The NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Programme

The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination programme has substantially reduced the risk from severe Covid-19 in the UK. It's safe, effective and gives you the best protection against coronavirus.

More information at Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine - NHS (www.nhs.uk)


Information for the public on the vaccination programme in NW London

Latest update on Booster and 12-15 year old vaccines

This winter, the NHS will be providing covid booster vaccines to certain groups.  Booster jabs will start being offered from 22 September and more information on booking will be available soon. 12-15 year olds will be offered a single dose vaccine through their school.

There is a guide for 12 to 15 year olds that gives detailed information about the vaccine. You can translate this page into a number of different languages. 

More information on the booster campaign


COVID-19 vaccines are available for:

  • children aged 12 to 15, providing they have consent (this age group will be vaccinated in schools unless electively home educated)
  • everyone aged 16 or over (Currently over 70% of young people aged 18-29 in England have had their first dose of the vaccine.)
  • some children aged 12 to 15 who have a higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 or who live with someone at high risk of catching it
  • people aged 16 and over (available for walk-in appointments only at one of our vaccination centres)
  • people who are over 18 or within three months from their 18th birthday - can also book via the national booking system
  • People who are double-jabbed or are under 18 are no longer legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-`9 case.


Getting your vaccination

In North West London there are large vaccine centres where you can book a vaccine or just walk-in and get a vaccine. There are also several community vaccination centres around North West London, to make it easier for people to get to. Visit the full list of vaccine centres and vaccine availability here.

You can also book a vaccination through the NHS National booking service.

You are asked to bring proof of age, your name and address and your NHS number if you have it.


Covid-19 vaccine: frequently asked questions about pregnancy and women's health?

There are some useful videos available that help answer some of the questions that those who are pregnant may have.

This document provides answers to some of the most frequently asked questions around the COVID-19 vaccine,  pregnancy, fertility and women’s health for a general public audience. It is updated regularly and new information is highlighted in yellow. Download the document.

Pregnancy and the Pfizer vaccine?

The Pfizer vaccine has been recommended for women who are pregnant. In NW London if you're aged over 18 you can book an appointment or walk-in to one of our large vaccination centres, they are all now offering the Pfizer vaccine - Location details can be found here


Having your second vaccine

It is important that you have both doses of your vaccine.

The first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine offers a high level of protection, but to get longer-lasting protection everyone will need to get a second dose.

It is important that you come back for your second jab when you are contacted, or if you have an appointment booked.

You will have two doses of the same vaccine.

If you had your first vaccine at a hospital hub or through a local GP service, you will be contacted about your second dose. 

If you booked your first vaccine online through nhs.uk, using a walk-in service or by calling 119 - please book your second vaccine 48 hours after your first by calling 119 or going to www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination

You can now book your second vaccine at eight weeks through the national booking system.

We are also trying to offer people their second vaccine as soon as possible, this may mean you are contacted and invited in for your second dose earlier than you expected. 

Some walk-in slots are also available for second vaccines - please look here for availability.


The vaccine and fertility

Alot of younger people are asking questions about the vaccine and fertility. 

This document provides answers to some of the most frequently asked questions around the COVID-19 vaccine and fertility and pregnancy for a general public audience.


Alternative vaccine for under 40s

An information leaflet on covid-19 vaccination for under 40s is available to download here.


 

Frequently Asked Questions

This document provides answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccines. The FAQ topics covered are as follows:

 

Coronavirus


What is Covid-19

 

Covid-19 is caused by a new coronavirus. It is very infectious and can lead to severe respiratory disease.

 

Many people who are infected may not have any symptoms or only have mild symptoms. These commonly start with a cough, fever, headache and loss of taste or smell.

 

Some people will feel very tired, have aching muscles, diarrhoea and vomiting, fever and confusion. 

 

A small number of people then go on to have severe disease which may mean they are admitted to hospital.

 

For more information, please see the gov.uk website.

 

About the Covid-19 vaccine

 

Vaccine development

What COVID-19 vaccines are currently available?

 

The Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines have been approved for use in the UK and are now available. The Moderna vaccine has also been approved for use and is expected to be available by Spring 2021.

 

Any coronavirus vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through.

 

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.

 

Currently the Joint Committee for Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) has advised that it is preferable for people under 40 to have a vaccine other than Oxford/AstraZeneca. If you choose to have another COVID-19 vaccine you may have to wait to be protected. You may wish to go ahead with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccination after you have considered all the risks and benefits for you.


How do the Covid-19 vaccines work? 


Vaccines teach your immune system how to create antibodies that protect you from diseases.

 

It's much safer for your immune system to learn this through vaccination than by catching the diseases and treating them.

 

Once your immune system knows how to fight a disease, it can often protect you for many years.

 

More information on how vaccines work and why they are important is available on the NHS website.

 

How were these vaccines developed so quickly when it usually takes so long? 

 

The vaccines have been developed and trialled in the same way as other medicines and vaccines available in the UK but there are a number of reasons why they have been developed quickly compared to other medicines.
 

This includes:

  • The different phases of the vaccine trial were run at the same time, rather than one after the other, which sped up the clinical process.
  • The data from the trials was shared with the MHRA as soon as it was available, rather than waiting until the end.
  • Funding for all of the trials was available at every stage, so there were no delays often caused by seeking funding to continue.
  • Thousands of people were recruited to take part in the clinical trial very quickly, as it was a global effort and many people wanted to volunteer.

 

What is the difference between the vaccines that have been approved?

 

The vaccines that have been approved for use are classed as highly effective, even from just the first dose.

 

After one dose, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been estimated to offer 89% effectiveness from two weeks after it is given. The Oxford/AstraZeneca has been estimated to offer 74% effectiveness from two weeks after it is given.

 

Clinical trials showed the Moderna vaccine was 94% effective after two doses.

 

It is important to note that all vaccines approved for use in the UK are highly effective and offer the best protection against coronavirus.

 

Currently the Joint Committee for Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) has advised that it is preferable for people under 40 to have a vaccine other than Oxford/AstraZeneca. 

 

What’s going on with the Oxford/Astra Zeneca 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 who have had the Oxford/Astra Zeneca (AZ) vaccine. Just over 10 people develop this condition after their first dose for every million doses of AZ vaccine doses given. The vast majority of events have been reported following the first dose and only a very small number after the second dose. 

 

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.

 

Currently the JCVI has advised that it is preferable for people under 40 to have a vaccine other than AZ. If you choose to have another COVID-19 vaccine you may have to wait to be protected. You may wish to go ahead with the AZ vaccination after you have considered all the risks and benefits for you.

 

This decision was based on the current low levels of circulation of COVID-19, the availability of alternative vaccines to AZ and general strength of the vaccination programme.

 

You can read more about the situation and the benefits vs risks of getting the vaccine here.

 

 

Vaccines trials

Who have the vaccines been trialled on? 

 

Both vaccines approved for use in the UK have been trialled on a variety of people from different backgrounds. This includes men and women of various ages and ethnicities, and those with underlying health conditions.


Further information on the vaccine trials can be found here:

 


Were the vaccines trialled on different ethnic groups? 

 

Yes, all vaccines that are approved for use in the UK have been trialled on people from a variety of different ethnic groups.

 

Out of the participants in the phase 3 Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine trial, 58% were White, 26% Hispanic/Latino, 10% Black, 5% Asian and 1% Native American.

 

Out of the participants in the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine trial, the 75.5% of recipients were White,10.1% were Black and 3.5% were Asian.

 

Out of the participants in the Moderna vaccine trial, 19.7% were Hispanic or Latino, and 9.7% were African American.

 

There is no evidence either of the vaccines will work differently in different ethnic groups. 

 

Further information on the vaccine trial can be found here:

 

Priority groups  
 

Why aren’t BAME groups being prioritised?  

Although there is clear evidence that some BAME groups have higher rates of Covid-19 infection and are at greater risk of serious illness and death, there is no strong evidence to suggest that this is due to ethnicity (by itself) or genetics.

 

Certain health conditions mean that some people are at higher risk of serious illness or death due to Covid-19, and some of these health conditions are more common in certain BAME groups.

 

By prioritising the vaccination of those most at risk, people from BAME communities with certain underlying health conditions will be invited to receive their vaccine.

 

For further information on priority groups, please see the Joint Committee for Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) statement on the gov.uk website.

Covid-19 vaccine – eligibility

When will I receive the vaccine?

 

All adults (those 18 and over) are now eligible for a vaccine and can book an appointment.  The order in which people will be offered the vaccine is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

 

The NHS.uk website includes an up-to-date list of who is eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine. Please visit nhs.uk/covid-vaccination

 

The vaccine will be offered to people aged 16 years and over. The NHS will let you know when it's your turn to have the vaccine. It's important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then.

 

The latest Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice on priority groups for the Covid-19 vaccine can be found on the gov.uk website.

 

Currently JCVI has advised that it is preferable for people under 40 to have a vaccine other than AZ. If you choose to have another COVID-19 vaccine you may have to wait to be protected. You may wish to go ahead with the AZ vaccination after you have considered all the risks and benefits for you.

 

Do I have to pay for the Covid-19 vaccine?

 

No, the Covid-19 vaccine is free and is available through the NHS to eligible groups.

 

The NHS will never ask you to pay for your vaccine, share any bank details/passwords or any documents such as a passport or driver’s license.

 

If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you believe you have been the victim of fraud or identity theft you should report this directly to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. Where the victim is vulnerable, and particularly if you are worried that someone has or might come to your house, report it to the police online or by calling 101.

 

If I’ve already had Covid do I still need to get vaccinated?   

 

Yes, you should still get vaccinated when you are eligible even if you have had Covid.

 

When will children be vaccinated?

 

The JCVI has now advised that children and young people aged 12 years and over with specific underlying health conditions that put them at risk of serious COVID-19, should be offered a COVID-19 vaccination. In addition, children and young people aged 12 years and over who are household contacts of persons (adults or children) who are immunosuppressed should be offered COVID-19 vaccination, on the understanding that the main benefits from vaccination are related to the potential for indirect protection of their household contact who is immunosuppressed.

 

The NHS in London is developing plans to deliver vaccines to eligible 12-15 year olds and local NHS organisations will invite you in when you it’s your turn if you are in this age category.

 

I’m suffering from ‘Long Covid’ should I get vaccinated?

 

If you are suffering from ‘Long Covid’ and you are eligible for a vaccination, you can get your vaccination. 

 

However, if you are still under active investigation, if your condition has recently got worse, you might considering getting it at a later date.  This is so any changes in condition can be correctly attributed to either long covid or the vaccine.   If this situation applies to you, please discuss this with your GP or another healthcare professional who will be able to advise you on whether or not to get the vaccine.

 

Should I get the vaccine if I have underlying health conditions?

 

All people who are in the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable group and all those who have underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease or mortality are eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine. Whether you are offered the vaccine as part of these groups may depend on the severity of your condition. Your GP can advise on this.  A full list can be found on the gov.uk website.

 

If you've ever had a serious allergic reaction, you should tell healthcare staff before you are vaccinated.

You should not have the COVID-19 vaccine if you have ever had a serious allergic reaction (including anaphylaxis) to:

 

  • a previous dose of the same vaccine
  • any of the ingredients in the vaccine

 

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.

 

Currently JCVI has advised that it is preferable for people under 40 to have a vaccine other than AZ. If you choose to have another COVID-19 vaccine you may have to wait to be protected. You may wish to go ahead with the AZ vaccination after you have considered all the risks and benefits for you.  This follows 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.

 

You can read more about the situation and the benefits vs risks of getting the vaccine here.

 

How do I get a vaccine? If I’m vulnerable will the vaccine be brought to me?

 

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 local vaccination centres run by GPs and at larger vaccination centres. More centres are opening all the time.

 

The NHS will contact you and invite you to book an appointment when it is your turn. You may receive a phone call, text message or letter from your GP practice or local NHS service. You may receive a letter from the NHS to book online or over the phone at a vaccination centre.

 

If you are vulnerable, the NHS is putting plans in place to ensure people who are eligible get the vaccine safely. If you are a care home resident or you cannot leave home, this will involve someone from your local vaccination service coming to you.

 

The latest Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice on priority groups for the Covid-19 vaccine can be found on the gov.uk website.

 

I’m not registered with a GP, how will I be contacted?

Anyone in England can register with a GP surgery and see a primary care doctor or nurse for free. You do not need proof of address or immigration status.

 

While registration with a GP is encouraged to access the vaccine, you can get the vaccine at a local walk-in vaccination clinic without being registered or needing to provide proof of address, immigration status, ID or an NHS number. Local NHS and council teams are publicising walk-in vaccination clinics on their websites, social media channels and in local media, so please check back regularly.

 

Overseas visitors to England, including anyone living in the UK without permission, will not be charged for vaccination for COVID-19, and immigration checks are not needed to receive the vaccination.

 

For information on how to register with a GP, please visit www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/gps/how-to-register-with-a-gp-surgery/. You can usually contact them online or by phone.

 

I’m healthy, do I need to get vaccinated?

 

Even if you are healthy you should get vaccinated. It gives you the best protection against coronavirus.

Vaccinated people are far less likely to get COVID-19 with symptoms and pass it on to others and are even more unlikely to get serious COVID-19, to be admitted to hospital, or to die from it.  

 

Even if you are younger, you can still get seriously ill from Covid, including longer lasting symptoms from 'Long Covid' like severe fatigue.

 

Early research is showing that Long Covid – where COVID-19 can cause symptoms that last weeks or months after the infection has gone – affects both younger and older people.  The chances of having long-term symptoms does not seem to be linked to how ill you are when you first get COVID-19.

 

Getting vaccinated will help us all get life back to normal by reducing the spread of the virus and protecting your family and friends.

 

You can see a table comparing the benefits and risks of vaccination vs the risk COVID-19 here.

 

Currently JCVI has advised that it is preferable for people under 40 to have a vaccine other than Oxford/AstraZeneca. If you choose to have another COVID-19 vaccine you may have to wait to be protected. You may wish to go ahead with the AZ vaccination after you have considered all the risks and benefits for you.

 

Is the vaccine compulsory?

The government has announced that anyone working in a CQC-registered care home in England for residents requiring nursing or personal care must have 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, unless they have a medical exemption.  The decision follows public consultation with staff, providers, residents and families. 

Further consultation will be launched on whether to extend this decision to other health and social care settings.

 

The law should take effect from October, subject to Parliamentary approval and a 16-week grace period.  It will apply to all workers employed directly by the care home or care home provider (on a full-time or part-time basis), those employed by an agency and deployed by the care home, and volunteers deployed in the care home.

 

You can read more about the decision here.

 

I’m pregnant, should I get vaccinated?

 

There's no evidence the COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe if you're pregnant. The vaccine cannot give you or your baby COVID-19, but more evidence is needed before you can routinely be offered it.

 

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

 

Pregnant women can now book through the national booking service and will be directed to vaccination centres offering Pfizer and Moderna in their local area in line with JCVI Guidance.

 

You can also speak to your GP practice or maternity service if you have any questions about the coronavirus vaccine, or you can talk to a healthcare professional at your appointment.

 

The latest Covid-19 vaccine advice if you’re pregnant can be found on the gov.uk website.

 

Currently JCVI has advised that it is preferable for people under 40 to have a vaccine other than Oxford/AstraZeneca. If you choose to have another COVID-19 vaccine you may have to wait to be protected. You may wish to go ahead with the AZ vaccination after you have considered all the risks and benefits for you.


I’m breastfeeding, should I get vaccinated?


Although there is no data on the safety of Covid-19 vaccines in breastfeeding or breastfed infants, the vaccines are not thought to be a risk to breastfeeding infants.

 

The JCVI has recommended the vaccine can be received whilst breastfeeding. This is also recommended by the World Health Organisation.

 

The latest Covid-19 vaccine advice if you are breastfeeding can be found on the gov.uk website.

 

Currently JCVI has advised that it is preferable for people under 40 to have a vaccine other than Oxford/AstraZeneca. If you choose to have another COVID-19 vaccine you may have to wait to be protected. You may wish to go ahead with the AZ vaccination after you have considered all the risks and benefits for you.

 

We have developed a Q&A specific to fertility and pregnancy, which you can see here.

 

I’m trying for a baby, should I get vaccinated?

 

There is no evidence to suggest that Covid-19 vaccines will affect fertility and you do not need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination. The vaccine cannot give you or your baby Covid-19.

 

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the Royal College Midwives (RCM) issued a joint statement to provide reassurance around the misinformation that has been shared about the impact of Covid-19 vaccines on fertility. You can read the full statement here.

 

Currently JCVI has advised that it is preferable for people under 40 to have a vaccine other than Oxford/AstraZeneca. If you choose to have another COVID-19 vaccine you may have to wait to be protected. You may wish to go ahead with the AZ vaccination after you have considered all the risks and benefits for you.

 

We have developed a Q&A specific to fertility and pregnancy, which you can see here.

Covid-19 vaccine – timing

Why is there such a long gap between the first and second vaccine?

 

The UK Chief Medical Officers have agreed a longer timeframe between first and second doses so that more people can get their first dose quickly, and because the evidence shows that one dose still offers a high level of protection after two weeks.

 

This decision will help us save lives by getting the maximum benefit for the most people in the shortest possible time.

 

Getting both doses remains important so we would urge people to return for it at the right time.

 

For further information, please see the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s statement on prioritising the first does.

Covid-19 vaccine safety

How do I know the vaccines are safe?

 

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.

 

The vaccines were trialled in the same way as other medicines and vaccines available in the UK. The COVID-19 vaccine trials involved tens of thousands of people from a range of backgrounds to ensure that they are safe for everyone.

 

So far, millions 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.

 

For more information, please see the NHS.uk website.

 

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 AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine. Just over 10 people develop this condition for every million doses of AZ vaccine doses given. The vast majority of events have been reported following the first dose and only a very small number after the second dose. 

 

Currently the JCVI has advised that it is preferable for people under 40 to have a vaccine other than AZ. If you choose to have another COVID-19 vaccine you may have to wait to be protected. You may wish to go ahead with the AZ vaccination after you have considered all the risks and benefits for you.

 

This decision was based on the current low levels of circulation of COVID-19, the availability of alternative vaccines to AZ and general strength of the vaccination programme.

 

You can read more about the situation and the benefits vs risks of getting the vaccine here.

 

Can having the Covid-19 vaccine give me Covid?

 

You cannot catch Covid-19 from the vaccine but it is possible to have caught Covid and not develop the symptoms until after your vaccination appointment.

 

The most important symptoms of Covid-19 are recent onset of any of the following:

 

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell.

If you have the symptoms above, stay at home and arrange to have a test. If you need more information on symptoms visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-COVID-19/symptoms
 

Have people died from the vaccine?

 

So far, millions 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.

 

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is continuing to monitor reports of adverse reactions.

 

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. Just over 10 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.

 

Currently JCVI has advised that it is preferable for people under 40 to have a vaccine other than AZ. If you choose to have another COVID-19 vaccine you may have to wait to be protected. You may wish to go ahead with the AZ vaccination after you have considered all the risks and benefits for you.

 

Further information on adverse reactions can be found on the gov.uk website.

 

Can I choose which vaccine I have?  

 

You will not be able to choose which vaccine you have. However, all the vaccines have been approved for use which means they are safe and effective.

 

Currently JCVI has advised that it is preferable for people under 40 to have a vaccine other than Oxford/AstraZeneca. If you choose to have another COVID-19 vaccine you may have to wait to be protected. You may wish to go ahead with the AZ vaccination after you have considered all the risks and benefits for you.

 

Is it safe to have the AstraZeneca Covid-19 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 who have had the AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine. Just over 10 people develop this condition after their first dose for every million doses of AZ vaccine doses given.  The vast majority of events have been reported following the first dose and only a very small number after the second dose. 

 

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.

 

Currently the JCVI has advised that it is preferable for people under 40 to have a vaccine other than AZ. If you choose to have another COVID-19 vaccine you may have to wait to be protected. You may wish to go ahead with the AZ vaccination after you have considered all the risks and benefits for you.

 

This decision was based on the current low levels of circulation of COVID-19, the availability of alternative vaccines to AZ and general strength of the vaccination programme.

 

You can read more about the situation and the benefits vs risks of getting the vaccine here.

Covid-19 vaccine side-effects


 Are there any side effects?  

 

Most side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are mild and should not last longer than a few days, 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.

 

Although a mild fever can occur within a day or two of vaccination, if you have any other Covid symptoms (new continuous cough or loss of/change in your normal sense of taste or smell) or your fever lasts longer, stay at home and arrange to have a test.

 

If your symptoms get worse or you are worried, call 111

 

Recently there have been reports of a very rare condition involving blood clots and unusual bleeding after vaccination with the Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine. 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 four people develop this condition for every million doses of AZ vaccine doses given.

 

Further information on side-effects for the vaccines approved for use in the UK can be found on the gov.uk website:

 

More about COVID-19 vaccination and blood clotting can be found here

Covid-19 vaccine effectiveness

How long after I have a vaccine until I am protected?

 

The MHRA have said these vaccines are highly effective even with just the first dose, but to get full protection people need to come back for the second dose – this is really important.  

 

Full protection kicks in around a week or two after that second dose. There is a small chance you might still get coronavirus or pass it on even if you have the vaccine.

So even if you have received a vaccine you still need to follow social distancing and other guidance. 

What happens if I have my first jab but not my second?  

 

It is important to get both doses of the coronavirus vaccine, as evidence from clinical trials shows this gives people the maximum level of protection.

 

Although the vaccines give you the majority of your protection from around two weeks after the first dose, it is still really important to get your second booster dose.

 

If you have already had a first dose of Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine without suffering any serious side effects, you should complete the course. This includes people aged 18 to 29 years who are health and social care workers, unpaid carers and family members of those who are immunosuppressed.


Will the vaccines work with the new strains?

 

There is currently no evidence that the new strains will be resistant to the vaccines we have. Viruses, such as the winter flu virus, often develop into new strains, but these new strains rarely make vaccines completely ineffective. This is being continually monitored.

 

The British Medical Journal has said that all UK-approved vaccines are effective against the most common new strains, however stress that they are most effective after the second dose.


You can read about this in more detail here

 

Once I’ve had my vaccine how long will it be effective for? 

 

It is expected that the vaccine will be effective for at least a year. This will continually be monitored.

 

Can I still pass on Covid-19 to others after having the vaccine?

 

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

For further information, please see the gov.uk website.

Covid-19 vaccine ingredients


What ingredients are in the vaccines?
  

 

Vaccines only contain ingredients that are essential to make them safe and effective. Any ingredients with potential to cause harm, for example, an allergic reaction, are listed even if present in such small amounts.

 

The vaccine ingredients for both vaccines approved in the UK can be found here:

 

Do the vaccines contain any animal or meat products? 

 

The approved Covid-19 vaccines do not contain any animal, meat or egg products.

The vaccine ingredients for all vaccines approved in the UK can be found here:

Do the vaccines contain any materials from foetal origins?

 

No. There is no material of foetal origin in either vaccine. 

The vaccine ingredients for all vaccines approved in the UK can be found here:

Do the vaccines contain any alcohol?

 

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine does not contain any alcohol. The Oxford/AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines contains a very small amount of alcohol (ethanol), which is less than what is found in natural foods or bread. This is not enough to cause any noticeable effects.

 

The vaccine ingredients for both vaccines approved in the UK can be found here:

 

Can the vaccines alter your genetic material? 

 

There is no evidence to suggest that vaccines alter your genetic material.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine uses mRNA technology. This teaches our cells to make protein that triggers a protective immune response. The mRNA is broken down soon after it enters the body. mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, where our DNA is kept.

 

Further information about the vaccines approved for use in the UK can be found here:

Vaccine hesitancy

I am not sure what stance faith leaders hold on these vaccinations.

 

The Covid-19 vaccines that have been approved for use in the UK have been endorsed by numerous faith leaders.

 

Some examples of support include the British Islamic Medical Association, which has consulted various experts about both the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and has advised that eligible, at-risk individuals in the Muslim community should receive the vaccine.

 

The Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, has also issued a video explaining that is important to have the Covid-19 vaccine to protect yourself and others around you.

 

The Sikh Council have urged Sikhs to safeguard themselves against rumours and misinformation and encouraged them to follow government guidelines and advice.

 

Faith leaders from the Church of England, Anglican, Methodist, Salvation Army, Baptist, Pentecostal, Evangelical and black majority churches have pledged their support to the ‘Give Hope’ campaign which aims to share information about the Covid-19 vaccine and dispel any misinformation.

 

Further information:

 

  • The position statements from the British Islamic Medical Council on vaccines approved for use in the UK can be found here: Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca Moderna
  • A video of the Chief Rabbi can be viewed here.
  • Information on the Give Hope campaign can be found here.

My family are saying they won’t get vaccinated, what should I do?

 

People are advised to make their own choice based on the information and facts from NHS and government organisations.

 

Certain health conditions mean that some people are at higher risk of serious illness or death due to Covid-19, and some of these health conditions are more common in certain BAME groups.

 

There is more of a risk of becoming seriously ill from Covid-19 than suffering an adverse reaction to the Covid-19 vaccine. Although not compulsory, the Covid-19 vaccine is safe and effective and it gives you the best protection against coronavirus.

 

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).

 

So far, millions 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.

 

For more information on the Covid-19 safety and effectiveness, see the NHS.uk website.

Second doses

I’ve had my first dose but don’t have a second appointment booked – how do I book it?

 

If you booked your appointment through the national booking service (online at www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine or by ringing 119), you should have booked both your first and second appointments at the same time.

 

If you don’t have a second appointment booked, go online to www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine or call 119 to arrange one as soon as you can.

 

You may also receive a call from the national booking service if you had your first dose at a vaccination centre or community pharmacy but have not got a second appointment booked yet.

 

If you had your first dose through your GP or a hospital hub, they will get in touch with you to arrange your second dose appointment. You do not need to contact the NHS.

I can’t attend my second appointment now – what do I do?

 

If you had your first dose at a vaccination centre or community pharmacy and now can’t attend your second appointment, you can cancel or change your appointment through the “manage appointments” section on the online national booking service at www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine, or by calling 119.

 

If you had your first dose through your GP or a hospital hub, call them directly to rearrange.

I missed my second appointment – can I rebook?

 

If you had your first dose at a vaccination centre or community pharmacy and were unable to attend your second appointment, rebook it online at www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine or by calling 119.

 

If you had your first dose through your GP or a hospital hub, call them directly to rearrange.

 

It is important you rebook your second dose appointment as soon as possible.

I need to change where I get my second dose – how do I do that?

 

If you booked your first dose online at www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine or by ringing 119 and you need to change where you get your second dose, you can manage your appointments on the online booking system or by calling 119.

Will I get the same type of vaccine for my second dose?

 

Yes, you will get the same vaccination for both doses. There is enough supply going to the right places to ensure that everyone can get their second dose of either Pfizer/BioNTech or Oxford/AstraZeneca.

 

Your GP or the national booking system, depending on how you booked your first appointment, will have a record of which vaccine you received at your first appointment. The place you receive your second dose will also check that you are receiving the same type of vaccine before you are vaccinated. It is useful to take your vaccination card with you on the day as a reminder, but it’s not essential.

I had Oxford/Astra Zeneca for my first vaccination but I’m worried about the side effects – can I have a different vaccine?

 

If you have already had a first dose of AZ vaccine without suffering any serious side effects, you should complete the course. This includes people aged 18 to 29 years who are health and social care workers, unpaid carers and family members of those who are immunosuppressed.

Do I need to take anything with me to my second dose appointment?

 

You don’t need to take anything with you, however your vaccine card can be a useful reminder of which vaccine you had at your first appointment, and can make the process smoother and quicker.

I’ve heard protection from one dose of vaccine is really good – why do I need the second?

 

The first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines offer good levels of protection, but to get maximum protection from COVID-19, everyone will need to get a second dose. Millions of people are now protected, and this has contributed to dramatic falls in infections, hospitalisations and deaths. 

Recent research shows that two doses is the best protection against the Delta variant on the virus. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 96% effective against hospitalisation after 2 doses and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is 92% effective against hospitalisation after 2 doses.

Another recent study from PHE found that vaccine effectiveness against the Delta variant is similar after two doses when compared to the Alpha variant.

The study found that, for the period from 5 April to 16 May: 

  • the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 88% effective against symptomatic disease from the Delta variant 2 weeks after the second dose, compared to 93% effectiveness against the Alpha variant 
  • 2 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were 60% effective against symptomatic disease from the Delta variant compared to 66% effectiveness against the Alpha variant 
  • both vaccines were 33% effective against symptomatic disease from Delta, 3 weeks after the first dose compared to around 50% effectiveness against the Alpha variant 

 

Videos

Dr Sahota explains about getting the Covid-19 vaccine and why vaccines are safe, effective and will save lives 

Dr MC Patel, a GP in Brent and Chair of Brent CCG, shares his experience of having the vaccination

How are COVID-19 vaccines being developed so quickly?

Dr Afsana Safa, a GP in Westminster, gives advice about the Covid-19 vaccine

Dr Rishi Chopra, a GP in Westminster, gives advice about the Covid-19 vaccine

Local residents share their views of the vaccination.

In this series of videos developed with heathwatch Hillingdon, residents share thier own personal experiences of having the vaccine.

 

Meera – English https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRHF9BxJn2A

Bengali: My COVID-19 Vaccine story - Meera (Bengali - বাংলা) - YouTubeMr Kaler - My COVID-19 Vaccine story - Mr. Kaler (Punjabi - ਪੰਜਾਬੀ) - YouTube

Mohamed - My COVID-19 Vaccine story - Mohamed (Gujarati - ગુજરાતી) - YouTube

 

Thank you to everyone for taking part and sharing.

 

Translations

Leaflets

  1. Covid-19 guide for older adults leaflets (translations, BSL and large print)
  2. What to expect after my COVID-19 vaccination leaflet (translations, BSL and large print)
  3. Covid-19 pregnancy leaflet (translations, BSL and large print) 

Videos

Vaccine information in community languages

NHS doctors, nurses and other frontline staff have come forward to help reassure communities that COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and have been independently tested to the highest standards.

NHS staff have recorded messages in some of the most commonly spoken languages – apart from English – in the capital to help ensure messages about the importance of getting a COVID-19 vaccine reach all Londoners.

They explain how the vaccine is given, and give clear evidence that the vaccines work and are safe. It is hoped that the videos will be shared among friends, families, faith and community groups via WhatsApp, text message and on social media. You can view the script in English and download the videos via the links below.

The languages the videos have been produced in are:

  • Arabic
  • Bengali
  • Gujarati
  • Igbo
  • Nepali
  • Polish
  • Punjabi
  • Romanian
  • Somali
  • Spanish
  • Swahili
  • Turkish
  • Urdu
  • Yoruba
  • More videos in additional languages are in development.

    Dr Mohammed Abdul-Latif, Clinical Oncology Registrar at North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust, speaking in Arabic. Download here.

     

    Tazmina Ahasan, Discharge Coordinator at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, speaking in Bengali. Download here.

     

    Sangita Patel, clinical lead for therapies at London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, speaking in Gujarati. Download here.

     

    Comfort Ekwueme, triage and assessment team leader at Tower Hamlet’s Community Services, East London NHS Foundation Trust, speaking in Igbo. Download here.

     

    Sumita Regmi, dementia specialist nurse at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Foundation Trust, speaking in Nepali. Download here.

     

    Kasia Kurkowiak-Jolley, apprentice nursing associate and Accident Department Assistant at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, speaking in Polish. Download here.

     

    Dr Harmandeep Singh, cardiology consultant at Ealing Hospital for London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, speaking in Punjabi. Download here.

     

    Stefania Vasilescu, Maternity Assistant at London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, speaking in Romanian. Download here.

     

    Dr Farah Bede, GP in Tower Hamlets, speaking in Somali. Download here.

     

    Lorena González, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist at East London NHS Foundation Trust, speaking in Spanish. Download here.

     

    Vivian Motana, Healthcare Assistant at Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Trust, speaking in Swahili. Download here.

     

    Dr Muhiddin Ozkor, consultant cardiologist and clinical director at North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust, speaking in Turkish. Download here.

     

    Dr Fharat Raja, consultant oncologist at North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust, speaking in Urdu. Download here.

     

    Temitope Akinfolarin, Administrator at East London NHS Foundation Trust, speaking in Yoruba. Download here.

  • Information on vaccine scams in South Asian languages

Dr Sahota explains about getting the Covid-19 vaccine and why vaccines are safe, effective and will save lives (Punjabi)

Dr Navin Thakrar, a GP in Hounslow, gives advice about the Covid-19 vaccine (Gujarati language)

Local GP practice shares advice about the Covid-19 vaccine (Sinhalese language)

Staff from the HESA Medical Centre share advice about the Covid-19 vaccine (English, Arabic, Farsi, Gujarati, Punjabi and Urdu languages)

Covid-19 vaccination video (Akan language with English subtitles) - Mabel Mensah

Vaccination centres

For details on the locations of the vaccination centres in NW London, visit the vaccination centres page.

Resources for schools