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COVID-19 vaccination

This page was updated 28 September

The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine is safe and effective. It gives you the best protection against coronavirus.

In England, the vaccine is being offered in some hospitals and pharmacies, at local centres run by GPs and at larger vaccination centres. More centres are opening all the time.

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

If you haven’t yet received details about the vaccination, please don’t worry. You can still book your vaccine appointment by visiting the NHS website 

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

Read more about fake COVID-19 vaccine messages (opens new browser tab)

Find more information about the vaccine on the NHS website (opens a new browser tab)

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 (pdf)

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

We've put together a short video to tackle some of the myths surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines.​

Learning Disability England (LDE) have a guide about the facts you need to know about the vaccine.

Read the LDE guide

You can find more information on the LDE website.

Visit the LDE website

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

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

 Dr Lalitha Iyer, Executive Medical Director and GP, has recorded a video talking about the vigorous testing and approvals process used to ensure vaccinations are safe, and dispels some of the myths around fertility and the safety of the vaccination during pregnancy. 

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 

All our nurses are busy visiting schools, and unable to respond to clinical queries, if you have a query about the vaccination programme for 12-15 year olds, please dial 119.

Call 119

This is a national line who will be able to answer parental queries