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 Vaccinations for 12-15 year olds
- 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
Booking my appointment
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 walk-in clinics across south-east London – more information here.
If you eligible for a booster dose, you can pre-book your COVID-19 booster dose online if it’s been at least two months since you had your 2nd dose, and you’ll be offered appointment dates at least 3 months after the date of your second dose. Alternatively, you can also get your booster dose at a walk-in clinic.
Those eligible for a third primary dose (anyone over 12 who was severely immunosuppressed at the time of their first or second dose) will be invited by their specialist or GP practice. If you’re aged 18 or over and have a letter from a GP or hospital consultant confirming you’re eligible for a 3rd dose, you can also book your vaccine online, or use a local walk-in service. You’ll need to bring this letter to your appointment.
To be invited for a vaccination you will need to be registered with a GP surgery in England. You can register with a GP if you do not have one.
If you’ve had a positive COVID-19 test, you need to wait before getting any dose of the vaccine. You need to:
> wait 4 weeks (28 days) if you’re aged 18 years old or over
> wait 12 weeks (84 days) if you’re aged 12 to 17 years old
> wait 4 weeks (28 days) if you’re aged 12 to 17 years old and at high-risk from COVID-19.
This starts from the date you had symptoms, or the date of the positive test if you did not have any symptoms.
Please choose a suitable appointment date when booking. You can also cancel and rebook an existing appointment for a later date if needed.
There are 3 main ways to get a COVID-19 vaccine:
> book online now for appointments at a vaccination centre or a pharmacy
> go to one of our walk-in vaccination centres without needing to book
> wait to be contacted by your GP surgery and book your appointments with them
Depending on your age and clinical vulnerability, your options will be different:
> 12-17 year olds (first and second doses) – if you are in this age category, you can get vaccinated at a local walk-in service, or by booking online – you do not need to wait to be contacted.
> 18+ and those at higher risk from COVID-19 (first, second and booster doses) – if you are eligible for a booster vaccine, you will contacted. If you are eligible and have not yet been contacted, you can pre-book your COVID-19 booster dose online if it’s been at least two months since you had your 2nd dose. Alternatively, you can also get your booster dose at a walk-in clinic.
> Those eligible for a third primary dose – anyone over 12 who was severely immunosuppressed at the time of their first or second dose will be invited by their specialist or GP practice. If you’re aged 18 or over and have a letter from a GP or hospital consultant confirming you’re eligible for a 3rd dose, you can also book your vaccine online, or use a local walk-in service. You’ll need to bring this letter to your appointment.
Book or manage your COVID-19 vaccination appointments
If you are eligible to book online but can’t, you can call 119 free of charge. You can speak to a translator if you need to. If you have difficulties communicating or hearing, or are a British Sign Language (BSL) user, you can use textphone 18001 119 or the NHS 119 BSL interpreter service
If you are having trouble booking a vaccination online you can call 119.
You can also call 119 if you have any queries about your booking, or you need to change your booking.
If you already have appointments booked, you can:
> view your appointments
> cancel your appointments
> book appointments again
We will ask you some questions first, so we can find your bookings.
Current national guidance is that you must have a gap of 8 weeks or more between the first and second dose for everyone aged 18 or over. Two doses gives you the maximum protection against known variants and reduces the risk of hospitalisation.
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.
Two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine offer some protection, but to get maximum and longer-lasting protection, you must get your booster dose if you are eligible. It helps give you longer-term protection against getting seriously ill from COVID-19.
No. The Covid-19 vaccine is free and is available through the NHS to everyone in the UK who is in an eligible group. This includes all migrants and people who do not have a GP, NHS number, proof of address or evidence of immigration status.
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.
We run booked clinics where people can arrange an appointment in advance either through their GP, online at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by calling 119. You must have an appointment for these clinics.
We also run walk-in clinics where no appointment is required. To find a full list of walk-in clinics near you, see further details on our walk-in webpage.
You do not need to be registered with a GP, have an NHS number or proof of immigration status or address to attend a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic
If you haven’t been contacted, 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
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.
The COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use in the UK are:
> Moderna vaccine
> Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine
> Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
> Janssen vaccine (available later this year)
You cannot usually choose which vaccine you have. When you book, you’ll only be offered appointments for vaccines that are suitable for you.
Most people can have any of the COVID-19 vaccines, but some people are only offered certain vaccines.
> if you’re pregnant or under 40 you’ll usually be offered appointments for the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines
> if you’re under 18, you’ll only be offered the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
> Those offered a booster dose will likely receive the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine (meaning your booster dose may be different from the vaccine you received for your first or second dose)
You should have the same vaccine for both doses, unless you had serious side effects (such as a serious allergic reaction) after your 1st dose.
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 for the general public, 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. 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 eight weeks from the first. If eligible, it is important to get a booster dose at least 3 months after your second dose to boost your immunity.
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).
For booster doses, you will likely receive the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine (meaning your booster dose may be different from the vaccine you received for your first or second dose)
The COVID-19 vaccines are currently only delivered by an injection.
Like any other vaccine, there is a 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
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.
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.
If you’re planning to travel abroad, you can get proof that you’ve been vaccinated against coronavirus (COVID-19) if:
you have had a full course of the COVID-19 vaccine (currently this means two doses)
you were vaccinated at a GP surgery, vaccination centre or hospital in England
you are aged 16 or older
You can get your COVID-19 vaccination status:
On the NHS App (this is not the NHS COVID-19 app).
On the NHS website
By calling 119 and asking for a letter with your COVID-19 vaccination status to be posted to you.
Do not contact your GP surgery about your COVID-19 vaccination status. GPs cannot provide letters showing your vaccine record.