Information about the Coronavirus vaccine

The Coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective. It gives you the best protection against coronavirus. This article outlines information about the vaccine.
male receiving coronavirus vaccination

Who can get the Coronavirus vaccine

The NHS is currently offering the Coronavirus 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.

It's being given to the top 4 priority groups:

  • people who live or work in care homes
  • frontline health and social care workers 
  • people aged 70 and over
  • individuals who are 'clinically extremely vulnerable'

The vaccine will be offered more widely, and at other locations, as soon as possible.

The order in which people will be offered the vaccine is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). You can read the latest advice on the priority groups for the Coronavirus vaccination.

Find out more

The image below also outlines the priority groups for the Coronavirus vaccine.

How to get a Coronavirus vaccine

It is important that you 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 Coronavirus vaccine is given

The Coronavirus 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 Coronavirus 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 Coronavirus 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 Coronavirus vaccine and reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions, have been very rare. No long-term complications have been reported.

Read about the approved Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 by MHRA on GOV.UK

Read about the approved Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 by MHRA on GOV.UK

How effective is the Coronavirus vaccine?

The 1st dose of the Coronavirus 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.

This means it is important to:

  • continue to follow social distancing guidance
  • if you can, wear something that covers your nose and mouth in places where it's hard to stay away from other people

Find out more about the vaccine on the NHS website

Easy Read information

You can download an Easy Read guide about the Coronavirus vaccine developed by Mencap. 

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