COVID Vaccines - Everything you need to know

So far, over 4million individuals have had their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine across the UK, with the vaccination roll-out continuing to gather momentum - many will be wondering how it all works. 


Here's everything you need to know:


Where can I get the vaccine?


The COVID Vaccines will be delivered throughout the UK at several community sites, including GP surgeries, hospitals, and centres for mass vaccination. 


Who can get the vaccine?


The vaccines are now being offered to four priority groups: 


  • People aged 70 and over
  • Some people who are clinically extremely vulnerable
  • People who live or work in care homes
  • Health and social care workers

These are considered the most vulnerable groups, as calculated by the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation), because their risk of exposure to the virus is higher and because the risk of death closely correlates with older age.


You can find the full prioritisation list here


How do I get booked in for a vaccination?


You will need to be registered with a GP surgery in the UK to use the service. You will then be able to choose a place near to home, where the vaccine is being administered, to receive your first dose of the vaccine.


You can find the NHS online booking service here.


What happens at the appointment?


Before you go to your appointment, make sure you have a face covering, hand sanitiser and anything you would like to take to feel safe and comfortable. 


Your appointment should last between 30-45 minutes. 


During your first appointment, you will receive one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, this should provide you with good protection against the virus. You will then receive your second dose approximately 11-12 weeks after your first dose, this will provide you with longer-lasting protection.


After having the first dose, you will then be asked to wait for 15 minutes. This is in the unlikely event you have a reaction to the vaccine.  


To find out more about the appointment portal, click here. 


Are the COVID Vaccines safe? 


The COVID vaccinations approved for use in the UK have followed rigorous safety, consistency and efficacy requirements set by the Independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Any approved vaccine must pass through all clinical trials and all other licensed medicines must undergo safety checks. The MHRA adheres to international safety guidelines. Find out more about the MHRA here.


So far, reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions, have been very rare. No long-term complications have been reported.


Check the NHS website for more information and guidance, click here.

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