Who can get the COVID-19 vaccine ?
The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus.
The vaccine is being offered in some hospitals and hundreds of local vaccination centres run by GPs.
Wait to be contacted. The NHS will let you know when it's your turn to have the vaccine. It's important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then.
How the COVID-19 vaccine is given ?
The COVID-19 vaccine is given as an injection into your upper arm.
It's given as 2 doses.
When the 2nd dose will be given ?
The latest evidence suggests the 1st dose of the COVID-19 vaccine provides protection for most people for up to 3 months.
As a result of this evidence, when you can have the 2nd dose has changed. This is also to make sure as many people can have the vaccine as possible.
The 2nd dose was previously 21 days after having the 1st dose, but has now changed to 12 weeks after. If you:
- have already had your 1st dose and are due to have your 2nd dose before Monday 4 January, keep your appointment
- have already had your 1st dose and are due to have your 2nd dose after Monday 4 January, the NHS will contact you about when you'll have your 2nd dose
- are due to have your 1st dose after Wednesday 30 December, you'll be given your 2nd dose 12 weeks later
How safe is the COVID-19 vaccine?
The vaccines approved for use in the UK have been developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca.
They have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Any coronavirus vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through. The MHRA follows international standards of safety.
Other vaccines are being developed. They will only be available on the NHS once they have been thoroughly tested to make sure they are safe and effective.
So far, thousands of people have been given a COVID-19 vaccine and reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions, have been very rare. No long-term complications have been reported.
How effective is the COVID-19 vaccine?
The 1st dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will give you some protection from coronavirus. But you need to have the 2 doses of the vaccine to give you the best protection.
There is a chance you might still get or spread coronavirus even if you have the vaccine. Click here for more information on how to keep yourself and others safe.
COVID-19 vaccine side effects
Most side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are mild and should not last longer than a week, such as:
- a sore arm where the needle went in
- feeling tired
- a headache
- feeling achy
You can take painkillers, such as paracetamol, if you need to.