This FAQ section contains our questions related to Vaccine safety and components.
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 coverage and eligibility
- FAQ section on Vaccine efficacy/effectiveness
- FAQ section on Practical queries around getting the vaccine
- FAQ section on Operational plans
No, you cannot catch COVID-19 from the vaccines but it is possible to have caught COVID-19 and not realise you have 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
Although headaches or a mild fever can occur within a day or two of vaccination, if you have any other COVID-19 symptoms or your fever lasts longer, stay at home and arrange to have a test. Further information on symptoms is available on NHS.UK.
It is important to note that you still might be able to carry the virus and transmit it to others after having your vaccine so please continue to follow the latest social distancing guidelines.
Yes. The NHS will not offer any COVID-19 vaccinations to the public until independent experts have signed off that it is safe to do so. The MHRA, the official UK regulator, have said that all the vaccines approved have good safety profiles and offer a high level of protection, 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 monitoring continues once it has been authorised and is being used in the wider population.
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. Full protection kicks in around a week or two after that second dose, which is why it’s also important that when you do get invited, you act on that and get yourself booked in as soon as possible. Even those who have received a vaccine still need to follow social distancing and other guidance.
Very 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
General aches, or mild flu like symptoms
As with all vaccines, appropriate treatment and care will be available in case of a rare anaphylactic event following administration.
Yes. The NHS will not offer any COVID-19 vaccinations to the public until independent experts have signed off that it is safe to do so. Medicines including vaccines are highly regulated – and that is no different for the approved COVID-19 vaccines. There are 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 – This is not the first Coronavirus and over the past few years scientists have been developing potential vaccines against other Coronavirus strains (ie SARS) and have therefore had a head start on the COVID-19 vaccine.
2 – The different phases of the COVID-19 clinical trials were delivered to overlap instead of run sequentially which sped up the clinical process.;
3 – 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.;
4 – clinical trials managed to recruit people very quickly as a global effort meant thousands of people were willing to volunteer.
Public Health England have robust systems in place to monitor surveillance and will be following incident reporting protocols in the usual way.
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.
The vaccine is recommended for those with diabetes as they are classed as being at moderate risk (clinically vulnerable) in priority group 6. For further details on how it may affect blood sugar levels see more information here.
As with 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. Patients will be provided with information on how to report any issues after they have received their vaccine.
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 trail recipients were Black and 3.5% Asian.
There is no evidence either of the vaccines will work differently in different ethnic groups.
Neither vaccine contains penicillin. If you have a previous history of extreme allergic reactions you will be issued the vaccine in a high controlled environment such as a hospital site. If you have a history of anaphylaxis reactions please discuss this with your GP when they contact you for your vaccine appointment and they willmay refer you to a more appropriate site.
If you have sickle cell disease you may be at higher risk for some COVID-19 complications. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. It gives you the best protection against coronavirus. In partnership with the National Haemoglobinopathy Panel, the UK Forum on Haemoglobin Disorders and the UK Thalassaemia Society, the Sickle Cell Society have issued a statement along with information specific to the COVID-19 vaccination in patients with haemoglobinopathies and rare inherited anaemias (including sickle cell disorder).
No, the vaccines do not contain a microchip.
No, the vaccines do not alter your DNA.
Yes, both the two currently rolled out COVID-19 vaccines do not contain foetal, animal products, mercury or egg. All ingredients are published in healthcare information on the MHRA’s website.
Read about the approved Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 by MHRA on GOV.UK
Read about the approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 by MHRA on GOV.UK
The British Islamic Medical Association have issued specific advice urging Muslims observing Ramadan not to delay getting the vaccine, drawing on analysis from Islamic scholars which says that injections for non-nutritional purposes do not invalidate the fast.