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COVID-19 vaccination

This page was updated Thursday 21 January

The NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme has started.

The vaccine is currently being offered to those most at risk from coronavirus. Please read the information below about who can get the vaccine.

Details about how to book your vaccination appointment are being sent out now. This will be a letter, either from your GP or directly from the NHS.

If you haven’t yet received details about the vaccination, please don’t worry.

Please do not contact the NHS to book an appointment until you get this letter.

Please also be aware of fake COVID-19 vaccine text messages.

Read more about fake COVID-19 vaccine messages

Find more information about the vaccine on the NHS website

The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus.

The first groups of people to receive the vaccination are:

  • People aged 80 and over
  • People aged 70 and over over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
  • Some people who are clinically extremely vulnerable
  • People who live or work in care homes
  • Health and care teams

Over time, the vaccine will be offered to more groups. 

If you’re unable to go to your appointment, please let the NHS know as soon as you can, using the details on the letter. This is so we can make the slot available to someone else.

Read more about the ways you can get your COVID-19 vaccination (guide)

The vaccine is given as an injection into your upper arm.

It's given as 2 doses. You will have the second dose 3 to 12 weeks after having the first dose.

Read the easy-read guide to your COVID-19 vaccination (guide)

Whilst the vaccine has met all quality controls, it is not recommended for some people.

Anyone with a history of severe reactions or allergies

Tell healthcare staff before you are vaccinated if you've ever had a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).

You should not have the vaccine if you've ever had a serious allergic reaction to:

  • a previous vaccine
  • a previous dose of the same COVID-19 vaccine
  • some medicines, household products or cosmetics

Serious allergic reactions are rare. If you do have a reaction to the vaccine, it usually happens in minutes. Staff giving the vaccine are trained to deal with allergic reactions and treat them immediately.

You can report any suspected side effect using the Coronavirus Yellow Card safety scheme.

Visit the Coronavirus Yellow Card to report a vaccine side effect 

If you're of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding

There's no evidence the COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe if you're pregnant. But more evidence is needed before you can be routinely offered the vaccine.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has updated its advice to recommend you may be able to have the vaccine if you're pregnant and:

  • at high risk of getting coronavirus because of where you work
  • have a health condition that means you're at high risk of serious complications of coronavirus

You can 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 of the COVID-19 vaccine with you.

You do not need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination. The vaccine cannot give you or your baby COVID-19.

Read the latest COVID-19 vaccine advice from the GOV.uk website

Guides about the vaccine, and what to expect

Information guides about the COVID-19 vaccine can be found on the GOV.uk website. Guides are available in a variety of languages, including Polish, Hindi, Arabic, Bengali and Gujarati.

Vaccine safety

COVID-19 vaccines are now available for free in the UK from the NHS.

To date, vaccines approved for use in the UK include:

  • 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

All COVID-19 vaccines provided by the NHS have been approved for use by the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Find out more from the MHRA website