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 3/09/21 to reflect the ongoing situation.
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. 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.
The vaccination programme is currently being delivered by the Primary Care Networks (PCNs) and community pharmacies in North East Lincolnshire.
Drop In Clinics
There are regular drop in clinics taking place which you can attend and walk in without needing to book an appointment. These clinics are offering different vaccines so please check you attend the correct clinic for the vaccine that you need.
To find out where and when these clinics are, please visit the COVID vaccine drop in clinics
Length of time required between your 1st and 2nd doses
Please do not turn up for your 2nd dose of the vaccine any earlier than 8 weeks since your first.
Who can get their COVID-19 vaccination?
Everyone over the age of 18 is being encouraged to have both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
16-17 year olds are currently being invited for a first dose of the COVID vaccine.
Vaccinating young people under 18
The NHS is inviting young people aged 16 and 17 to receive a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination, following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
The first dose will provide 80% protection against hospitalisation and protection could be even higher as younger people respond better to vaccines and some will have already had the COVID-19 infection, meaning they will have an even better response to a first dose.
The NHS will be inviting young people in this age group to receive their vaccination as soon as possible – you do not need to contact the NHS. Parental consent will not be required to be vaccinated and the vaccine they receive will be the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Further work on effectiveness and safety in this age group is being done before the JCVI provides further guidance on whether a second vaccine dose should be offered to healthy 16 to 17 year-olds later to increase the level of protection and contributetowards longer term protection.
The NHS will continue to offer two doses to young people aged 16 and 17 who are already eligible as they are at higher risk of serious COVID-19, or who are household contacts of individuals (adults or children) who are immunosuppressed.
Eligible children for vaccination
The following groups of children are also eligible, following previous JCVI advice:
- 12-15-year olds‘at risk’ with the underlying health conditions specified below:
- severe neuro-disabilities
- Down’s Syndrome
- underlying conditions resulting in immunosuppression
- those with profound and multiple learning disabilities, severe learning disabilities or who are on the learning disability register
- Children aged 12 years and older without underlying medical conditions who are household contacts of individuals (adults or children) who are immunosuppressed.
If your child aged 12 to 15 and is in one of the eligible groups, the NHS will contact you by early September to invite you to book appointments for them for the vaccination.
Booking online for your vaccination
You can book your vaccination appointment online by visiting www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or ringing 119 free of charge, between 7am and 11pm, seven days a week. British Sign Language, text relay and interpreter services are available.
Please come forward and make an appointment at a vaccination centre or community pharmacy-led service and get your 1st or 2nd vaccinations.
You can use the national booking system to book an appointment, however you must be registered with a GP, to be able to receive your COVID vaccination, so that records can be matched. No proof of address or immigration status is needed to register with your local GP.
Information for unpaid carers who are eligible
All eligible unpaid carers who are known to the health and social care system will be contacted by the NHS. 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
COVID-19 vaccination – A guide for adults is an external link to an updated leaflet that explains more about the vaccination, 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. You can access these by visiting the following external link COVID-19 vaccination: guide for adults - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
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 vaccination for those pregnant or breastfeeding
COVID-19 vaccines offer pregnant women the best protection against COVID-19 disease which can be serious in later pregnancy for some women.
The first dose of COVID-19 vaccine will give you good protection. You need the second dose to get longer lasting protection. You do not need to delay this second dose.
If you have already had a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine without suffering any serious side effects, you can have your second dose with the same vaccine when this is offered.
If your first dose was the AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine you should also consider the information in the COVID-19 vaccination and blood clotting leaflet.
There is no need to avoid pregnancy after COVID-19 vaccination. There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines have any effect on fertility or your chances of becoming pregnant.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that pregnant women should be offered COVID-19 vaccines at the same time as people of the same age or risk group. In the USA, around 90,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated mainly with Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and no safety concerns have been identified.
Evidence on COVID-19 vaccines is being continuously reviewed by the World Health Organization and the regulatory bodies in the UK, USA, Canada and Europe.
Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are the preferred vaccines for pregnant women of any age who are coming for their first dose.
Anyone who has already started vaccination and is offered a second dose whilst pregnant, should have a second dose with the same vaccine unless they had a serious side effect after the first dose. If your first dose was the AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine you should also consider the information in the COVID-19 vaccination and blood clotting leaflet.
You can read further information by visiting the following external link COVID-19 vaccination: a guide for all women of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
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
Vaccination during Ramadan
Many British Muslims may be invited to receive a vaccination whilst they are fasting during for Ramadan (12 April – 12 May 2021)
The British Islamic Medical Association has issued specific advice urging Muslims observing Ramadan not to delay getting the vaccine, drawing on analysis from Islamic scholars which says that injections for non-nutritional purposes do not invalidate the fast.
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.
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.
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.
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
Blood clotting concerns after vaccine
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 shortly after the frst 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.
For further information please read the patient information leaflet on the Government vaccination pages COVID-19 vaccination and blood clotting – patient guide
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.
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