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, at hundreds of local vaccination centres run by GPs and at some pharmacies.

It's currently being given to people who meet specific eligibility criteria and this is currently changing every few days. To find the most up to date information, look at the NHS Coronavirus vaccine website to see who is currently eligible. If you are eligible, you may be able to book an appointment online.

NHS Coronavirus vaccine website

The order in which people are being ffered 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

How to get a Coronavirus vaccine

If you are not eligible yet for a 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. 

When it is your turn to be invited to the vaccine, the NHS may tell you to contact the NHS to book your vaccine through the online national booking service or by calling 119.

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. 

Information about the Coronavirus vaccine in alternative languages

NHS England have produced some videos about the Coronavirus vaccine in the following languages:

  • Arabic
  • Bengali
  • Gujarati
  • Polish
  • Punjabi
  • Romanian
  • Spanish
  • Swahili
  • Turkish
  • Urdu
  • Yoruba

You can watch the videos below and you can find out more information on the NHS England website.

There is a link to download each video listed below. Please download the videos and share with friends, family and community groups via WhatsApp, text message and/or social media.

Dr Mohammed Abdul-Latif, Clinical Oncology Registrar at North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust, speaking in Arabic
Tazmina Ahasan, Discharge Coordinator at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, speaking in Bengali
Sangita Patel, clinical lead for therapies at London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, speaking in Gujarati
Kasia Kurkowiak-Jolley, Apprentice Nurse Associate and Accident Department Assistant at BHRUT speaking in Polish
Dr Harmandeep Singh, cardiology consultant at Ealing Hospital, speaking in Punjabi
Stefania Vasilescu, Maternity Assistant at London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, speaking in Romanian
Lorena González, Specialist Speech and Language Therapist at East London NHS Foundation Trust, speaking in Spanish
Vivian Motana, Healthcare Assistant at Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Trust, speaking in Swahili
Dr Muhiddin Ozkor, consultant cardiologist and clinical director at North Middlesex University Hospital, speaking in Turkish
Dr Fharat Raja, consultant oncologist at North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust, speaking in Urdu
Temitope Akinfolarin, Administrator at East London NHS Foundation Trust, speaking in Yoruba

Looking for information about health and care?

Find advice and information to help you stay well and make decisions about your health and social care support.

Find advice and information