COVID-19 Vaccine

Read the latest Coronavirus FAQs and links to PHE resources.

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

All Doncaster Primary Care Networks are actively booking in and vaccinating residents in line with national guidelines. Immunisations are being given to those most at high risk of complications, currently people aged over 80 with underlying health conditions, should they catch the virus.

As the vaccination programme is rolled out and more vaccine is delivered, more people from other priority groups will be invited for immunisation in due course.

Local practices in Doncaster are inviting people forward for the Covid-19 vaccination and we ask everyone to please wait to be invited by your local practice in due course and refrain from contacting them.

Here are some helpful leaflets published by Public Health England:

Frequently Asked Questions

Vaccination safety

What is the Coronavirus vaccine?

  • The COVID-19 vaccination gives you good protection against Coronavirus.
  • The vaccine works by making a protein from the virus that is important for creating protection.
  • The protein works in the same way they do for other vaccines by stimulating the immune system to make antibodies and cells to fight the infection.
  • The vaccine will reduce the chance of you suffering badly from COVID-19 disease but it may takes a week or two for your body to build up protection from the vaccine.

Is the Coronavirus vaccine safe?

  • 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 vaccine that is approved must go through all the safety checks all other licensed medicines go through. The MHRA follows international standards of safety.
  • After extensive assessment the MHRA have decided that Moderna vaccines are also safe and effective. The Government provisionally ordered several million doses of this new vaccine ahead of it being approved, but we don’t expect Moderna to be able to make these available until Spring 2021.
  • 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.
  • Millions of people have now 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.

Why should I have the vaccine?

  • You will need two doses of the vaccine to get the best long-term protection from the virus; however you will have a significant level of protection after you received the first dose.
  • There is a chance you might still get or spread Coronavirus even if you have the vaccine.
  • This means it is important to continue following national restrictions and social distancing guidance including wearing a face covering in places where it’s hard to stay away from other people.
  • Read more about why vaccines are safe and important, including how they work and what they contain.

Will the vaccines work with new strains of Coronavirus?

  • There is no evidence currently that new strains are resistant to the vaccines we have, so we are continuing to vaccinate people as normal.
  • Scientists are looking in detail at the characteristics of the virus in relation to the vaccines. Viruses, such as the winter flu virus, often branch into different strains but these small variations rarely render vaccines ineffective.

 What if I have already had Coronavirus, do I still need the vaccine?

  • Yes, you will still be offered a vaccine as the protection from the Coronavirus infection is thought to be short lived.
  • Vaccination is recommended for all the identified groups whether you have been previously infected with Coronavirus or not.
Eligibility

Who is eligible to have the Coronavirus vaccine in the first instance?

  • 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 JCVI advice on priority groups for the COVID-19 vaccination on the gov.uk website.
  • Initially this is patients aged over 80 years of age who are able to safely travel to a vaccination site.
  • An adult living or working in a care home for the elderly.
  • Frontline NHS and care staff that are vulnerable.
  • More information on the priority groups is available on the gov.uk website.

Advice if you’re of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding

  • There’s no evidence the COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. But more evidence is needed before you can be routinely offered the vaccine.
  • The JCVI has updated its advice to recommend you may be able to have the vaccine if you’re pregnant and at high risk of serious complications of Coronavirus or 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 if you’re pregnant, may get pregnant or are breastfeeding on the gov.uk website.

 Allergic reactions

  • 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.

Some people have been invited for vaccination but others haven’t, why?

  • Specific groups of people are being invited for vaccines first as they are most at risk from serious complications of Coronavirus should they catch it.
  • For this reason, the vaccination programme will focus on vaccinating people in the priority groups 1-4 before expanding to capture more people as stocks become more readily available.
  • People that are housebound will be vaccinated, the process to undertake this is being looked at due the properties of the vaccines being transported; again, the NHS will contact you when we are ready to administer the vaccine.
  • You can read the latest JCVI advice on priority groups for the COVID-19 vaccination on the gov.uk website.

I’m in an at risk group or care for someone at risk, when can I get a vaccine?

  • The Coronavirus vaccination programme is the biggest vaccination programme ever to be rolled out in the world.
  • To begin with, specific groups of people will be invited to help reduce the risk of extremely vulnerable people catching the virus.
  • As the programme rolls out and more stock becomes readily available, the invitation will be extended to wider groups and more people will be able to access the vaccine.
  • If you are a carer, you will be invited for the vaccine in due course in line with the national COVID vaccine programme rollout. We strongly advise you to continue following the latest Coronavirus guidance to protect yourself and others, whilst encouraging those you care for to have the vaccine if they are invited.
  • You do not need to call your local practice to enquire about it, you shall be invited as soon as you can be.
  • More information on the priority groups is available on the gov.uk website.

 Why are healthcare workers amongst the first groups to receive the vaccine?

  • The JCVI have put patient-facing health and social care staff into a priority group because of their heightened risk of exposure to the virus.
  • Healthcare workers are not the top priority though, and with limited vaccine available up to now, employers have been asked to offer the vaccine to the most at risk healthcare workers first and utilise any spare doses to prevent waste.
  • With many more doses now expected over the coming weeks, employers will be widening this out and protecting staff as soon as possible.
  • The NHS is experienced in vaccinating hundreds of thousands of staff quickly and safely – we do it every year for the flu vaccine – and all local NHS employers will be responsible for ensuring that 100% of eligible staff have the opportunity to take it up over the coming weeks and months.

 How will healthcare workers get the vaccine?

  • The NHS will offer vaccinations using different models. For healthcare workers, most will get vaccinated either at their own work or a local hospital.

 I am eligible for a vaccine but unable to attend the designated site in person due to mobility issues, what should I do?

  • If invited individuals cannot attend in person, for any reason, there will be more opportunities in the coming weeks to be vaccinated as the programme rollout expands.

 

The Vaccination Journey

How do I get a vaccine?

  • Specific groups of people will be invited for the vaccine by local practices or via letter – you do NOT need to contact your local practice.
  • It is very important to attend vaccination appointments at the specific date and time, the programme is not a drop-in service; to receive the vaccine, you must have booked an appointment and had confirmation.
  • Practices across all of the Doncaster primary care network areas are working together to call patients forward who are over 80 and most clinically at risk; other patients will be called forward in the coming weeks and months as more vaccines are delivered and we can vaccinate more people.
  • Patients from across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw who attend Sheffield Teaching Hospitals for an outpatient appointment will be offered a vaccine if they are over 80 years of age.

Can I get one privately? 

  • No. Vaccinations are only available through the NHS. You can be contacted by the NHS, your employer, or a local practice to receive your vaccine.
  • Remember, the vaccine is free of charge.
    • The NHS will never ask you for your bank account or card details.
    • The NHS will never ask you for your PIN or banking password.
    • The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.
    • The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.
  • If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you believe you have been the victim of fraud or identity theft you should report this directly to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. Where the victim is vulnerable, and particularly if you are worried that someone has or might come to your house, report it to the Police online or by calling 101.

How is the vaccine administered?

  • The COVID-19 vaccine is given as an injection into your upper arm and you will need to have two separate doses.

Why do I need a second dose of the vaccine?

  • The first vaccine is the prime vaccine dose, and the second one is a booster which offers optimal protection against the virus.
  • This means it is vitally important to continue to follow social distancing guidance and if you can, wear something that covers your nose and mouth in places where it’s hard to stay away from other people.

When will 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. The 2nd dose was previously 21 days after having the 1st dose, but has now changed to up to 12 weeks after.
  • It is vital you continue to follow the latest Coronavirus advice and guidance after having the vaccine to ensure you stay well.

I’ve had a 1st dose of the vaccine when will my second dose take place?

  • If you have been made an appointment for your 2nd dose, unless you are contacted by your local practice and informed otherwise, your 2nd dose vaccination will take place at the same time it was originally booked in for. Please keep and attend your appointment.
  • If you have had a 1st vaccination dose and a second hasn’t been booked yet, your local practice will contact you to arrange a 2nd dose within 12 weeks of your 1st appointment.

Will vaccines still be provided/can I still attend my appointment during the national lockdown?

  • Yes. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine, or any other vaccine, is an important medical appointment and so is within the rules wherever you live. Vaccinations will continue as normal in all areas through the national lockdown and beyond. If you have booked or are offered an appointment, please attend it.
  • Vaccination sites will keep you safe through a range of measures including cleaning and disinfecting in addition to having social distancing in waiting areas. Please wear a face covering to your appointment. You should also follow safety guidance to minimise your risk as you travel to your appointment.

 

Visiting a vaccination site

How long will each vaccine appointment take?

  • Your first vaccine appointment may be longer than the second as staff go through a pre-vaccine medical questionnaire with you about your health history which should take a few minutes.
  • The vaccine itself is very quick and will only take a minute.
  • After both doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, you will be required to remain at the vaccination site’s observation area for 15 minutes to be monitored, also if you are driving following doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

I struggle with mobility; can a carer accompany me to my appointment and will there be wheelchairs available?

  • You may bring a carer with you to your appointment if you need support. Sites have a limited number of wheelchairs available to use should you need one to help you move around the venue. Additionally, we have marshals on hand to assist you so please do let them know if you require support.

What proof will I get that I have been vaccinated?

  • Both vaccinations will be registered on your digital medical record which you may be able to access via your local practice’s website if you are registered for online services.

What should I do if I am not well when it is my second dose appointment?

  • If you are unwell, it is better to wait until you have recovered to have your vaccine, but you should try to have it as soon as possible and within the 12 week period from your first dose.
  • You should not attend a vaccine appointment if you are self-isolating, waiting for a COVID-19 test or unsure if you are fit and well.
  • Contact your local practice to discuss and rearrange your appointment as soon as possible.

 

After you’ve been vaccinated

Will the vaccine have side effects?

  • Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short term, and not everyone gets them. Even if you do have side effects after the first dose, you still need to have the second dose. Although you may get some protection from the first dose, it’s very important to have the second dose as it will give you the best protection possible against the virus.
  • Very common side effects include:
    • having a sore or tender spot in the arm where you had your injection. This tends to be worst around 1-2 days after the vaccine
    • feeling tired
    • headache
    • general aches, or mild flu like symptoms
  • Although feeling feverish is not uncommon for two to three days, a high temperature is unusual and may indicate you have COVID-19 or another infection. You can rest and take a normal dose of paracetamol (follow the advice in the packaging) to help you feel better.
  • Symptoms following vaccination normally last less than a week. If your symptoms seem to get worse or if you are concerned, call NHS 111
  • If you do seek advice from a doctor or nurse, make sure you tell them about your vaccination (show them the vaccination card if possible) so that they can assess you properly.

Can I catch COVID-19 from the vaccine?

  • You cannot catch COVID-19 from the vaccine as it does not contain the virus, 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
  • If you have the symptoms above, stay at home and arrange to have a test.
  • If you need more information on symptoms visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-COVID-19/symptoms.

 Will the mRNA vaccine will get into my own DNA or genetic material?

  • No. The mRNA vaccine (messenger RNA) tells your body how to create a protein that is found on the surface of the Coronavirus. Your own immune system is then able to recognise and produce antibodies against that protein, which means you are ready to fight off a COVID-19 infection; mRNA cannot infiltrate your own DNA.

 Do I have to follow Coronavirus guidance once I’ve been vaccinated?

  • Yes. Having the vaccine greatly reduces the risk of catching Coronavirus which is great news.
  • However, it may take a few weeks for the vaccine to get working in your system so it’s very important to follow guidance to ensure you don’t catch the virus whilst your body is still vulnerable.
  • Once you have immunity, your risk of catching the virus is greatly reduced but you could potentially still spread the infection to others which is why it’s very important to still wash your hands often, make space with others and wear a face covering if you can when in a busy area.
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