People who are most at risk from the complications of COVID-19 are being offered the COVID-19 vaccination first. The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine is safe and effective. It gives you the best protection against coronavirus.
Who can get the COVID-19 vaccine?
The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus. At this time, the vaccine is being offered in some hospitals to:
- Some people aged 80 and over who already have a hospital appointment in the next few weeks.
- People who work in Care Homes.
- Health Care workers at high risk.
The vaccine will be offered more widely, and at other locations, as soon as possible. The Practice will be in touch with you as soon as vaccines become available locally.
There is lots of work going on preparing for safe vaccination and vaccination at scale at a suitable location. So this may not be at the local practice but at a suitable larger venue. The NHS will let you know when it’s your turn to have the vaccine. It is important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then.
How safe is the COVID-19 vaccine?
The vaccine approved for use in the UK was developed by Pfizer/BioNTech. It has 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 no serious side effects or complications have been reported. December 2020.
Like all medicines, vaccines can cause some 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. Although you may get some protection from the first dose, having the second dose will give you the best protection against the virus.
Very common side effects include:
- Having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had the injection. This tends to be worst around 1 to 2 days after the vaccine.
- Feeling tired.
- General aches, or mild flu like symptoms.
Can you catch COVID-19 from the vaccine?
You cannot catch COVID-19 from the vaccine 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 (anosmia).
Although a milder 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 are available on NHS.UK.
I am in one of the listed groups, why do I have to wait?
The COVID-19 vaccines will become available as they are approved for use and as each batch is manufactured. So every dose is needed to protect those at highest risk. You will be called in as soon as there is enough vaccine available. Some people who are housebound or live in a Care Home and who can’t get to a local vaccination centre may have to wait for supply of the right type of vaccine. This is because only some vaccines can be transported between people’s homes.