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COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

Covid-19 Vaccination Programme
The NHS is continuing the delivery of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccination programme.
This short video, with local GP Dr Amit Sharma talks about the importance of getting your vaccination. 

Following extensive safety trials and authorisation by the independent regulator (the MHRA), effective COVID-19 vaccines are now available for free in the UK.

Vaccines approved to date for use in the UK:

  • Pfizer/BioNTech (Germany) vaccine: approved 2 December 2020
  • Oxford University and AstraZeneca (UK) vaccine: approved 30 December 2020
  • Moderna vaccine (US): approved 8 January 2021
  • Janssen (US): approved 28 May 2021 

Receiving your vaccine

  • The vaccine is given as an injection into your upper arm.
  • While the injection can be given very quickly, patients receiving the Pfizer vaccine must wait on site for 15 minutes afterwards to check they do not experience a severe reaction.
  • Patients are also urged not to arrive too early, to avoid queuing outside for too long.

Are there any known or anticipated side effects?

  • Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short-term, and not everyone gets them. Even if you do have symptoms after the first dose, you still need to have the second dose. You may not be protected until at least seven days after your second dose of the vaccine.
  • Common side effects include:
    • Having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection. This tends to be worst around 1-2 days after the vaccine
    • Feeling tired
    • Headache 
    • General aches, or mild flu like symptoms

Do the vaccines contain animal products?
No, none in any of the vaccines approved contain any components of animal origin.

I’m currently ill with COVID-19, can I get the vaccine?
People currently unwell and experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine until they have recovered.

Do people who have already had COVID-19 get vaccinated?
Yes, they should get vaccinated. There is no evidence of any safety concerns from vaccinating individuals with a past history of COVID-19 infection, or with detectable COVID-19 antibody.

I have had my flu vaccine, do I need the COVID-19 vaccine as well?
The flu vaccine does not protect you from COVID-19. As you are eligible for both vaccines you should have them both, but separated by at least seven days.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine protect me from flu?
No, the COVID-19 vaccine will not protect you against the flu. If you have been offered a flu vaccine, please try to have this as soon as possible to help protect you, your family and patients from flu this winter.

If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to get pregnant
23 April 2021: The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that pregnant women should now be offered COVID-19 vaccines at the same time as people of the same age or risk group. Further information is available here and on the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists website

Will the vaccine effect my fertility?
There is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines will affect fertility. Claims of any effect of COVID-19 vaccination on fertility are speculative and not supported by any data. There is no biologically plausible mechanism by which current vaccines would cause any impact to fertility.

Once you’ve had your vaccine:
Please remember that you must still stick to the social distancing and hands, face space rules as this will go a long way to preventing the spread of the virus.

More information

Patient information is available on the GOV.uk website:

  • Information for eligible adults on COVID-19 vaccination see here 
  • Information for people who have had their first COVID-19 vaccination see here
  • Help and advice for women of childbearing age who are currently pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding see here 
  • Link to ICS level vax data stats see here
  • Public Health England - Vaccination Guide - what to expect see here

Translated Materials

A British sign language video is also available here.

Easy read Covid leaflets

How do I find my NHS number?
If you are having difficulty locating your NHS number, you can find it using one of the two pathways below.

  • NHS App: This can be downloaded from the Play and Apple Stores. Once your account has been verified you will be able to access you record, including your NHS number.
  • NHS Correspondence: You will be able to find your NHS number on any letter or document you have received from the NHS, including prescriptions, test results, and hospital referral or appointment letters.

Please be aware of scams. The NHS will NEVER ask you for your bank details, personal passwords, or PIN numbers when offering you a COVID-19 vaccination appointment. Covid vaccinations are being provided free of charge.