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COVID-19 vaccination Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do you have a question about the Covid-19 vaccination procedure? Want to find information about bookings, what happens on the day and more? 

To download a summary of these FAQs, click here.

If you are a student in Higher Education, please see these click here.

If you are a child or young person you can find information on the Department of Health website. Click here.

For more detail, please visit the most appropriate section of the questions below

Covid-19 FAQ sections 

To read the patient information leaflets, please click here (https://www.frimleyhealthandcare.org.uk/living-here/ Covid-19-vaccination/patient-information-materials/)

Why is it important to get your COVID-19 vaccination?

Getting your Covid-19 vaccination as soon as you can, should protect you and may help to protect your family and those you care for.

The Covid-19 vaccine should help reduce the rates of serious illness and save lives and will therefore reduce pressure on the NHS and social care services.

If you’re a frontline health or social care worker, you are more likely to be exposed to Covid-19 at work.

Is the vaccine safe?

Yes. The NHS will not offer any COVID-19 vaccinations to the public until experts have confirmed they are safe.  

The MHRA, the official UK regulator, has said that the vaccines currently provided – Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca - and the newly approved vaccine – Moderna - are very safe and highly effective, and we have full confidence in their expert judgement and processes.

As with any medicine, vaccines are highly regulated products. There are checks at every stage in the development and manufacturing process, and continued monitoring once they have been authorised and are being administered to the public.

My child is between the age of 12 and 16. How can I get them vaccinated against covid-19?

Updated JCVI guidance published on 19 July advised children and young people aged 12 years and over with specific underlying health conditions that put them at risk of serious COVID-19 or who are household contacts of persons (adults or children) who are immunosuppressed, should be offered two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination.

These children and young people will receive a call from the GP surgery with an invitation for vaccination. Please note, local vaccination centres cannot vaccinate anyone under the age of 16. 

I work in a care home. What do I need to know about getting vaccinated?

New government regulations1 come into force on 11 November 2021, requiring care home staff to refuse entry to anybody who cannot provide evidence that they have had two doses of a Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) approved COVID-19 vaccine, or that they come within a specified exemption.

This applies to all Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulated care homes providing nursing or personal care in England.

Please see the full range of questions answered here.

I am 16 years old. How can I get vaccinated?

Since the JCVI announcement that 16 and 17 year olds can be vaccinated against covid-19, we have put all necessary procedures in place to enable us to deliver this safely.

We are offering Covid-19 vaccinations for all 16 and 17 year olds, with the Pfizer vaccine at all walk-in sites across the Frimley Health and Care system so visit our Walk-in vaccination clinics page to see which sites are open and when. 

I am worried about getting my AstraZeneca vaccine – should I be?

Recently there have been reports of an extremely rare condition involving the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots. As a precautionary measure while this is being carefully reviewed, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has now advised that it is preferable for adults aged under 30, who don’t have underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease, to be offered an alternative vaccine when it is their turn to be vaccinated.

For those in this age group who have had already their first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and had no adverse reactions, they should still come forward for their second dose when invited.

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 people in older age groups, the JCVI has stated that the benefits of prompt vaccination with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine far outweigh the risks.

Can I be vaccinated with the moderna vaccine?

People cannot choose which vaccine they receive. All available vaccines have to be approved by passing the Medicines & Healthcare Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) tests on safety and efficacy. So, people should be assured that whatever vaccine they get, it will be highly effective and protect them from coronavirus. There have now been small-scale deliveries of the Moderna vaccine in a limited number of sites across the country. Frimley Health and Care ICS has not received any of this vaccine as yet, but all staff are undergoing necessary training to ensure we can start using this vaccine once it arrives.

To find out more about the vaccines approved in the UK, see:

How many people have been vaccinated so far?

Figures for the total numbers of people who have been vaccinated in the UK and across our region are updated regularly and can be seen here: https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/details/healthcare.

How effective is the Covid-19 vaccine?

The first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine should give you good protection from coronavirus. But you need to have the two doses of the vaccine to give you longer lasting protection.

A recent study from Public Health England found that vaccine effectiveness against the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant first identified in India, is similar after 2 doses when compared to the Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant first identified in Kent; we expect to see even higher levels of effectiveness against hospitalisation and death.

This means, with two doses of the covid-19 vaccine, you are much less likely to get serious Covid-19 or to be hospitalised - two doses offers you the maximum protection and is the best way to protect you and your loved ones.

It may take a week or two for your body to build up some protection from the first dose of vaccine. Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective, so you should continue to take recommended precautions to avoid infection. Some people may still get Covid-19 despite having a vaccination, but this should be less severe.​

This means it is important to:
• continue to follow social distancing guidance
• wear a mask where you cant
• keep washing hands for 20 seconds
• meet outdoors where possible  

How were the vaccines developed so quickly?

Medicines including vaccines are highly regulated – and that is no different for the approved Covid-19 vaccines. There a number of enablers that have made this ground-breaking medical advancement possible and why it was possible to develop them relatively quickly compared to other medicines;

  1. The different phases of the clinical trial were delivered to overlap instead of run sequentially which sped up the clinical process;
  2. There was a rolling assessment of data packages as soon as they were available so experts at the MHRA could review as the trial was being delivered, ask questions along the way and request extra information as needed – as opposed to getting all information at the end of a trial;
  3. Clinical trials managed to recruit people very quickly as a global effort meant thousands of people were willing to volunteer.

Is one vaccine better than the other – can I choose?

People cannot choose which vaccine they receive. All available vaccines have to be approved by passing the Medicines & Healthcare Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) tests on safety and efficacy. So, people should be assured that whatever vaccine they get, it will be highly effective and protect them from coronavirus.

Can I catch coronavirus from the vaccine?

You cannot catch coronavirus from the vaccine, but it is possible to have caught it and not realise until after your vaccine appointment. If you have any symptoms you need to stay at home and arrange to have a test.

Can I catch Covid-19 after being vaccinated?

Having the vaccine greatly reduces the risk of catching Coronavirus which is great news. However, it may take a few weeks for the vaccine to get working in your system so it’s very important to follow guidance to ensure you don’t catch the virus whilst your body is still vulnerable.

Once you have immunity, your risk of catching the virus is greatly reduced but you could potentially still spread the infection to others which is why it’s very important to still wash your hands often, make space with others and wear a face covering if you can when in a busy area.

You may still also catch Covid-19, but having two doses means that you are much less likely to get seriously unwell with Covid-19 or to be hospitalised - two doses offers you the maximum protection and is the best way to protect you and your loved ones.

Do vaccines work? 

Will the vaccines work with the new strains?

There is no evidence currently that the new strains will be resistant to the vaccines we have, so we are continuing to vaccinate people as normal.

A recent study from PHE found that vaccine effectiveness against the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant first identified in India, is similar after 2 doses when compared to the Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant first identified in Kent; we expect to see even higher levels of effectiveness against hospitalisation and death.

This means, you are much less liely to get seriously unwell from Covid-19 or to be hospitalised if you’ve been vaccinated, and two doses offers you the maximum protection.

Scientists are looking in detail at the characteristics of the virus in relation to the vaccines. Viruses, such as the winter flu virus, often branch into different strains but these small variations rarely render vaccines ineffective.

How long after I have had the vaccine will I start being protected from coronavirus?

Full protection kicks in around a week or two after you have had the second dose of the vaccine.

Even when you’ve been vaccinated, you should still follow all the nationally recommended precautions to avoid getting Covid infection.

How long will I be protected from coronavirus after the vaccine?

We don't know this information right now but over time this will become clearer.

What happens if a person has the first jab but not the second?

All the vaccines currently being used in the UK need two doses for maximum protection. We would urge everyone to show up for both of their appointments for their own protection as well as to ensure we don’t waste vaccines or the time of NHS staff.

How does the vaccine work?

The vaccine works by making a protein from the virus that is important for creating protection.

The protein works in the same way they do for other vaccines by stimulating the immune system to make antibodies and cells to fight the infection.

Is the vaccine vegan/vegetarian friendly?

Yes, the Covid-19 vaccine does not contain any meat derivatives or porcine products.

If, and when, further vaccines are approved we will publish information about known allergens or ingredients that are important for certain faiths, cultures and beliefs.

Does the vaccine include any parts from foetal or animal origin?

No. There is no material of foetal or animal origin in either vaccine. All ingredients are published in healthcare information on the MHRA’s website.

Where can I find the ingredients of the vaccines?

For the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulatory-approval-of-pfizer-biontech-vaccine-for- Covid-19

For the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulatory-approval-of- Covid-19-vaccine-astrazeneca

For Moderna vaccine, information is available Patient Information Leaflet for COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

What is the evidence to show the vaccine is safe for BAME communities?

The Public Assessment Reports contain all the scientific information about the trials and information on trial participants.

For the Pfizer trial, participants included 9.6% black/African, 26.1% Hispanic/Latino and 3.4% Asian.

For the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine 10.1% of trial recipients were Black and 3.5% Asian.

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

What is being done to encourage those disproportionately affected by covid-19 to take up the vaccine? 

We understand that some communities have specific concerns and may be more hesitant in taking the vaccine than others. The NHS is working collaboratively with partners to ensure vaccine messages reach as diverse an audience as possible and are tailored to meet their needs.

This includes engagement with community and faith-led groups, charities and other voluntary organisations.

Were the vaccines tested on high risk groups?

For both vaccines trial participants included a range of those from various ages, immune-compromised and those with underlying health conditions and both found the efficacy of the vaccine translates through all the subgroups.

Details of trial participants for both vaccines are published online.

For the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulatory-approval-of-pfizer-biontech-vaccine-for- Covid-19

For the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulatory-approval-of- Covid-19-vaccine-astrazeneca

Can the vaccine alter your genetic material?

There is no evidence to suggest that individual genetic material will undergo an alteration after receiving the vaccine.

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.

Should people who have already had  Covid or are suffering from ‘Long Covid’ get vaccinated?

Yes, if they are in a priority group identified by JCVI. The MHRA have looked at this and decided that getting vaccinated is just as important for those who have already had Covid-19 as it is for those who haven’t, including those who have mild residual symptoms. Where people are suffering significant ongoing complications from Covid they should discuss whether or not to have a vaccine now with a clinician.

Should I have the vaccine if I am isolating following showing symptoms?

If you are unwell, it is better to wait until you have recovered to have your vaccine, but you should try to have it as soon as possible. You must not attend a vaccine appointment if you are self-isolating, waiting for a coronavirus test or unsure if you are fully recovered.

I want to start a family soon. Can I still take the vaccine?

There is no evidence that the vaccine affects fertility. Most people who contract Covid-19 will develop antibody to the spike and there is no evidence of fertility problems after Covid-19 disease.

  • Watch our video with senior clinicians talking about the Covid-19 vaccine, fertility and pregnancy here 

Alternatively, read the information below:

www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/coronavirus-pregnancy/ Covid-19-virus-infection-and-pregnancy

www.rcog.org.uk/en/news/RCOG-and-RCM-respond-to-misinformation-around- Covid-19-vaccine-and-fertility

I am pregnant, can I get vaccinated against Covid-19?

If you're pregnant, you should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine when you're eligible for it. 

It's preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine because they've been more widely used during pregnancy in other countries and have not caused any safety issues. 

You can also have the COVID-19 vaccine if you're breastfeeding. 

Speak to a healthcare professional before you have the vaccination. They will discuss the benefits and risks with you. 

There's no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine has any effect on your chances of becoming pregnant. There's no need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination. 

The vaccine cannot give you or your baby COVID-19. 

Read the latest COVID-19 vaccine advice if you're pregnant, may get pregnant or breastfeeding on GOV.UK

Read the latest Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Royal College of Midwives statement on the COVID-19 vaccine and fertility here

Watch our video with senior clinicians talking about the Covid-19 vaccine, fertility and pregnancy here

Can children be vaccinated, especially those who have pre-existing clinical conditions?

Currently, Covid-19 vaccines are being offered to a very small number of 12-16yr olds with complex neurological conditions living in residential settings.

The MHRA has approved the use of Pfizer vaccine for children aged 12-15, but the current NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme is focusing on vaccinating adults, with the exception mentioned above. Any decision on vaccinating children will be informed by advice from JCVI and other clinical experts. A vaccine would only be used once it has been assessed as safe and effective for that age group, building on NHS’ vast experience of successful immunisation programmes for children. In the meantime, all eligible people should continue to get the vaccine as soon as they are offered it to protect themselves and their community and get their second dose as soon as it is available to them in order to get the best protection.

I am a student currently living away from university due to lockdown. How do I get a vaccine?

People aged 16yrs to 64yrs are eligible for a vaccine if they have certain underlying conditions e.g. diabetes or severe asthma. Students who are eligible are advised to register temporarily with a GP close to where they are currently living in order to be invited to a local vaccination site.

Does the vaccine work on those taking immune suppressants?

Although the vaccine was not tested on those with very serious immunological conditions, the vaccine has been proven to be very effective and it is unlikely that the vaccine will have no effect at all on these individuals.

There may be a very small number of people with very complex or severe immunological problems who can’t make any response at all – but the vaccine should not do any harm to these individuals. Individuals meeting these criteria may want to discuss the vaccine further with their specialist doctor.

Are there any side effects from the vaccine?

These are important details which the MHRA always consider when assessing candidate vaccines for use.

For these vaccines, like lots of others, they have identified that some people might feel slightly unwell, but they report that no significant side effects have been observed in the tens of thousands of people involved in trials.

All patients will be provided with information on the vaccine they have received, how to look out for any side effects, and what to do if they do occur, including reporting them to the MHRA.

More information on possible side effects can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus- Covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/

Are there any groups that shouldn’t have the vaccine?

People with history of a severe allergy to the ingredients of the vaccines should not be vaccinated. Clinicians will discuss this with people before vaccinating them.

How will you monitor safety? Are we using the yellow card system?

As will all vaccinations and medicines, patient safety is the NHS number one priority. Public Health England have robust systems in place to monitor surveillance and will be following incident reporting protocols in the usual way.

What about the allergic reactions that have been reported?

These vaccines are safe and effective for the vast majority of people – they have been tested on tens of thousands of people and assessed by experts.

Any person with a history of immediate-onset anaphylaxis to the ingredients contained in the vaccines should not receive them. A second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine should not be given to those who have experienced anaphylaxis to the first dose of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccination.

Everybody will also be screened for potential allergic reactions before getting vaccinated. All vaccinators will have the training they need to deal with any rare cases of adverse reactions, and all venues will be equipped to care for people who need it – just like with any other vaccine.

Has the guidance on allergies changed?

The original MHRA advice was that anybody with a known allergy to specific ingredients in the vaccine should not be vaccinated. This was temporarily widened but the guidance has now reverted to this.

Checking for allergies is a routine part of the process before giving any vaccine or new medicine. Having these conversations – as well as being able to deal with allergic reactions in the rare case they do happen, is a central part of training for vaccinators. But these are new vaccines and so the NHS and the MHRA are being extra vigilant and responding quickly to ensure everyone across the NHS is totally clear on these requirements.

Can I get a Covid-19 vaccination privately? 

No. Vaccinations are only available through the NHS. You can be contacted by the NHS, your employer, or a GP surgery local to you, to receive your vaccine. Remember, the vaccine is free of charge.

- The NHS will never ask you for your bank account or card details.

- The NHS will never ask you for your PIN or banking password.

- The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.

- The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.

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.

Can people book without their NHS number or if they aren’t registered with a GP?

While the NHS can only contact people for whom we have GP records, this doesn’t mean that people who don’t have an NHS number or aren’t registered with a GP won’t be able to get vaccinated.

Anyone can register with a GP, regardless of nationality, usual country of residence, or any other factor. You can register as a permanent resident or as a temporary resident and when you fall within one of the eligible vaccine cohorts, you should be invited to be vaccinated. 

It does help to be registered with a GP – as well as being invited for Covid-19 vaccinations, being registered also means you will be invited for other vaccinations and important health checks including for cancer or heart disease. Details of how to register with a GP are available at: www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/gps/how-to-register-with-a-gp-surgery/

Who can get the Covid-19 vaccine?

To see the latest groups being vaccinated, please click here

How will I be contacted?

To understand how you will be contacted for the vaccination, please click here

What information will I need to book?

You will need to provide your name, date of birth, postcode and ideally your NHS number, which will be included on your booking invitation. If you have lost your letter or don’t have your NHS number, you may need to provide the name and postcode/postcode of the GP practice you are registered with – in this circumstance you should use the phone booking service.

If you don’t know your NHS number, you can find out if you have one and what it is at: https://digital.nhs.uk/services/nhs-number

How is the service ensuring people don’t fraudulently book an appointment?

People will be asked to provide details of their identity at the time of booking, when they arrive for their appointment and before they are vaccinated.

I am having problems with the NHS Coronavirus Vaccination Booking System

  • If you are experiencing problems with the National Booking System website e.g. cancelled appointments; lack of booking reference number please call 119 in all instances.

Can I request reasonable adjustments to get my vaccine?

Even during the vaccination programme, requirements to make reasonable adjustments to care under the Equalities Act still apply. If you or the person you care for needs a reasonable adjustment in order to receive the Covid vaccination, then please make it clear when you are booking your appointment.

Reasonable adjustments could include having a back to back appointment for you and your carer so that you can vaccinated at the same time and/or having accessible information about the vaccination.

Is my GP giving Covid-19 vaccines?

GP practices are working together as Primary Care Networks to deliver the Covid-19 vaccination programme. This means that you could be invited to a venue that is not your own GP practice. This planning safeguards against vaccine waste ensuring that the numbers of people that each facility is able to see in one week, is in line with the stock they receive.

To see the full list of vaccination sites across the Frimley Health and Care Integrated Care System, please click here

What is a vaccination centre?

Now that more doses of Covid-19 vaccine are available, the NHS is able to open vaccination centres at sites such as Salt Hill in Slough and Epsom Racecourse which offer the physical space to deal with large numbers of people being vaccinated while maintaining social distancing. These sites are vaccinating people who have booked through the national booking system.

Please note:

  • Letters or text invitation for the vaccination centres are sent from the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service, to those in the priority cohorts, living within 45 minutes of a vaccination centres.
  • People can either book via the national booking service, or wait to be contacted by their GP.
  • People must book one appointment only. If two appointments are booked, people must cancel the appointment they are not going to attend, to avoid vaccine wastage and ensure we can reach as many people as we can as quickly as possible.
  • The NHS is inviting eligible people using a phased approach based on vaccine supply, so it is possible that where two eligible people are living in the same household, one may be contacted before the other. In such cases, people can wait and book at the same time if they wish.
  • The NHS will follow up with people who haven’t booked their appointment, as a reminder.

To see the full list of vaccination sites across the Frimley Health and Care Integrated Care System, please click here.

I have been invited to a vaccination centre but I can’t travel there. Can I wait to have my vaccine closer to home?

Vaccination centres have been setup in Slough as well as Epsom and Basingstoke. If you can travel, you are encouraged to have the vaccine as soon as you can. You will not miss out though if you do not want to go to the larger venues.

If you would rather have your vaccine closer to home, you don’t need to do anything. You can choose to wait to be contacted by your local GP services (likely in the next few weeks to book you in locally). Please don't contact them (if they haven't been in contact already, this will be soon).

Whichever site you attend for your first dose, you will need to go back to the same site for your second dose.

I’ve received an invitation for my vaccination but someone I live who is the same age hasn’t yet. Can we get vaccinated together?

The NHS is inviting eligible people in a phased basis as supplies of the vaccine allow. It is important that you wait for your letter from the NHS and you will not be able to book without one.

If you have received a letter and live with someone who is also eligible but has not received a letter, it is likely that theirs will follow shortly. If you like you can wait and book at the same time.

Can I get vaccinated at my local pharmacy?

In line with the national announcement, across the Frimley Health and Care ICS, Church Crookham pharmacy began vaccinating on 21 January.

The National Booking Service also handles bookings for pharmacy-led vaccination services, of which there are around 200 across the country. Only a small number of people don’t live within travelling distance of at least one of these services.

People who have received their invitation with details of the national booking system will be able to book their appointment at the pharmacy, or choose an alternative venue option that is closer to them. For more information, please click here.

What are the operating hours of the telephone booking system?

The telephone booking service will be open 16 hours a day (from 7am until 11pm), seven days a week. People will also be able to book online 24/7.

What should people do if they can’t get through to the phone line straight away?

At times, due to high demand, the phone line will get very busy, which may mean waiting on the line for a while or calling back later. People can alternatively book online.

If you need help to do this please ask someone in your support bubble. Please do try the phone line again as well. We aim to speak to people as quickly as we can.

Can I use the phone booking system if I don’t speak English well, or if I am deaf?

The phone line will have interpreters and a BSL facility available on request to help you book your appointments.

What happens with leftover doses at the end of the day?

Vaccination services are under strict instructions to keep the number of wasted doses to an absolute minimum. Any spare vaccines due to missed or unfilled appointments, or the ability to draw additional full doses from a vial, should be used wherever possible.

This is primarily done through each service operating a reserve list of eligible people – including health and social care workers, but also members of the public in the JCVI priority groups currently being vaccinated – who can be called at short notice to receive a dose where otherwise it might be wasted.

Does this mean people can turn up at vaccination services without an appointment?

No. People will still need to make an appointment in advance before going to any vaccination service. This is important because booking slots are carefully managed to allow for social distancing and the number of appointments is based on the supply available that day.

What if I book an appointment through the NHS website or 119 and I need to rearrange it?

If you need to rearrange an appointment that you booked through the NHS website, you can do this through the ‘manage your appointments’ section on the booking page.

If you booked through 119, you can also ring to rearrange your appointment.

If you can’t attend your appointment for any reason, please cancel or rearrange it so that the appointment slot can be given to someone else who needs it.

Can I still book if I previously had an appointment but didn’t attend or cancel it?

Yes. Only those who have had a vaccination recorded are marked on our system and are therefore unable to book again.

A letter came to my home but it was for someone else. Can I still use it to book an appointment?

No. You can only book an appointment if you are in one of the eligible groups here.

If you receive a letter for someone who does not live at your address anymore, please return to sender in the usual way so that our records can be updated.

What if I have I not been contacted by anyone about a vaccination?

You do not need to wait for your letter or text invitation if you are in one of these eligible groups. You can book your vaccination by clicking here.

Can people with a learning disability get the vaccine?

Yes. All adults who have a learning disability are now part of group 6 for Covid-19 vaccinations in line with the advice from the JCVI, and should be receiving their invitation for vaccinations.

We know not everyone with a learning disability is on their GP learning disability register.

If you are, or care for, someone who has a learning disability and are not sure that you or they are on the GP learning disability register then please contact your GP and talk to them about this. If you have recently been invited for an Annual Health Check or flu vaccination, you are probably already on the learning disability register.

If you think you are already on the register, it may take your GP a little while to contact you to invite you for your vaccination, so please be patient.

I'm a carer, will I be offered a COVID-19 vaccine?

You can get the COVID-19 vaccine if you are a main carer of someone at high risk from coronavirus and either:

You can book appointments at a larger vaccination centre or pharmacy now, or wait to be invited to go to a local NHS service.

Are young carers eligible for a vaccine?

Young carers aged 16 and 17 who are flagged on GP systems should also be prioritised for a vaccine. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is the only currently authorised vaccine under Regulation 174 which can be used for individuals aged 16 and 17.

I am a frontline health/social care worker – how can I get vaccinated?

All frontline health and social care workers are eligible for the Covid-19 vaccination regardless of whether they work in hospitals, people’s homes or another setting, and regardless of who employs them. Simply book your appointment here.

I’m a private healthcare provider (e.g. physiotherapist), when will I be able to get a vaccine?

All frontline health and social care workers are eligible for the Covid-19 vaccination regardless of whether they work in hospitals, people’s homes or another setting, and regardless of who employs them. Simply book your appointment here.

I am a key worker – can I get vaccinated?

There is good evidence that the risks of hospitalisation and critical care admission from Covid-19 increase with age, and that in occupations where the risk of exposure to SARS-CoV2 is potentially higher, persons of older age are also those at highest risk of severe outcomes from Covid-19. JCVI therefore advises that the offer of vaccination during phase 2 is age-based starting with the oldest adults first and proceeding in the following order:

  • all those aged 40 to 49 years
  • all those aged 30 to 39 years
  • all those aged 18 to 29 years
  • all under 29

For this reason, there are no occupation-based priorities within these specific cohorts. If you’re not in a priority group – even if you’ve mistakenly been able to book an appointment - we won’t be able to vaccinate you and you will be turned away. The complete guidance is here.

How did care home residents and housebound patients get their vaccine?

Across our Frimley Health and Care ICS, all older people care homes across the Frimley Health and Care ICS have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination and housebound patients would have been offered the vaccine through their GP services. We will continue to visit care homes when necessary to ensure that all staff and residents are protected with their second doses.

Do I need a second dose?

You’re much less likely to get serious Covid-19 or to be hospitalised if you’ve been vaccinated, and two doses offers you the maximum protection.

The first dose of both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine offer good levels of protection, but to get maximum protection from COVID-19, everyone will need a second dose. We are therefore urging people to come forward for their second dose of the vaccine when they are contacted or if they have an appointment booked.

When will my 2nd dose be?

On 14 May 2021, the JCVI recommended that the second dose interval be brought forward from 12 to 8 weeks for people in priority cohorts 1-9 who have yet to receive their second dose. Cohort 1-9 can be seen by clicking here (can we link to this diagram please). If you fall within cohort 1-9, please ensure you have your second appointment booked for 8 weeks time and that you attend it to be protected against covid-19.

I received my first dose at GP service – when and where is my second dose?

People who received their first dose through a GP service will be contacted to receive their second dose, if not booked already. If you are from cohort 1-9, and have not had your second dose appointment confirmed by your 7th week, please contact your GP surgery to let them know. 

Please ensure your second dose appointment is booked through the same service as your first.

I booked my 1st dose via the national booking system - when and where is my second dose?

People who booked their appointments through the national booking service (online at www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine or by ringing 119) will have booked both their first and second appointments at the same time. People who rang 119 will have been given details of their second appointment over the phone. People who booked online can remind themselves of the place and time of their second dose using the ‘manage my appointments’ section on www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination.

If you are from cohort 1-9, your second dose appointment will be brought forward to 8 weeks from your second.

Please ensure your second dose appointment is booked through the same service as your first.

What happens if a person has the first jab but not the second?

All vaccines that have been authorised have been done so, on the basis of two doses because the evidence from the clinical trials shows that this gives the maximum level of protection.

The evidence doesn’t show any risk to not having the second dose other than not being as protected as you otherwise would be. We would urge everyone to show up for both of their appointments for their own protection as well as to ensure we don’t waste vaccines or the time of NHS staff. If, you do not have your second dose appointment confirmed by your 7th week, please contact your GP surgery to let them know.

Why is the NHS using text messages to invite people for their vaccination appointment?

Text messages are already being used by local vaccination services. The NHS National Booking Service is trialling this approach to see whether it helps to reach eligible individuals and encourage them to book their appointment faster than the letters used so far, and whether receiving an invite in this way is preferable for those in younger age groups.

How does the national NHS know my mobile number?

The NHS has been using contact details – including addresses and now mobile phone numbers – given to us by patients and recorded in their GP patient record.

I share a mobile phone with others in my household – how do we know which of us is invited?

If you share a mobile phone with other adults then you can try to book online. If you are not eligible yet then the booking system will not let you book until you are.

You could also wait for your invite letter to arrive to be sure.

I’ve received a text message invite from my GP or local hospital, is this the same?

No. This service is in addition to the texts sent out by some local services.

If you have received a text message or any other kind of invite from another vaccination service and have booked an appointment, then please ignore the text messages.

I booked after receiving a text message but no letter came – does this mean I have fallen for a scam?

Not necessarily. If your text message came from ‘NHSvaccine’, included a link to the NHS.uk/ Covid-vaccination website and gave you the option of phoning 119, then it was genuine.

There are other reasons why you may not have received a letter, such as:

  • If you have moved recently and forgotten to update your GP practice records or register with a new one;
  • If your address is recorded incorrectly with your GP, or;
  • If the text message was from a local vaccination service.

If in doubt you can check with the organisation you think you have booked in with.

I’ve already had my first dose of the vaccine and have now received a text message from the NHS. Does this mean my dose wasn’t recorded properly? Can I use this to book my second dose?

In a small number of cases you might still receive a text message and a letter after recently receiving your first dose. This will be because there can be a few days lag between being vaccinated and your record being updated.

If you have already been vaccinated or have a vaccination booked, please ignore the message – there is nothing you need to do.

You will not be able to use this service to book your second dose – you should continue to wait to be invited back by the service where you got your first dose.

If you were vaccinated a long time ago and still received a text message, you may wish to get in contact with whichever service you received your vaccination at to ensure they recorded it properly.

How do I know this is a legitimate text?

You can trust your text message is genuine if it comes from ‘NHSvaccine’, includes a link to the NHS.uk website and gives you the option of phoning 119.

If you’re still unsure, you can wait for your letter to arrive – if the message was genuine your letter should be delivered a few days after.

Remember, the COVID-19 vaccine is free of charge on the NHS. The NHS will never ask for:

  • your bank account or card details
  • your pin or banking password
  • copies of personal documents to prove your identity such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips

If you think you have been a victim of fraud or identify theft, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

I received a text but someone else in my household who is in the same age group didn’t. Can they book?

Not everyone will receive a text message, because we don’t have everyone’s mobile phone number from their GP patient record, and in some cases the mobile phone numbers we do have will be out of date.

If someone is in an eligible group and doesn’t receive a text, it’s probably for this reason, and they should receive a letter very soon.

I received this text message but I am not in an eligible group and the booking website wouldn’t let me book – why?

The NHS can only send text messages to people who are eligible based on the information provided in their GP patient records.

In a small number of cases, it might be the case that the mobile number we have for someone has lapsed and has since been recycled and allocated to you.

Alternatively someone with a similar number who is eligible may have entered their number incorrectly on their GP record.

If you are being vaccinated at the Lakeside Vaccination Service, watch our video for more information Lakeside Covid-19 Vaccination Centre - YouTube

What happens when I go for my Covid-19 vaccine appointment?

There will be a team on hand to make your appointment visit run as smoothly as possible. If you need any reasonable adjustments you need to tell the person when you make your appointment.

There are a few things you can do to help us:

  • Please try to arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. If you do arrive early, please stay safe in your car until it is time for your appointment to help maintain social distancing measures. It is also cold at this time of year, so please wrap up warm.
  • Please wear your face covering.
  • If you need help with mobility please alert one of the staff and we will help support you and navigate you through the clinic.

When you arrive, volunteer marshals will show you where to go and you will be asked to sign in at a reception area.

Once you have had your vaccination, you will be required to wait for 15 minutes to ensure there are no adverse side effects. You must then leave the premises as soon as you are invited to do so.

Do I need my NHS number when I have my Covid-19 vaccine?

If you have your NHS number to hand, then bring it along with you to your appointment as it is helpful. You can find your NHS number on any correspondence from the NHS or via the NHS app.

Can I bring someone with me to my appointment?

If you need to bring someone along to your appointment then you can.

However, to slow the spread of the virus we want to minimise how many people are travelling to the site, so please only do this if it’s essential.

For instance, if you come by car, the person you come with could wait for you in the car, if you don’t need them to be with you for your appointment.

I don’t have a date for my second vaccination yet

If you fall within cohort 1-9, please ensure you have your second appointment booked for 8 weeks time and that you attend it to be protected against covid-19.

For everyone else, please contact the provider who administered your first dose, for your second dose appointment by week eleven.

Can I hug my friends and family now I am vaccinated?

Hands – face – space: it still applies – now is not the time to be complacent

  • It may take a week or two for your body to build up some protection from the first dose of vaccine
  • While the person vaccinated may be protected, they may still be able to pass the virus onto others

It is really important that while restrictions are in place, that everyone adheres to them. We must continue to wash our hands regularly for 20 seconds, wear a face covering indoors and maintain social distancing.

Now more than ever, we need to focus on the long-term goals and reduce community transmission of the coronavirus.

I don’t have a date for my second vaccination yet

If you don't have your second dose appointment date yet, please be patient. You will be contacted to arrange your appointment, but this may not happen until around ten to eleven weeks after your first appointment.