This FAQ section contains our questions related to COVID-19 Vaccine – Practical queries around getting the vaccine.
To navigate to a different section of the FAQs, or go back to the main page, click on any of the links below:
- Back to main COVID-19 Vaccination webpage
- FAQ section on Vaccine safety and components
- FAQ section on Vaccine efficacy/effectiveness
- FAQ section on Fertility, pregnancy and breastfeeding
- FAQ section on COVID-19 Vaccine coverage and eligibility
- FAQ section on Operational plans
Before my appointment
Getting your COVID-19 vaccination as soon as you are offered one 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.
When it is the right time you will receive an invitation to come forward. For most people in south east London this will be in the form of a letter, phone call or text message from the NHS or a call either from their GP, a local hospital or the national booking system. Whatever the method it will include all the information you need, including your NHS number.
If you are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, you can book your vaccine online at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by speaking to your GP surgery. We are also running pop-up clinics across south-east London – more information here.
See guidance on frontline health or social care workers, and the high and moderate risk categories here.
Unpaid carers can get the vaccine through their GP, and social care workers can book their vaccine through their employer or GP.
When you book your first dose you may be asked to book your second too. For most people this will be within three months of your first dose. The UK Chief Medical Officers have agreed this longer timeframe so that more people can get their first dose quickly, and because the evidence shows that one dose offers a high level of protection. Getting both doses remains important so we would urge people to return for it at the right time.
It is important to note that you may not necessarily receive your vaccine at your usual GP practice but could be asked to attend at another NHS site or vaccination centre.
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.
While the NHS will write to people based on their GP records, this doesn’t mean that if you don’t have an NHS number or aren’t registered with a GP you won’t be able to get vaccinated through the programme.
It does however help to be registered with a GP to help the NHS check for any reasons that someone might not be able to have a vaccine, and ensure there is a record that both doses of the vaccine have been had. Details of how to register with a GP are available at: www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/gps/how-to-register-with-a-gp-surgery
Anyone without a GP will be registered as a temporary patient.
No, you will be turned away. You 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.
If you are 70 or over or on the Shielded Patient List, then you it is likely that you have been contacted by the NHS already. If you haven’t, this could be for a number of reasons, but is most likely to be because you are not registered with a GP or have recently moved, and we therefore don’t have your correct contact information.
If you have never registered with a GP or haven’t been to a GP for a number of years, we would recommend speaking with your local practice about registering.
As well as getting access to Covid-19 vaccines, being registered with a GP also means you are invited to important health checks such as for cancer or heart disease, and can access care easier when you need it.
More information on registering with a GP is available at www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/gps/how-to-register-with-a-gp-surgery
You may already have an NHS number but just don’t know it. If you don’t know your NHS number, you can find out if you have one and what it is at: digital.nhs.uk/services/nhs-number
If you don’t have an NHS number this is likely to be because you are not registered with a GP. If this is the case, we would recommend speaking with your local practice about registering.
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 call them again 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.
Yes. Only those who have had a vaccination recorded are marked on our system and are therefore unable to book again.
Getting the vaccine
Yes. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine, or any other vaccine, is an important medical appointment and so is within the rules wherever you live. Vaccinations will continue as normal in all areas through the national lockdown and beyond. If you have booked or are offered an appointment, please attend it.
All vaccination sites are set up to will keep you safe from COVID-19 through a range of measures including cleaning and disinfecting and practicing safe social distancing.
Please also wear a face covering to your appointment. You should also take the usual steps to minimise your risk as you travel to your appointment and please only arrive 5 minutes before your appointment to avoid having to queue.
If you are housebound you will be contacted by your GP to be vaccinated at home. If you are not housebound, you can wait to be contacted by your GP or until more locations closer to where you live become available.
The NHS will follow up with you if you haven’t booked your appointment, as a reminder. Patients will be advised what to do if you need to change your appointment.
Practices must adhere to the guidance about giving the vaccine by priority groups because this is the approach backed up by scientific evidence.
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.
Any vaccines that are available will have been approved because they pass the MHRA’s rigorous tests on safety and efficacy, so you should be assured that whatever vaccine you get, it will be safe and effective.
The COVID-19 vaccine can help stop you getting seriously ill or dying from coronavirus. For people aged 30 or over and those with other health conditions, the benefits of being vaccinated outweigh any risks.
For people under 30 without other health conditions, it’s currently advised that it’s preferable to have another COVID-19 vaccine instead of the AstraZeneca vaccine. 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 AstraZeneca vaccination after you have considered all the risks and benefits for you.
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If you have a Pfizer vaccine as it contains some components that people may rarely on the rare occurrence have a reaction to and you will therefore be asked to wait in an observation area for a short period of time before leaving.
Even if you are healthy you should get vaccinated. There are no plans for a COVID-19 vaccine to be compulsory, but it gives you the best protection against coronavirus.
After my appointment
Yes, you should be able to resume activities that are normal for you as long as you feel well, and as far as national restrictions allow. If your arm is particularly sore, you may find heavy lifting difficult. If you feel unwell or very tired you should rest and avoid operating machinery or driving. Please read the detailed information available on NHS.UK.
You should be able to work as long as you feel well. If your arm is particularly sore, you may find heavy lifting difficult. If you feel unwell or very tired you should rest and avoid operating machinery or driving.
The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19 infection, and two doses will reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill. However, you will need to continue to follow the guidance in your workplace, including wearing the correct personal protection equipment and taking part in any screening programmes.
Plan to attend your second appointment. You should have a record card with your next appointment written on it, if not the NHS will be in contact within a few weeks to schedule your second dose which will be due at 12 weeks from the first.
It is important to have both doses of the same vaccine to give you the best protection. Keep your record card safe and make sure you keep your next appointment to get your second dose.
Although serious side effects are very rare, if you experience any of the following from around 4 days to 4 weeks after vaccination you should seek medical advice urgently:
– a new, severe headache which is not helped by painkillers or gets worse
– a headache which seems worse when lying down or bending over
– an unusual headache that may be accompanied by;
– blurred vision, nausea and vomiting
– difficulty with your speech
– weakness, drowsiness or seizures
– new, unexplained pinprick bruising or bleeding
– shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling or persistent abdominal pain
Yes, currently you will receive the same type for your second dose except in very exceptional circumstances. The vaccines offered will be appropriate for each person. This decision is based on clinical judgement supported by the advice of Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
If you have already had a first dose of AstraZeneca 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.
The COVID-19 vaccines are currently only delivered by an injection.
Like any other vaccine, there is a small chance you might still get coronavirus even if you have had a vaccine and you could potentially still be a carrier of the virus.
Therefore, it is still important to:
• continue to follow social distancing guidance and current restrictions.
• wear something that covers your nose and mouth in places where it’s hard to stay away from other people
Read more about why vaccines are safe and important, including how they work and what they contain.
If you experienced anaphylaxis reactions with the first dose of one brand of vaccine you may be offered another vaccine if advised by an allergy specialist. It is very rare for anyone to have a serious reaction to the vaccine (anaphylaxis). If this does happen, it usually happens within minutes of receiving the vaccine where trained clinical professionals are on hand to attend to you immediately.
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
After receiving your vaccine you will be asked to wait in an observation area for a period of time before leaving.
Further advice and information can be found here for Pfizer and here for AstraZeneca.
Unfortunately, this is not possible at this time.
The vaccines are not mandatory, so you could refuse the second jab. However, to get the best immunity the vaccine is delivered in two doses, so it would not be as effective if someone only has one dose.
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. The phone line will have interpreters and a BSL facility available on request to help you book your appointments. Leaflets can be downloaded in multiple languages.