NHS will never ask you to share bank details to confirm your identity or pay for a vaccine. When it is your turn you will be contacted by your GP and offered an appointment. Please stay alert to any potential scams in texts, emails or phone calls that ask you to follow links and provide personal details to access a COVID vaccine. Any attempts to gain money for an offer of a vaccination should be reported to the police.
Vaccination delivery in North East Lincolnshire
The vaccination programme is currently being delivered by the Primary Care Networks (PCNs) at four local vaccination centres in North East Lincolnshire. Health and social care workers are also being vaccinated, primarily from the hospital hub to enable them to safely continue delivering vital care.
There are vaccination centres at four primary care centres which house a number of GP practices. These are:
- Open Door, Albion Street in Grimsby
- Beacon Medical Centre in Cleethorpes
- The Roxton Practice in Immingham
- Scartho Medical Centre in Scartho
These sites also host ‘roving’ vaccination teams that will vaccinate people within care homes and people who are housebound. Any home visits will be arranged by the NHS prior to the appointment and people should not accept any door-to-door offers of vaccination.
Community pharmacies are also delivering the COVID-19 vaccine and people can book an appointment through the national vaccination booking system at three local pharmacies:
- Birkwood Pharmacy
- Cottingham Pharmacy
- Drugs4Delivery (Acorn Business Park - Grimsby)
People will receive a letter from the NHS, offering those eligible individuals the opportunity to book and have their vaccine at these pharmacies.
How to get your COVID-19 vaccination
Currently those people at risk of serious illness from coronavirus in the priority groups are being offered the COVID-19 vaccine. This covers the groups below.
- people aged 50 and over
- people who are at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable)
- people who are at moderate risk from coronavirus (clinically vulnerable)
- people who live or work in care homes
- health and social care workers
- people with a learning disability
- people who are a main carer for someone at high risk from coronavirus
You may already have been contacted by your own practice or somebody working on their behalf to offer you an appointment at one of the local designated primary care centres. They are currently working through the eligible cohorts.
Local people may also receive a letter or a text from the National NHS Vaccination Booking Service offering them to book their vaccine with the national system at a nearby vaccination centre or community pharmacy. If you have not already got an appointment, you can book in this way if you wish to.
Texts from the NHS will be sent from 'NHSvaccine' and will include a link to the nhs.uk website and will give you the option to call 119. Be alert to scam texts - the NHS will not ask you for bank details and payment for the vaccine.
If you receive a letter/text from the NHS to book with the national system and you have already had your vaccination, or you already have an appointment booked at a local primary care centre, then please ignore the letter. Please ensure that you keep any appointments that you have already booked.
Information for unpaid carers who are now eligible
All eligible unpaid carers who are known to the health and social care system will be contacted by the NHS when it’s their turn to receive the vaccine. Unpaid carers over the age of 18 who are not registered with their GP or already known to health and care services can self refer themselves and will need to complete a short application process to determine if you are eligible to book your vaccination appointment. Find out more information on this - COVID vaccinations for unpaid carers
Booking online for your vaccination
You do not need to wait to be contacted by the NHS and can book your vaccination appointments online if you are one of the eligible groups listed above.
If you have not had your first dose of the vaccine, please come forward and make an appointment at a vaccination centre or community pharmacy-led service. You can use the national booking system to book an appointment without needing a letter, however you must be registered with a GP, so that records can be matched.
Book an appointment by visiting www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination, and choose a time slot and location that suits you. If you can’t book online, you can call 119 free of charge, between 7am and 11pm, seven days a week. British Sign Language, text relay and interpreter services are available.
People can also choose to wait to be invited by the local GP led vaccination service. GP practices will be following up with any of their registered patients in these groups who haven't been vaccinated and working to ensure housebound patients are protected.
Please make sure you are registered with your local GP to be able to receive your COVID vaccination; no proof of address or immigration status is needed.
Information in different languages from our GPs
An important COVID message about vaccination has been filmed in multiple languages to encourage vaccine confidence across our region's cultually diverse range of commnities and ensure everyone has the opportunity to hear and understand factual information about the vaccine. Find a language - COVID vaccination in multiple languages
COVID vaccine ingredients
The approved COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any animal products or egg. There are no pork products such as porcine gelatine inside the vaccine and they should be acceptable to most faith communities.
On the following video, celebrities Adil Ray OBE, Meera Syal, Moeen Ali and others from the BAME community have come together to bust some of the myths about the COVID-19 vaccine. Please watch, it answers so many questions.
The British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) recommends both the Oxford AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for eligible at risk individuals in Muslim communities. Read the BIMA’s full COVID-19 Vaccine Hub Statements
A detailed review of the vaccines and their ingredients are provided by the MHRA
COVID vaccine safety and effectiveness
The UK vaccination programme has been very successful with more than 30 million people vaccinated and more than 6,000 lives already saved.
There are currently 3 approved COVID-19 vaccines in use - Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna.
Recommended immunisation requires 2 doses to provide longer-lasting protection and these vaccines have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
To be approved the vaccines must go through all the clinical trials and international safety checks for licensed medicines.
The approved vaccines have been shown to be effective in clinical trials and offer high levels of protection, with a good safety record.
Recently there have been reports of a very rare condition involving blood clots and unusual bleeding after vaccination. This is being carefully reviewed but the risk factors for this condition are not yet clear.
Although this condition remains extremely rare there appears to be a higher risk in people who have had the first dose of the AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine. Around 4 people develop this condition for every million doses of AZ vaccine doses given.
This is seen slightly more often in younger people and tends to occur between 4 days and 2 weeks following vaccination.
This condition can also occur naturally, and clotting problems are a common complication of COVID-19 infection. An increased risk has not yet been seen after other COVID-19 vaccines but is being carefully monitored.
Please visit the Government vaccination pages to find out more COVID-19 vaccination and blood clotting - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
There is no evidence currently that the new strains of the virus will be resistant to the vaccine we have, so we are continuing to vaccinate people as normal. Scientists are looking now in detail at the characteristics of the virus in relation to the vaccine. Viruses, such as the winter flu virus, often branch into different strains but these small variations rarely render vaccines ineffective.
Vaccine approval for COVID-19 vaccines
All vaccines are extensively tested before they are introduced, and these COVID-19 vaccines are no exception. The clinical trials that have been carried out are as large as they normally would be, but they have just been done in a much more compressed time frame.
Thousands of people have had the vaccine in a short space of time and if there is any suggestion of a safety problem, they would never be approved by the MHRA, the official UK regulator.
Vaccines are highly regulated products and there are checks at every stage in the development and manufacturing process, as well as continued monitoring even after they have been authorised and are being used.
All vaccines cause some kind of side effects, but those are usually mild and commonly seen with most vaccines. This maybe a sore arm, a temperature, feeling a bit flu-like and this should usually pass after a few days. There is no concern that any of these vaccines cause anything more serious.
Another COVID-19 vaccine, developed by Moderna, will be available in the coming months, following recent approval from the MHRA. This means that a greater number of people at risk can be vaccinated, protecting them from the virus and the NHS from further strain.
Safety for those pregnant or breastfeeding
There is no evidence the COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe if you are pregnant and you can have the vaccine if you are breastfeeding.
More evidence is needed before you can be routinely offered the vaccine and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises that if you are pregnant you may be able to get the vaccine if you:
- are at high risk of getting coronavirus because of where you work.
- have a health condition that means you are at high risk of serious complications of coronavirus.
Pregnant women should speak to a healthcare professional before having the vaccination to discuss the benefits and risks in more detail.
Visit the following external weblink for the latest COVID-19 vaccine advice if you are pregnant, may become pregnant or are breastfeeding.
Protection from coronavirus and risk of transmission
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 provide longer lasting protection. This second dose will be given roughly 12 weeks after the first and full protection kicks in around a week or two after the second dose.
In most cases the vaccine will prevent you from suffering the serious health issues that COVID-19 causes and enable your immune system to fight the virus. The COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you by teaching your immune system how to create antibodies that protect you from the virus without having to experience sickness.
It is much safer for your immune system to learn this through vaccination than by catching the virus and once your immune system knows how to fight a disease, it can often protect you for many years.
Even after having the vaccine, there is a chance you might still get COVID-19 if you have not built up the full immunity before coming into contact with the virus. You may also be able to pass the virus on to others and continue to spread coronavirus.
As the NHS vaccination programme continues to administer the vaccine, more is being learnt about the level of immunity people will have and the potential for transmission following vaccination.
With the risk of transmission remaining within the community, it is important for people to continue to follow social distancing guidance and government restrictions even after receiving their vaccine, to ensure the safety of the wider population.
Side effects and allergic reactions
The MHRA report that no significant side effects have been observed in the people involved in trials for the vaccines and most side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are mild and should not last longer than a week.
These can include a sore arm, tiredness, a headache, feeling achy and feeling or being sick. If you experience any of these, they can be managed using painkillers, such as paracetamol.
If you have a high temperature following the vaccination you may have already caught coronavirus prior to getting the vaccine, although it is more likely that you are experiencing a short term and harmless reaction to the vaccine which will clear up after a day or two.
If you show signs of COVID then you must get a test as soon as possible and self-isolate to protect others. If the symptoms experienced get worse or if you are worried please call 111.
Serious allergic reactions to vaccines are rare and usually happen only minutes after having the vaccine, and staff are trained to deal with and treat them immediately. You will be screened for allergies prior as with any vaccination you receive.
Please tell NHS staff when you are offered the vaccine if you have ever had a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to the following, as you should not have the vaccine if you have had an allergic reaction to:
- a previous vaccine
- a previous dose of the same COVID-19 vaccine
- some medicines, household products or cosmetics
Vaccination programme of eligible and priority groups
The order in which patients are being prioritised and offered the vaccine has been determined by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
These eligible groups include those deemed to be at the greatest risk from COVID-19, such as individuals over 80, care home staff and residents and frontline health and social care workers.
The vaccination programme will take time and people will be contacted over the coming weeks and months. The NHS will let you know when it is your turn to have the vaccine so please be patient.
There is no need to contact your GP as you will be contacted, and an appointment offered to you. No one will be excluded from the vaccination programme.
Eligible groups should have the vaccine when it is offered to them. The vaccine will be offered to people in age order as follows.
- aged over 80 years
- aged over 75 years
- aged over 70 years
- adults on the NHS shielded patient list (clinically extremely vulnerable)
- aged over 65 years
- adults 18 - 65 years with long term conditions
- aged over 60 years
- aged over 55 years
- and lastly adults aged over 50
At the same time as the adults under 65 years with long term conditions the vaccine will also be offered to:
- adults who provide regular care for an elderly or disabled person
- younger adults in long stay nursing and residential settings
Please be patient. Everyone will have the opportunity to be vaccinated and when more vaccine becomes available it will be offered to more age groups of the population extending beyond those listed above.
COVID-19 vaccination – A guide for adults is an external link to a leaflet that explains more about the vaccination and provides the list of long term conditions mentioned above, plus what to do after your first dose of the vaccine.
Leaflets are available in a number of languages including Somali, Polish, Hindi, Punjabi and Bengali as well as a British Sign Language video and an Easy Read leaflet.
Easing pressure on NHS services - people need to be patient
Many of us will need to wait for the vaccine as the NHS manage and carry out the vaccination programme as instructed to do so. The vaccines are currently being offered to those at highest risk of catching the virus and of suffering serious complications or dying from COVID-19. These are the people who are more likely to require treatment in hospital and put pressure on NHS services.
When more vaccine becomes available, they will be offered to other people in younger age groups as soon as possible. Vaccines will be offered in a range of settings and the majority of people will be asked to attend their nearest local vaccination centre.
Due to some of the vaccine having to be stored in a very low temperature freezer, and staff aiming to use as much of the vaccines available and reduce wastage, people need to be willing to travel to the nearest available venue.
Any vaccines that the NHS will provide throughout the vaccination programme will have been approved, be highly effective and offer a high level of protection from coronavirus. The vaccines people are offered will be appropriate for them and people should be assured that whatever vaccine they are given will be worthwhile and of benefit to their health.
Please visit the following external link COVID-19 vaccination: Why you are being asked to wait to read a leaflet providing information about COVID-19 eligibility and vaccine supplies. Available in a number of languages including Somali, Polish, Hindi, Punjabi and Bengali.
Everyone needs the COVID-19 vaccination
As the vaccination programme works through the age groups in turn more people under the age of 50 will be contacted. Many people of these younger age groups will consider themselves fit and healthy with no long term health concerns and may question why they need to have the vaccine.
The COVID-19 vaccination is intended to protect the population from the serious life-threatening health issues of coronavirus and stop the spread of the virus and save lives. To achieve this outcome it requires everyone to get the vaccine and avoid transmission and future outbreaks as much as possible.
Getting the vaccine is just as much about protecting others you come into contact with as it is about protecting yourself. There is no way to know exactly how COVID-19 will affect you and if you do get sick, you could then spread the virus to friends and family.
Having a vaccine benefits the whole community and if enough people are vaccinated, it is harder for the coronavirus to spread to those people who cannot have vaccines, such as people who are ill or have a weakened immune system.
Have the vaccine even if you have had COVID
Getting COVID-19 may offer some natural protection, known as immunity and current evidence suggests that reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection.
However, experts do not know for sure how long this protection lasts, and the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity. It is more preferrable to have the vaccination rather than risk getting the virus and the potential serious health complications.
The Government guidance on washing your hands, covering your face and keeping your space from people is still to be adhered to alongside getting your vaccination, to ensure all precautions are being taken.
Continue to follow Government guidelines after vaccination
Results from the clinical trials and studies suggest that the vaccines are highly effective, but are not 100% and it is possible that you could still get COVID-19 after having been vaccinated. It would just be to a lesser degree in terms of severe symptoms and health complications than if you had not been vaccinated.
It is therefore very important that we continue to take measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus in our communities even after we have been vaccinated. People may still catch the virus and be able to pass it onto someone else.
The advice for everyone is to continue to wash your hands, wear a face covering, and keep your distance, and to follow any national or local guidelines in place.
For more advice please visit the following external link Coronavirus COVID-19 Guidance – What you can and cannot do