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COVID-19 vaccination

 We have devised a series of Frequently Asked Questions around the COVID-19 vaccination programme. We try to keep these as updated as possible as the vaccination programme progresses, but if you cannot see your question, you can use the FAQs on the NHS website

Frequently asked questions:

Why should a person have the COVID-19 vaccination?

  • An effective vaccine is the best way to protect the most vulnerable from Coronavirus and the biggest breakthrough since the pandemic began
  • Getting a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible should protect an individual from becoming seriously ill or hospitalised and will help to protect your family and those you care for

How and where will the COVID-19 vaccines be given in Salford?

How will residents who are housebound be vaccinated?

  • We continue to make progress vaccinating residents who are housebound. They will be contacted directly and advised not to contact their GP
  • Staff and volunteers at the housebound teams will make home visits as planned

Who will be giving me the vaccination?

  • The vaccine will be given by a member of staff who has undergone specific training and has been assessed as competent in vaccine administration

How many doses of the vaccine will be required and when?

  • You need to have two doses of the vaccine in order to provide full protection against COVID-19. The first dose should give you good protection from three weeks But you need to have two doses of the vaccine and a booster to give you longer lasting protection
  • There must be a minimum of 8 weeks between the first and second vaccinations and 13 weeks after your 2nd dose for your booster

Does second dose vaccination need to happen at the same place as the first dose?

  • If you choose to book your vaccine through the National Booking Service, you will be offered the closest available appointment locations. While we expect most people will book both appointments at the same location, there is an option for the second dose appointment to be booked at a different location

Will I be given proof that I have had the vaccination, e.g. a “passport” or stamped form?

  •  A vaccine card will be given to you after having the vaccine
  • You can download and register NHS app. Once you’ve done this, you can show proof of vaccination status or download a pdf copy. For more information please see, NHS COVID Pass - NHS (

Can I choose which COVID-19 vaccine I have?

  • No. All vaccines that are available will have been approved because they pass the MHRA’s tests on safety and efficacy, so people should be assured that whichever vaccine they have, will be highly effective and protect them from coronavirus.  If you suffer from allergies, you should have the AZ vaccine (available at Salford Royal Mayo Building

How will GPs be told who to vaccinate?  

  • The JCVI sets criteria on an ongoing basis for who should get the vaccine and when. GPs will be able to call in or go out to patients based on this, using their patient records. 

Will the vaccine cause a positive Lateral Flow Test?

  • No. The vaccine causes your body to produce a specific antigen (viral spike protein). The Lateral Flow Test detects a different antigen, namely nucleocapsid protein, which is found within the virus, so the test will not be affected by the vaccine

Can I go back to work after having my vaccine?

  • Yes, you should be able to work, as long as you feel well. If your arm is particularly sore, you may find heavy lifting difficult. If you feel unwell or very tired you should rest and avoid operating machinery or driving
  • The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19 infection, and two doses plus a booster dose will reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill.

How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?

The COVID-19 vaccine will reduce a person’s risk of getting the virus by working with their body’s natural defences to build protection.

When someone receives the COVID-19 vaccine, their immune system will respond to it by:

  • Recognising the invading virus
  • Producing antibodies against the virus
  • Remembering the virus and how to fight it (therefore if the person is exposed to the germ again in the future, their immune system can quickly destroy it before they become unwell)

If the second and booster dose is not administered, the person may not be protected from COVID-19.

The first dose of both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine offer good levels of protection, but to get maximum protection everyone will need a second dose and a booster. Millions of people are now protected and this has contributed to dramatic falls in infections, hospitalisations and deaths. 

How long does the vaccine take to become effective?

  • The COVID-19 vaccination will reduce the chance of developing the coronavirus infection. You may not be fully protected until at least seven days after your second dose of the vaccine

Why do I need a second/booster vaccination?

  • Vaccines offer important protection to reduce risk, but they don’t make you invincible. Protection from any vaccine takes time to build up. In general, the older you are, the longer it takes
  • It will take at least two weeks in younger people and at least three weeks in older people before you can expect to have a good antibody response. Even better protection then comes from the second dose, so it’s really important that everyone gets their second vaccination, followed by a booster vaccine.

Is the COVID-19 vaccination safe?

Yes. The NHS will not offer any COVID-19 vaccinations to the public until experts have signed off that it is safe to do so. The MHRA, the official UK regulator, have said this vaccine is very safe and highly effective, and we have full confidence in their expert judgement and processes 

The COVID-19 vaccines like every other vaccine can only become licenced after the regulators are satisfied that  they have been rigorously checked for safety. The testing process has been made much more efficient by the removal of a lot of administration.

Blood clotting

The MHRA is carrying out a detailed review of reports of an extremely rare blood clotting problem affecting a small number of people who had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

It's not yet clear why it affects some people.

The COVID-19 vaccine can help stop you getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19. For people aged 40 or over and those with other health conditions, the benefits of being vaccinated with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh any risk of clotting problems.

For people under 40 without other health conditions, it's preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine instead of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

Find out more about COVID-19 vaccination and blood clotting on GOV.UK

Heart inflammation (myocarditis)

There have been rare cases of inflammation of the heart (myocarditis) reported after COVID-19 vaccination. Most people who had this recovered following rest and simple treatments.

Get urgent medical advice if you have any of these symptoms within a few days of being vaccinated:

  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • a fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heart (palpitations)

How have the COVID-19 vaccines been developed so quickly?

  • Vaccine technology and the technological approaches to making vaccines are improving.  Due to the levels of advancement in technology, and that Coronavirus was a global public health emergency, the vaccine was developed as
  • governments increased their funding to manufacturers.
  • Manufacturers knew this to be a straight run through, with no time for investment decisions or a commercial market at the end. For this, the vaccine development had to happen with real urgency
  • Vaccine trials have been just the same as regular vaccine trials, which includes three phasesTtime has been saved by recruiting participants in advance.

How can a vaccine be developed so quickly?

  • The COVID-19 vaccines have been through the three phases of clinical trials as usual protocol expects. The Pfizer vaccine clinical trial was approximately  45,000 people
  • As funding was in place from Governments and recruitment for volunteers organised in advance, no time was lost in approval by the ethics committee for the trials to proceed.
  • The number of people involved in the vaccine trials were the same as  for any other vaccine, the safety and effectiveness assessments the same, thus, the regulators performing the same role.

How can people be confident there won’t be long term side effects?

  • Every vaccine authorised for use in the UK has been authorised by the MHRA and the three components of authorisation are a safety assessment, an effectiveness assessment and a manufacturing quality assessment

Who is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine?

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccine/s the UK should use and provide advice on who should be offered the vaccination first.

As of April 2022, eligibility for the vaccination includes 5 years plus.

The graphic below illustrates the latest criteria.

If you have any queries, please check via NHS site

Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination - NHS ( which is always updated.

Covid-19 vaccine eligibility list and how many doses

Can I have the vaccine if I have had recent surgery or am due to have surgery?

  • Public Health England’s Immunisation Against Infectious Disease (the Green Book) states that recent or imminent elective surgery is NOT a reason to avoid routine immunisation
  • Generally, minor illnesses without fever or entire body upset are not valid reasons to postpone your COVID-19 vaccination If you are very unwell (for example, after surgery), your vaccine may be postponed until you have fully recovered. This is so  signs and symptoms of illness are then not confused with any side effects of  the C-19 vaccine.

Who cannot have the vaccine?

  • People with history of a severe allergy to the ingredients of the vaccine should not be vaccinated, speak with your GP practice if you are unsure
  • Most people with allergies (including food or penicillin allergies can be vaccinated against COVID-19
  • Tell healthcare staff before you are vaccinated if you have ever had a serious allergic reaction (including anaphylaxis). They may ask what you are allergic to, to make sure you can have the vaccine. Serious allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccines are very rare
  • If you have/had a serious allergic reaction to your 1st dose of the vaccine, you should not have the same vaccine for your 2nd. The AztraZeneca vaccination is available in Salford for those who suffer from allergies. Check the clinics page for details or book via the national booking scheme
  • If you have a history of immediate-onset anaphylaxis to multiple classes of drugs or unexplained anaphylaxis, you should discuss suitability of vaccination with a clinician

Can I have the vaccine if I am pregnant or planning to become pregnant?

  • The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that pregnant women should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine
  • If you're pregnant, it's important to get vaccinated to protect you and your baby.
  • You're at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 if you're pregnant. If you get COVID-19 late in your pregnancy, your baby could also be at risk. If you have not had a COVID-19 vaccine yet, it's recommended to get your first 2 doses as soon as possible. You do not need to delay vaccination until after you have given birth.
  • It's preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. This is because these vaccines have been more widely used during pregnancy in other countries and no safety concerns have been identified.
  • If you've already had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for your 1st dose and did not have any serious side effects, you should have it again for your 2nd dose.
  • If you had a 2nd dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at least 3 months ago, you can get a booster dose. The vaccines cannot give you or your baby COVID-19. Bookings for your COVID-19 vaccination appointments can be made online.
  • For more information Pregnancy, breastfeeding, fertility and coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination - NHS (

Is the vaccine safe for breastfeeding mothers?

  • You cannot catch COVID-19 from the vaccines and cannot pass it to your baby through your breast milk.
  • If you are breastfeeding, the vaccines you can have depends on your age:
  • If you are over 40 or over, you can have any of the COVID-19 vaccines
  • If you are under 40 and do not have a health condition that increases your risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19, it’s preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.
  • The Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines are preferable in people under 40 because of an extremely rare blood clotting problem linked to the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine
  • More information is available from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) here.

Can the Pfizer vaccine cause infertility in women?

  • There is no scientific evidence to suggest that the COVID-19 vaccines have any effect on your chances of becoming pregnant. There is no need to avoid getting pregnant after being vaccinated.
  • The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is a mRNA vaccine. It contains a small piece of the SARS-CoV-2 virus’s genetic material that instructs cells in the body to make the virus’s distinctive “spike” protein. After a person is vaccinated, their body produces copies of the spike protein, which does not cause disease, and triggers the immune system to learn to react defensively, producing an immune response against SARS-CoV-2. Contrary to false reports on social media, this protein is not the same as any involved in development of the placenta.

I was vaccinated overseas - where should I go for validation?

If you’ve had your COVID-19 vaccinations abroad, you need to tell the NHS.

This service enables you to book an appointment to show evidence for any coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccinations received outside of England.

This is so the NHS can securely update the vaccination record. This can take up to 10 working days.

For more information

Tell the NHS about coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccinations you've had abroad - NHS (

How to get a COVID-19 Pass?

An NHS COVID Pass shows your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination details or test results. This is your COVID-19 status.

There are 2 types of NHS COVID Pass.

NHS COVID Pass for travel

  • You may be asked to show your NHS COVID Pass when you travel abroad.
  • Check the foreign travel advice on GOV.UK to find out the entry requirements of the country you're visiting.

NHS COVID Pass for domestic events and venues

  • You may be asked to show your domestic NHS COVID Pass when you go to some events and venues in England, Wales or the Isle of Man.
  • People under 18 do not need to show proof of their COVID-19 status to go to domestic events and venues.

Using your NHS COVID Pass

  • You can show both types of NHS COVID Pass on a smartphone or tablet.
  • You can also download each one as a PDF, print it, save it to your mobile device, or have it sent as a link in an email.
  • You can get your NHS COVID Pass in other formats if you need to, including a letter, audio, big print and Braille.

How to get your NHS COVID Pass?

  • Get a digital version - You can get a digital version using the NHS App or NHS website. You can download it as a PDF or get it sent to you in an email.

You will need an NHS login to use these services. You'll be asked to create one if you do not have an NHS login already.

For more up to date information, NHS COVID Pass - NHS ( 

Are international students eligible for the vaccine?

  • Anybody over 5 year old in the UK is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine for free, regardless of their nationality or immigration status.

Do international students need to pay for the vaccine?

  • Nobody in England has to pay for the COVID-19 vaccination. The COVID-19 vaccine is free of charge and does not count as the kind of care that requires payment
  • International students or anyone seeing requests for payment should report this activity to their university institution and to Action Fraud. More information on COVID-19 vaccine scams is on the Action Fraud website here.

How does an international student get a vaccine?

  • International students should be encouraged to register with a GP and get an NHS number.
  • An NHS number can be found on any letter the NHS has sent you, on a prescription, or by logging in to a GP practice online service. You can also find an NHS number using this tool.
  • It is possible to request to book COVID-19 vaccination appointments as an unregistered patient by approaching a local GP practice.
  • While registration with a GP is encouraged to access the vaccine, individuals can request to book COVID-19 vaccination appointments as an unregistered patient through a local GP practice
  • Students can be directed to for more information on GP registration.

What should an international student do if they schedule their first dose in England, but will be abroad for their second?

  • The student should contact the health service in the country where they are resident at the time the second dose is due.

What should an international student do if they’ve received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination abroad, and it is not a vaccine that is being offered in England?

  • If a person has received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine overseas that is also available in the UK, they should receive the same vaccine for their second dose provided that they are eligible.
  • If the vaccine they received for their first dose is not available in the UK, the student should contact a GP to ensure they receive an appropriate vaccine for their second dose.

Where can students find more information?

Overseas Vaccination Record Validation Service

You are now able to book a face to face appointment at selected sites across the country using this link to have their overseas vaccination records validated and recorded. Ensuring overseas vaccinations are recorded in NIMS will you to be invited for any subsequent doses for which you are eligible and will also help you access the NHS COVID Pass.

Appointments are booked and managed through the National Booking Service on the NHS website or by calling 119.

The new service will capture evidence of COVID-19 vaccinations administered in countries outside of England and have these recorded in NIMS. To be eligible to use the service you must:

  • have received one of the four MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency) approved vaccine types for use in England: AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria) / Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty) / Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) / or Moderna (Spikevax)
  • be aged 18 or over
  • have an NHS number
  • be able to attend the face-to-face appointment with photographic ID (Passport or UK Driving Licence) and evidence of their vaccination record. The documentation required for the appointment is detailed in the NBS booking page and in the Overseas Service Standard Operating Procedure available on FutureNHS here.
  • Children under 16 years old cannot attend an appointment on their own. They must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or responsible person aged 18 years or over

Can children and young people get the vaccine?

See eligibility table below

Eligibility list of people of can get the COVID-19 vaccination


Vaccinations for professionals visiting care homes

From 11 November 2021, it becomes law that anyone entering a registered care home must have had a complete course (two doses) of an authorised Covid-19 vaccine. 

This includes visiting health and social care staff from other organisations, as well as those delivering non-care services such as hairdressing, maintenance, or leisure activities. 

Unless those visiting a care home in a professional capacity are fully vaccinated (or exempt*), care homes must not allow them entry. In order to be fully vaccinated by 11 November you will need to have had your first dose by 16 September.

If you have been vaccinated by the NHS in England, you can demonstrate your Covid-19 vaccination status using the NHS Covid-19 pass service. There are three ways of doing this: 

  • If you have a smartphone, via the NHS App 
  • Your vaccination record is available to view at the website
  • You can request an NHS Covid-19 pass letter from the website

Please note: Your NHS vaccination record card (issued at vaccination centres) cannot be used as proof of vaccination status. 

It’s not too late to get your vaccination sorted. There are vaccination centres running right across Greater Manchester, including evenings and weekends. Many run on a walk-in, no appointment needed basis. You can also book your Covid-19 vaccination at or call 119.

*Only a very small minority of people are clinically exempt from receiving the Covid-19 vaccine. Medical exemption reasons include those people who have had a previous systemic allergic reaction (including immediate-onset anaphylaxis) to a previous dose of the same Covid-19 vaccine or any component of the Covid-19 vaccine.

If you think you may have a clinical reason to be exempt, you must seek medical advice to provide further proof/documentation of this.

Further guidance is available at:

Vaccination of people working or deployed in care homes: operational guidance - GOV.UK (

How will you get an appointment?

  • It is never too late to get your COVID-19 vaccine. 
  • The COVID-19 vaccine helps to reduce the chance of COVID-19 infection and provides good protection against serious disease or hospitalisation. It may take a few weeks to build up some protection from the first dose of vaccine.
  • Check the Salford vaccination clinics page

Which pharmacies can I go to for my COVID-19 vaccine? 

Please see our up to date list here.

Salford residents can get their COVID-19 vaccinations at the pharmacies, listed below.

Pharmacies can vaccinate age 16 upwards. They will not be participating in the 5-11 years vaccinations.

To book your COVID-19 vaccinations at any of the pharmacies listed please use the national booking system.

Is there information in accessible formats or in different languages?

Yes. We have separate pages on our website with COVID-19 vaccination information translated into different languages and different formats.

Our alternative languages information is here.

Our alternative format information is here.

Our easy read information is here.

Will the vaccination be compulsory?

  • There are no plans to make the COVID-19 vaccine compulsory. The UK operates a system of informed consent for vaccinations

Is the vaccine vegan/vegetarian friendly?

  • The MHRA have confirmed that the AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any animal products
  • If, and when, further vaccines are approved we will publish information about known allergens or ingredients that are important for certain faiths, cultures and beliefs

Will people need to pay for the vaccine?

No, the COVID-19 vaccination is only available through the NHS to eligible groups and it is a free vaccination

Do people who have already had COVID-19 get vaccinated?

The MHRA have decided that getting vaccinated is just as important for those who have already had COVID-19 as it is for those who haven’t.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccine/s the UK should use and provide advice on who should be offered the vaccination first.

I’m currently ill with COVID-19, can I have the vaccine?

People currently unwell and experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine until they have recovered.

How soon after having COVID-19 infection can I receive the vaccine?

Individuals with confirmed COVID-19 infection should wait until 28 days after a positive test. You can still book your appointment online in advance.

Are there any known or anticipated side effects?

Like all medicines, the COVID-19 vaccines can cause side effects but not everyone gets them. Most side effects are mild and should not last longer than a week.

Known side effects:

  • A sore or tender arm from the injection
  • Feeling tired
  • A headache
  • Feeling achy
  • Feeling or being sick
  • You may get a high temperature or feel hot and shivery for a few days after your vaccination. Take painkillers such as paracetamol if you need to. If your symptoms get worse, or you are concerned, call NHS 111
  • If you have a high temperature that lasts longer than 2 days, a new continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, you may have COVID-19. Stay at home and take a test
  • You cannot catch COVID-19 from the vaccine, but you may have caught it either just before or after your vaccination
  • As with all vaccines, appropriate treatment and care will be available in case of a rare anaphylactic event following administration

For more information, Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines side effects and safety - NHS (

What to expect after vaccination?

Can people with allergies have the COVID-19 vaccine?

  • You should not have the Covid-19 vaccine if you have ever had a serious allergic reaction (including anaphylaxis) to:
    • a previous dose of the same vaccine
    • any of the ingredients in the vaccine
  • Tell healthcare staff before you are vaccinated if you’ve ever had a serious allergic reaction. Serious allergic reactions are rare. If you do have a reaction to the vaccine, it usually happens within minutes. Staff giving the vaccine are trained to deal with allergic reactions and can treat them immediately.

Can I have the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine if I have anaphylaxis to penicillins or foods, e.g. peanuts or sesame, etc?

  • Yes. Components of these substances that cause an allergic reaction are not found in the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine does, however, contain polyethylene glycol (PEG). PEG is found in medicines and also in household goods and cosmetics; allergy to PEG is extremely rare. Please discuss any concerns you may have about allergies with staff in the vaccine clinic. You may be referred to the Allergy Centre at Wythenshawe Hospital.

Can I have the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine if I have a history of anaphylaxis to penicillins or foods, e.g. peanuts, sesame, etc?

  • Yes. Components of these substances that cause an allergic reaction are not found in the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine does, however, contain polysorbate 80 (also known as Tween 80). Is found in medicines, such as tablets, creams, ointments and vaccines; allergy to polysorbate 80 is extremely rare. Please discuss any concerns you may have about allergies with staff in the vaccine clinic. You may be referred to the Allergy Centre at Wythenshawe Hospital.

I have multiple severe allergies and am not sure exactly what causes them. Should I have the vaccine?

  • Please discuss any concerns you may have about allergies with staff at the vaccine clinic.

Will the vaccine interact with any of my other medicines?

  • There are no known interactions with the vaccine. Immunological response may be diminished in those receiving immunosuppressive treatment, but it is important that you receive the vaccine

What will happen if I have a serious reaction to the vaccination?

  • Serious reactions to the vaccine are rare. If you at risk of a serious reaction, you will be advised not to receive the vaccine. If you do have a serious reaction, such as anaphylaxis, staff in the vaccination centre are trained to treat you. A report will be sent to the Coronavirus Yellow Card Scheme in the event of a serious side effect occurring

For more information see NHS advice Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines side effects and safety - NHS (

Does drinking alcohol effect the vaccine?

  • While a healthy lifestyle, including drinking alcohol within the UK Chief Medical Officer’slow-risk guidelines, is recommended, there is no consistent evidence that low and moderate levels of alcohol impair the immune system
  • There is currently no published scientific evidence of the effect of alcohol before and after vaccine on the immune response to COVID-19 vaccination, however, it is well known that chronic heavy alcohol abuse is linked to immune system dysfunction which can lead to vulnerability to infections and suboptimal vaccine response for some vaccines, likely due to an interplay of several factors

Will the flu vaccine provide protection against COVID-19?

The flu vaccine does not protect you from COVID-19. Anyone who is eligible for both vaccines should have them both likewise, the COVID-19 vaccine will not protect against the flu. 

What are vaccine record cards?

  • When patients are vaccinated, they are likely to receive a vaccine record card that notes the date of their vaccination, the suggested date for their second dose and details of the vaccine type and batch

Is this a vaccine ID card showing proof of vaccination?

  • This is a vaccine record card, similar to those given to patients for other NHS vaccinations as a note of when they received their vaccine
  • It is not intended to be used for any other purpose, or as an immunity certificate.

Where else will the vaccination be recorded?

  • All vaccinations are recorded on the patients record with their GP.

Last updated 26 April 2022