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COVID-19 vaccination - your questions answered

Below we have 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 you can also see more FAQs on the NHS website

Frequently asked questions:

Why should a person have the COVID-19 vaccination?

  • An effective vaccine will be the best way to protect the most vulnerable from coronavirus and the biggest breakthrough since the pandemic began alongside treatments
  • A vaccination is a huge step forward in our fight against COVID-19, potentially saving tens of thousands of lives
  • Getting a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible should protect an individual and may help to protect your family and those you care for
  • The COVID-19 vaccine should help reduce the rates of serious illness and save lives and will therefore reduce pressure on the NHS and social care services2

How effective is the vaccine?

The vaccination programme has already substantially reduced the risk from severe COVID-19 in the UK population. The latest national COVID-19 vaccine surveillance report updated on 12 August, estimates the programme has averted approximately 23 million infections and 84,000 deaths to date in England.

A study published by the University of Oxford highlights that obtaining two vaccine doses remains the most effective way to ensure protection against the COVID-19 Delta variant. Conducted in partnership with the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and DHSC, the study found that with Delta, Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines still offer good protection against new infections, but effectiveness is reduced compared with Alpha.

Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines are around 75 to 80 per cent effective at preventing death with COVID-19 after a single dose. Data on two doses is only currently available for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and indicates effectiveness against dying with COVID-19 of around 95 to 99 per cent.

study from PHE found that vaccine effectiveness against the Delta variant is similar after two doses when compared to the Alpha variant; we expect to see even higher levels of effectiveness against hospitalisation and death. 

The study found that, for the period from 5 April to 16 May: 

  • the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was 88 per cent effective against symptomatic disease from the Delta variant 2 weeks after the second dose, compared to 93 per cent effectiveness against the Alpha variant 
  • 2 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were 60 per cent effective against symptomatic disease from the Delta variant compared to 66 per cent effectiveness against the Alpha variant 
  • both vaccines were 33 per cent effective against symptomatic disease from Delta, 3 weeks after the first dose compared to around 50 per cent  effectiveness against the Alpha variant 

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. Millions of people are now protected and this has contributed to dramatic falls in infections, hospitalisations and deaths. 

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

  • Vaccination clinics - a mixture of walk-ins, bookable appointments and pop-ups - are open across Salford. We also have a vaccination bus touring the city in different locations each week where anyone aged over 16 can be vaccinated. GPs in Salford will not be expected to step down their routine work to work in the vaccination services, as has been the case in other parts of the country

  • Home visits vaccination has been arranged for those who can't leave home or patients who are housebound
  • Visit the Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) journey planning homepage for information on journey planning, the latest service changes and timetable information. Alternatively, you can call 0871 200 2233. If you are unable to travel independently or have difficulties paying for public transport, there are a number of options available to you.  For further information visit www.salford.gov.uk/travel-help or call the Spirit of Salford helpline on 0800 952 1000.

Are there pop up vaccination clinics?

Can I have my second dose sooner?

  • You can receive your second dose after minimum of 8 weeks from your first dose. 

How will residents who are housebound be vaccinated?

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

How do I get an appointment at the super-centre?

  • If you prefer, you can book an appointment for your vaccination through the national NHS booking system and go to a 'super-centre'. In Greater Manchester, this is likely to be at the Ethihad Campus, but other venues are available. Go to Book or manage your coronavirus vaccination on the NHS website for more information.

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 are required 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 or four weeks after you've had it. But you need to have two doses of the vaccine to give you longer lasting protection.
  • There must be a minimum of 8 weeks between the first and second vaccinations.

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 given 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
  • If you have had your first dose locally in Salford, you will be for your second dose by either text message or letter, or you can attend one of the walk-in clinics
  • If you have had your first dose at hospital, you should be invited or be able to book your second dose at the same location.
  • There are other circumstances in which it may be appropriate for a patient to receive their second dose in a different location to their first dose, for example, discharged outpatients, students, doctors in training on rotation to hospitals, people who have become housebound or moved into a care home since their first dose, or patients who have moved to a new house to somewhere a long way away from where they had their first dose

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

  • Yes, 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 (www.nhs.uk).

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. People under 40 will be offered Pfizer-BioNTech. 

What type of sites will give it out? Are they all large sites and what if I can’t get there? 

  • No, the NHS has been working together with local partners to ensure that people are not disadvantaged because of where they live, whether they own a car or if they are able to get about. This is why the NHS has developed three different models of delivery. 

How will patients be invited for a vaccination?

  • Anyone aged 16 and other is now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine and will receive a telephone call or a text message from the local vaccination delivery team. You may also receive a letter from the national booking team to attend one of the larger delivery sites
  • Children aged 12-15 who are eligible either because they have a health condition making them more at risk to COVID-19 or live with someone who is vulnerable, will be invited for a vaccine appointment. Children aged 12-15 cannot attend a walk-in clinic

Always remember that:

  • 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. 

How will GPs be told who to vaccinate?  

  • The JCVI sets criteria on an ongoing basis for who should get the vaccine when. GPs will be able to call in or go out to patients based on this, using their patient records. A national invite and recall system, drawn from GP patient records, may also be used.  

How will care home staff be identified as eligible for vaccination at hospital hubs or centres outside of the care homes where they work?

  • To ensure that care home staff are able to access flu and COVID-19 vaccines as a priority in any setting, we are asking employers to collect and securely provide their NHS numbers. This allows the NHS to tag them as care home workers on the national system we are using to invite and keep track of who has been vaccinated.
  • A letter to care homes providers setting out setting out the requirement and legal basis for the collection off staff details to support the national flu and COVID-19 vaccination programme is in development with representative bodies and will be issued separately as soon as possible.

After I have received the vaccine, do I need to continue doing twice weekly Lateral Flow Tests?

  • Yes, please continue with twice weekly testing. You may not be fully protected until 7 days after the second dose, so it is important to continue with testing, social distancing and other precautions in the meantime. Even when you are fully vaccinated, there is a very small chance of developing COVID-19 infection, although it is likely to be mild. Identifying infection remains important to help prevent spread of the disease.

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 will reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill. However, you will need to continue to follow the guidance in your workplace, including wearing the correct personal protection equipment and taking part in any screening programmes. We do not yet know whether the vaccine reduces the risk of transmission between people.

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 the person receives the 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 dose isn’t administered, the person may not be protected from COVID-19.

Protection will not be likely until at least seven days after the second dose of the vaccine (with full protection not being achieved until 28 days after the second dose)

How effective is the COVID-19 vaccine?

The vaccination programme has already substantially reduced the risk from severe COVID-19 in the UK population. The latest national COVID-19 vaccine surveillance report updated on 12 August, estimates the programme has averted approximately 23 million infections and 84,000 deaths to date in England.

A study published by the University of Oxford highlights that obtaining two vaccine doses remains the most effective way to ensure protection against the COVID-19 Delta variant. Conducted in partnership with the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and DHSC, the study found that with Delta, Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines still offer good protection against new infections, but effectiveness is reduced compared with Alpha.

Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines are around 75 to 80 per cent effective at preventing death with COVID-19 after a single dose. Data on two doses is only currently available for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and indicates effectiveness against dying with COVID-19 of around 95 to 99 per cent.

study from PHE found that vaccine effectiveness against the Delta variant is similar after two doses when compared to the Alpha variant; we expect to see even higher levels of effectiveness against hospitalisation and death. 

The study found that, for the period from 5 April to 16 May: 

  • the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was 88 per cent effective against symptomatic disease from the Delta variant 2 weeks after the second dose, compared to 93 per cent effectiveness against the Alpha variant 
  • 2 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were 60 per cent effective against symptomatic disease from the Delta variant compared to 66 per cent effectiveness against the Alpha variant 
  • both vaccines were 33 per cent effective against symptomatic disease from Delta, 3 weeks after the first dose compared to around 50 per cent  effectiveness against the Alpha variant 

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. 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 you developing 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 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. You will be contacted to arrange a date for your second appointment unless you have already booked via the national booking system. For more information, visit nhs.uk/covidvaccine

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 they have been rigorously checked for safety. The testing process has been made much more efficient by the removal of a lot of administration

Recently there have been reports of an extremely rare condition involving the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots. As a precautionary measure while this is being carefully reviewed, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has now advised that it is preferable for adults aged under 40, who don’t have underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease, to be offered an alternative vaccine. For those in this age group who have had already their first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and had no adverse reactions, they should still come forward for their second dose when invited. This condition can also occur naturally, and clotting problems are a common complication of COVID-19 infection

An increased risk has not yet been seen after other COVID-19 vaccines but is being carefully monitored.

For people in older age groups, the JCVI has stated that the benefits of prompt vaccination with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine far outweigh the risks.

Can the government be sure that safety won't be compromised due to the speed of development of a COVID-19 vaccine?

  • There are extensive checks and balances required at every stage of the development of a vaccine, and this is no different for a COVID-19 vaccine. No stages in the vaccine development process are bypassed. 
  • All vaccines are tested through three phases of clinical trials to ensure they meet the gold standard. Phase 1 trials are with a small group of people to make sure there are no safety concerns and determines the appropriate dosage for the best immune response. Phase 2 trials are conducted on a larger group of people to check the vaccine works consistently and that the immune response is sufficient. Phase 3 trials test the vaccines on thousands of people for scientists to assess if the vaccine is producing immunity that will prevent disease.
  • Usually, these phases are run in sequence, but in an effort to find a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible, once safety has been ascertained through Phase 1, Phases 2 and 3 are being run in parallel. 
  • The data from each phase then goes to the regulator in a “rolling” review rather than once the trials have completed, which means the regulator can start looking at the results earlier than normal.
  • Companies have made decisions to begin large scale production of vaccines which are still in trials. This means that if the vaccines are not shown to be safe and effective and are not approved for use the companies will have to destroy what they have manufactured. If, however the vaccines are successful, that means the vaccines are ready to be distributed.

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

  • Vaccine technology and the technological approaches to making vaccines are getting better and better and we couldn’t have done it in this timeframe if we went back to the 2009 pandemic and we had a new virus about which we knew very little. We’re in a different place today because of the technology.
  • It was very clear that it was a global public health emergency from the word go and governments were prepared to put in lots of funding to manufacturers, without any guarantee of success, but hoping that they would find a solution
  • Manufacturers knew this had to be a straight run through, they didn't have time for investment decisions and pausing or thinking about a commercial market at the end of it. It had to happen with real urgency.
  • But the vaccine trials have been just the same as normal vaccine trials. Phase one, phase two and phase three. Where time has been saved is by recruiting participants in advance, so at the moment the study protocol is in place, the Ethics Committee is in place, so are the vaccine trial participants – which speeds up the process. And that happened at phase one, phase two and phase three and therefore things ran very fast.

How can a vaccine be developed in nine months?

  • These vaccines have been through phase 1, phase 2 and phase 3 clinical trials just like ordinary vaccines. The Pfizer vaccine clinical trial size was around 45,000 people. These are very, very big studies.
  • Time has been gained is instead of getting an investment decision then going to ethics committee then starting to recruit volunteers, all of the recruiting volunteers was done in advance so that the people were completely ready to go and the ethics committees moved very fast to approve the trials.
  • Organisations like the National Institute for Health Research made this their top priority and plans were made for the next phase by the companies without having to wait for things like investor decisions.
  • But the numbers of people in the trials were the same as you would expect for any other vaccine, and on top of that the safety assessments and the assessments of effectiveness at the end are the same – it’s the same regulators doing the same job.
  • Companies have made decisions to begin large scale production of vaccines which are still in trials. This means that if the vaccines are not shown to be safe and effective and are not authorised for use the companies will have to destroy what they have manufactured. If, however the vaccines are successful, that means the vaccines are ready to be distributed. 

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

  • Every single 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.

Can I have my flu vaccine at the same time as my COVID-19 vaccine?

  • Yes. If you are visiting your GP practice for your COVID booster and are eligible for your seasonal flu vaccination, then you could receive them both at the same time. Please note, this is only available in the Swinton, Walkden and Little Hulton. Please also note, this is for your information only and not to be promoted widely

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.

Everyone aged 16 and over is now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine and can attend one of our vaccination clinics or wait to be invited for an appointment. Children aged 12-15 years old who are at risk (with immuno-suppression, severe neuro-disabilities, Down’s Syndrome, severe learning disabilities) or are household contacts of someone immuno-compromised can also get the vaccine and will be invited to an appointment. Children aged 12-15 cannot attend walk-in clinics without an appointment.

How will healthcare workers get the vaccine?

  • The NHS is offering vaccinations using different models. For healthcare workers, many NHS Trusts will act as hospital hubs where NHS staff can get vaccinated on site.

Which healthcare workers will be prioritised?

  • Frontline health and social care workers at high risk of acquiring infection, at high individual risk of developing serious disease, or at risk of transmitting infection to multiple vulnerable persons or other staff in a healthcare environment, are considered of higher priority for vaccination than those at lower risk.

Are there COVID-19 vaccination guide for healthcare workers and social care staff?

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 immunisation. If you are very unwell (for example, after surgery), the vaccine may be postponed until you have fully recovered. This is so that signs and symptoms of illness are not confused with side effects to the vaccine.

Who cannot have the vaccine?

  • People with history of a severe allergy to the ingredients of the vaccine should not be vaccinated.
  • A second dose of the vaccine should not be given to those who have experienced anaphylaxis to the first dose of vaccine.
  • The vaccine should not be given to anyone who has experienced anaphylaxis following exposure to any of the excipients in the vaccine. A list of excipients is provided in the patient information leaflet. Note: The Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine contains polyethylene glycol (PEG), which is commonly found in medicines and also in household goods and cosmetics.The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine contains polysorbate 80, which is commonly found in medicines; there may be cross-reactivity with PEG.
  • People that have a history of immediate-onset anaphylaxis to multiple classes of drugs or unexplained anaphylaxis should discuss suitability of vaccination with a clinician.
  • People who are suffering from a fever-type illness should also postpone having the vaccine until they have recovered. Minor illnesses without fever or systemic upset are not valid reasons to postpone immunisation.

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 at the same time as the rest of the population, based on their age and clinical risk group.
  • There have been no specific safety concerns identified with any brand of COVID-19 vaccines in relation to pregnancy. 
  • Real-world data from the United States show that around 90,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated, mainly with mRNA vaccines including Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, without any safety concerns being raised.
  • Based on these data, the JCVI advises that it is preferable for pregnant women in the UK to be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines where available.
  • There is no evidence to suggest that other vaccines are unsafe for pregnant women, but more research is needed.
  • The advice, published in Public Health England’s Green Book, a clinical professional guide for vaccinators in the UK, still advises that pregnant women should discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with their clinician, including the latest evidence on safety and which vaccines they should receive.

Are pregnant women able to book through National Booking Service (NBS) for COVID-19 vaccination?

  • From Thursday 13 May 2021, the new National Booking Service functionality will enable pregnant women to book appointments at a site that offers the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine following a series of screening questions.
  • This is in line with JCVI guidance and the Green Book.
  • Every woman who is pregnant, or thinks she might be, should be offered a discussion with a clinician (at the vaccination site, her maternity provider, or GP practice) on the potential risks and benefits of vaccination, so that she can make an informed choice about whether to receive it.

Is the vaccine safe for breastfeeding mothers?

  • There is no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in breastfeeding or on the breastfed infant. Despite this, COVID-19 vaccines are not thought to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant, and the benefits of breast-feeding are well known.
  • Because of this, the JCVI has recommended that the vaccine can be received whilst breastfeeding. This is in line with recommendations in the US and from the World Health Organisation.
  • 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 vaccine could cause infertility in women. In addition, infertility is not known to occur as a result of natural COVID-19 disease, further demonstrating that immune responses to the virus, whether induced by infection or a vaccine, are not a cause of infertility.
  • Reports on social media have falsely asserted that the vaccine could cause infertility in women and there is concern that this misinformation may cause women to avoid vaccination to prevent COVID-19, which is a potentially serious and life-threatening disease.
  • 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.

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.

You may be asked to show your pass to travel abroad, or at events and venues in England asking for proof of your COVID-19 status.

Always check the entry requirements for the country or the venue you're visiting.

Who can get an NHS COVID Pass?

  • If you're aged 16 or over, you can get an NHS COVID Pass for travel abroad. If you're aged 18 or over, you can get an NHS COVID Pass for domestic events
  • Have had a full course of the COVID-19 vaccine (a full course is currently 2 doses of any approved vaccine, or one dose of a Janssen vaccine)
  • Were vaccinated in England or Wales
  • Allowed 2 weeks since completing a full course of the COVID-19 vaccine
  • Are registered with a GP in England
  • Learn more about travelling abroad and domestic events here

How many types of COVID Pass are there?

  • The NHS COVID Pass can be:
    • shown in the NHS App
    • downloaded through NHS.UK and displayed using a phone or tablet screen
    • a letter, requested through NHS.UK, or by calling 119 in England and Wales
  • Barcodes - In the NHS App, your COVID-19 status includes a 2D barcode with an expiry date that updates automatically each time you log in. If you store the barcode in your Google wallet, or download and print a copy the expiry date will not auto-refresh. You will need to log in.
  • Making the NHS COVID Pass available digitally and non-digitally (by showing a letter), makes it simple for the public to show what vaccinations, recent COVID-19 test results or antibodies they have from a positive test

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.

How long digital versions are valid for?

If you've had:

  • A vaccine used in the UK – your pass lasts for 30 days, but the 30 day period refreshes every time you log in
  • A negative PCR test or rapid lateral flow test – your pass is valid for 48 hours after a negative result
  • A positive PCR test – your pass lasts 30 days, but the 30 day period refreshes every time you log in (for up to 180 days after you took the test)
  • If you download your COVID Pass as a PDF, always check the expiry date before using it.
  • If you're fully vaccinated or had a positive test result, the barcode on a PDF is valid for 30 days.

How to get a paper version (vaccination status only) if you don't have a smartphone, computer or tablet and need a NHS COVID Pass?

  • You can get an NHS COVID Pass letter sent to you in the post.
  • This shows you've been vaccinated against COVID-19. It does not show COVID-19 test results.
  • You can ask for a letter after having your 2nd dose of the vaccine, or after a single-dose Janssen vaccine. You may need to wait 5 working days before using the service, so that your record will be up to date.
  • You should get the letter within 5 working days.
  • You can use your letter at venues in England where you need to prove your COVID-19 status 2 weeks after you have been fully vaccinated.
  • You do not need to be registered with a GP surgery or have an NHS login for this.

You can get a letter by:

  • Requesting a COVID Pass letter online
  • Calling 119 (if you are overseas you need to call +44 151 905 0119 - you will be charged according to your carrier’s rates) – do not call if you're travelling in more than 4 weeks' time

It is also known as a COVID-19 post vaccination letter. The paper version does not have an expiry date.

  • Students will be offered a COVID-19 vaccine when their age or clinical risk group become eligible.
  • Students can receive their second dose in a different location to their first dose due to their circumstances. If you are registered with a GP practice and become eligible, you can book your appointments online through the National Booking Service at a location that is convenient to you.
  • Students should be encouraged to register with a GP practice and you can visit nhs.uk/register for more information. However, it is possible to request to book COVID-19 vaccinations as an unregistered patient through a local GP practice.
  • If you receive an invitation, please do act on it as soon as possible. Millions of people are already benefiting from protection from the virus.

How will students be invited for the COVID-19 vaccination when they are eligible?

  • Students will be offered a COVID-19 vaccine when their age or clinical risk group become eligible.
  • In England, the COVID-19 vaccine is being offered at local sites run by GPs or community pharmacies, at larger vaccination centres and in some hospitals.  
  • Once you are eligible, you can find out how to get your vaccine at nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by phoning 119.
  • If you are registered with a GP, you will be able to book appointments at a larger vaccination centre, a community pharmacy run site or at some GP run sites. You can do this as soon as you are eligible or when you receive an invitation from your GP.
  • To use the National Booking Service, you will need to be registered with a GP and have an NHS number. Anybody who has previously received treatment will have an NHS number and you can find this 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.
  • While registration with a GP is encouraged to access the vaccine, you can request to book COVID-19 vaccination appointments as an unregistered patient through a local GP practice. You can find out more about GP registration at nhs.uk/register.
  • Some of you may have received your vaccine already if you are at higher risk of Covid-19, are on a placement as a frontline health or care worker, are an unpaid carer, or are a household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed. You should continue with your first and second doses as planned.
  • If you receive an invitation, please do act on it as soon as possible. Millions of people are already benefiting from protection from the virus and this has contributed to dramatic falls in infections, hospitalisations and deaths.

I will be in a different location for my second dose, what should I do?

  • It is appropriate for students to receive their second dose in a different location to their first dose due to their circumstances.
  • If you are registered with a GP practice and become eligible, you can book your appointments online through the National Booking Service at a location that is convenient to you.
  • The National Booking Service allows you to view your appointments, cancel your appointments and book appointments again.
  • If you receive your first dose through a GP practice in one location but will be in a different location for your second, you can also book your second dose in your second location through the National Booking Service.
  • Second doses are administered 3 to 12 weeks after having the first dose.

I received my first dose in Wales/Scotland/ Northern Ireland, what should I do?

  • If you receive your first dose through a GP in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, but are in England for your second dose, you should follow the instructions above to arrange your second dose in England.

I am registered with a GP in my hometown, but not my university town, or vice versa. What should I do?

  • If you are registered with a GP practice and become eligible, you can book your appointments online through the National Booking Service at a location that is convenient to you.
  • The National Booking Service allows you to view your appointments, cancel your appointments and book appointments again.
  • If you receive your first dose through a GP practice in one location but will be in a different location for your second, you can also book your second dose in your second location through the National Booking Service.
  • You may also receive an invitation from your GP through text or a phone call. You may sometimes get a letter at the address that is registered with your GP practice. You do not need to wait to be contacted to book via the National Booking Service if you are eligible.

I am not registered with a GP, can I still get the vaccine?

  • Students should be encouraged to register with a GP practice and you can visit nhs.uk/register for more information.
  • 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.

I will be on a placement abroad for my second dose, what should I do?

  • If you will be abroad by the time your second dose is due, you should contact the health service in the country where are resident at the time the second dose is due.

Where can I find more information?

I’m young & low risk so the Covid-19 vaccine isn’t for me

  • The average age of people in intensive care is 60, but people much younger have been seriously ill and died too, with thousands more still suffering the effects of Long Covid after what might have been a mild initial case. If we’ve learned anything from this last year, it’s that nobody is really safe. Anyone can get COVID-19, including young people, and anyone can spread it. Getting vaccinated is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself and others around you from the virus, vaccines reduce infections, hospitalisations and deaths from COVID-19.

International students FAQs

Are international students eligible for the vaccine?

  • Anybody in the UK is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine for free, regardless of their nationality or immigration status. International students in England can receive the Covid-19 vaccine when their age or clinical risk group becomes eligible.

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.

Do international students need to be registered with a GP to get a vaccine?

  • 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.

How does an international student get an NHS number?

  • International students can approach their local GP practice, saying they would like to register for the purposes of receiving the vaccine.

Are any dependents of international students also eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination?

  • Anyone in England is eligible for the vaccine if they fall within the current eligibility criteria set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and should come forward once it is their turn.

Are international graduates eligible for the vaccine?

See answer above.

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 nhs.uk/register for more information on GP registration.

If an international student is not registered with a GP, will they still be invited for their vaccination?

  • Students who are not registered with a GP will not be proactively contacted by a local NHS service when they are eligible.
  • We encourage all students to register with a GP and can be directed to www.nhs.uk/register for more information. It is possible for individuals to request to book COVID-19 vaccination appointments as an unregistered patient through a local GP practice.

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.

Will international students need to have been vaccinated in order to enter England in the autumn?

  • Vaccination is not currently a requirement for entry into the UK. However, we encourage all international students to receive a vaccine, either in a different country before arriving for term, or in the UK once they arrive.

Where can students find more information?

Can children and young people get the vaccine?

The JCVI has advised that children and young people aged 12 years and over with specific underlying health conditions that put them at risk of serious COVID-19, should be offered COVID-19 vaccination. In addition, children and young people aged 12 years and over who are household contacts of persons (adults or children) who are immunosuppressed should be offered COVID-19 vaccination, on the understanding that the main benefits from vaccination are related to the potential for indirect protection of their household contact who is immunosuppressed.

These children who are eligible will be invited to attend a vaccination appointment. They cannot attend a walk-in clinic.

Public Health England have published the below leaflets for children and young people:

Vaccinating children 12 - 15 with no underlying health conditions

In line with the DHSC’s decision on Monday 13 September, the NHS has written to organisations that provide school-age immunisation services (‘SAIS’ providers), setting out what they must do to make sure all children aged 12 to 15 are offered a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination before the October half-term break. This letter confirms that vaccination in schools should begin from Wednesday 22 September, with most school visits completed and children vaccinated before the half-term break.

Parents or guardians of children aged 12-15 will receive letters from their local school-aged immunisation service provider, with details of when the vaccination will be offered. For most children, this will be through a session at their school.

They will also be asked to provide consent for their child to receive the vaccination, either through an online or a paper form.

Parents or guardians do not need to contact their local GP or other NHS services, nor make an appointment through the National Booking Service. SAIS providers will put in place processes to exclude children that have already received a first dose under previous JCVI advice. 

At this time, CMOs advise that 12-15 year olds should be offered a first dose only, which will be of the Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) vaccine, the only vaccine currently authorised for those aged 12-15. 

The recommendation for those aged 12-15 at greater risk of serious COVID-19, or who are household contacts of severely immunosuppressed individuals, remains that they be offered two. Those that have specific immunosuppressive condition as set out in JCVI guidance should have three doses in their primary schedule.   

The vaccine is safe, quick and effective. It does not give people the COVID-19 virus and does not contain any animal products. 

This group are the latest to become eligible for the life-saving jab. More than 88% of adults aged over 18 have had both doses, and more than 56% of 16- and 17-year-olds have now received a first dose (matching JCVI’s current recommendation) since this group were invited in mid-August. With the number of sites available to 16- and 17-year-olds growing all the time, it has never been easier for people in that age group to get a jab at a time and place convenient for them.

Children do not need to be registered with a GP or have an NHS number to be vaccinated.

This year, the school aged flu vaccine has also been extended so that as well as children in primary school and year 7, it will now be offered to those in years 8 to 11. 

So most secondary school aged children will be eligible for both flu and COVID-19 vaccinations this winter, to protect themselves and those around them. We hope that as many as possible will come forward to get both vaccinations when they are invited. 

Who will be responsible for giving the COVID-19 vaccine to healthy 12- to 15-year-olds?

Vaccination will be carried out by school-aged immunisation service (SAIS) providers, a group of provider organisations such as NHS community trusts who are contracted in local systems to provide routine immunisation services such as flu.

What will be the role of schools? 

Schools will have three main roles, similar to those in other vaccination programmes:

  1. provide information to their SAIS provider on which children on their roll are eligible for the vaccine
  2. share information that the SAIS provider needs parents and children to have
  3. provide the space within school, and the time away from the timetable, to enable vaccinations to take place

Who gives consent for COVID-19 vaccination – and how? 

As with all vaccinations, a consent form and information leaflet provided by the SAIS team will be used to seek consent from parents or those with parental responsibility. Parents will also be provided with a contact number for the SAIS team in case of any queries. Consent forms should be returned by the deadline agreed with the team.

Some children may be sufficiently mature to provide their own consent if their parents have not returned a consent form and they express a wish to have a vaccine on the day of the session. Trained professionals in the SAIS team, with expertise in vaccinating children and assessing consent, will speak to the child to assess intelligence, competence and understanding to fully appreciate what's involved in their treatment, to determine appropriateness of administering the vaccine. This will include making every effort to contact the parent to seek their verbal consent and an assessment of the individual child’s capacity to self-consent, where appropriate.

Will school-based vaccination be available for children within a few weeks of their twelfth birthday

No children under the age of 12 can yet receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Pfizer-BioNTech BNT162b2 (Comirnaty®) is the only vaccine currently authorised for those aged 12-15. This vaccination is licensed only for children aged 12 and above, so only children who are 12 on or before the date of vaccination will be vaccinated.

Will school-based vaccination be available for 16-17.75 year olds?

Alternatives are available for children aged 16-17.75. There are a range of convenient walk-in centres available to them, and they will shortly be able to book using the National Booking System.

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 NHS.uk website
  • You can request an NHS Covid-19 pass letter from the NHS.uk 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 nhs.uk 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 (www.gov.uk)

How will you get an appointment?

  • If you are registered with a GP in Salford, you will be sent a letter, a SMS or called by a staff member from Salford City Council
  • If you live in Salford but are registered with a practice outside the borough you will be contacted by representatives from that area
  • If you are called, the caller will identify themselves and say they are calling on behalf of the NHS in Salford and they are getting in touch about booking an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine

How to book your vaccination appointment online, if contacted?

  • If you are contacted by letter or text to book your first COVID-19 vaccine appointment, you can do this by visiting https://salford.nhsvaccinations.co.uk.
  • You can only book your first vaccine online with the Salford vaccination service. For your second dose, you will be contacted by the local team either by text or letter with your appointment details.

How do I get an appointment at the super-centre vaccination centre?

  • NHS England is writing and sending texts to all residents in the eligible cohorts inviting them to attend a super-centre for their COVID-19 vaccine. Greater Manchester's super-centre is based at the Etihad Campus in Manchester.

You have received a letter/SMS from NHS England to attend a super-centre but would like to attend a local centre?

  • If you have received one of the NHS England letters or an SMS, but you would rather have your jab at a vaccination centre based in your local community, please remain patient and you will be contacted shortly by the local NHS vaccination team in Salford.
  • The purpose of the super-centre vaccination service is to offer patients additional choice in where they are vaccinated.

How will I know it’s my turn to have the Covid-19 vaccine?

  • The NHS will let you know when it’s your turn to have the vaccine. Please only contact the NHS to arrange your vaccine appointment if you’ve been advised to do so. Once you have received a letter, email or text you can book your appointment online at your choice of vaccination site so that it’s convenient for you. Those who can’t access the online booking service can call 119 to book an appointment.

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?

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?

Yes, if they are in a priority group identified by JCVI. The MHRA have looked at this and 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 in the preceding 4 weeks should postpone vaccination until:

  • clinical recovery and at least four weeks after onset of symptoms, or
  • four weeks from the first PCR positive specimen in those who are asymptomatic.

Are there any known or anticipated 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 symptoms after the first dose, it is still vital the person returns for their second dose
  • Very common side effects include:
    • Having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness 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
  • As with all vaccines, appropriate treatment and care will be available in case of a rare anaphylactic event following administration

What to expect after vaccination?

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

  • Every single vaccine authorised for use in the UK has been assessed for safety by the MHRA. Millions of people have already received the COVID-19 vaccine. The MHRA operates the Yellow Card scheme on behalf of the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM). The scheme collects and monitors information on suspected safety concerns and relies on voluntary reporting of suspected adverse incidents by healthcare professionals and members of the public (users, patients and healthcare professionals). You can find out more at yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk

How do you monitor for problems, such as injuries or allergic reactions?

  • Each COVID-19 vaccine candidate is assessed on a case-by-case basis and will only be approved by the independent regulator, the MHRA, once it has met robust standards of effectiveness, safety and quality. Right through the tests and the trials, teams of scientists and clinicians carefully, methodically, scientifically rigorously review all data on safety, effectiveness and quality as soon as they become available.
  • The independent expert working group have supported MHRA proposals for a proactive safety monitoring strategy. This comprises the Yellow Card scheme and a special active monitoring programme which we are inviting people to join. 
  • Approved COVID-19 vaccines will be monitored continuously after roll out by the MHRA and PHE to ensure that the benefit of the vaccines continues to outweigh any risk.
  • You can report suspected side effects to COVID-19 vaccines through the Coronavirus Yellow Card reporting portal https://coronavirus-yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/
  • The MHRA will work in collaboration with partners in the health system to rapidly assess all available safety data in real time and communicate any emerging issues, as necessary.

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 in 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 in the vaccine clinic. You may be referred to the Allergy Centre at Wythenshawe Hospital.

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.
  • It is important that you tell staff in the vaccination centre if you have had anaphylaxis to a vaccine. This will minimise the risk of a serious reaction. If you have a serious reaction to the first dose of the vaccine, it may not be suitable for you to receive the second dose.

Does the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine causes blood clot?

  • Recently there have been reports of an extremely rare condition involving the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots.
  • As a precautionary measure while this is being carefully reviewed, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has now advised that it is preferable for adults aged under 30, who don’t have underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease, to be offered an alternative vaccine when it is their turn to be vaccinated.
  • This condition can also occur naturally, and clotting problems are a common complication of COVID-19 infection.
  • An increased risk has not yet been seen after other COVID-19 vaccines but is being carefully monitored.
  • For people in older age groups, the JCVI has stated that the benefits of prompt vaccination with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine far outweigh the risks.

What will happen to those who had first dose of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine?

  • For those in this age group who have had already their first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and had no adverse reactions, they should still come forward for their second dose when invited.

What why is vaccine trials important?

  • The encouraging news about vaccines is thanks to clinical study participants volunteering to take part and shows the importance of this vaccine research.
  • Clinical trials into the vaccines against COVID-19 continue at pace, and it is essential that these do so. We will need data about a number of vaccines and their safety and effectiveness, in order to protect the population. No one vaccine is likely to be suitable for everyone, the first vaccine may not be the most effective and easiest to use, and we must make sure that the other studies continue to allow us to have a selection of vaccines to protect the whole population. We are likely to need several vaccines to provide enough doses for everyone at risk, as early as possible.

How many people have taken part in clinical trials and what about ages, ethnic backgrounds and medical conditions?

  • All of the vaccines will be tested on between 15,000 to 50,000 people across the world. They are tested on both men and women, on people from different ethnic backgrounds, and of all ages between 18-84.
  • The studies have also looked as to whether the vaccines work on people with certain medical conditions and in older people, as their immune responses can work less effectively and therefore give them less protection through vaccines. As a result of this testing on a representative sample of the population, we can be confident that an approved vaccine will be effective for the wider population in the UK.
  • There will be further studies to look at how best to use the different vaccines, for example, which vaccine is most effective in which individuals and what sized dose is most effective A number of vaccines remain in development, and these may offer benefits over the first approved vaccine/s.
  • All this ongoing research will be vitally important to ensure we get the best protection from the vaccine. Research and vaccine development will not end with the first approved vaccine - there will be a process of continuous improvement.

Will people on vaccine trials be able to have a COVID-19 vaccine when available?

  • Yes we will have a process in place so people on vaccine studies are not disadvantaged. People taking part in the vaccine research will still be able to have an approved vaccine when this is available. Taking part in a study is the best way to help effective vaccines to be identified and made available to everyone earlier and may even give you early access to a vaccine later found to be effective.   

Does drinking alcohol effect the vaccine?

  • While a healthy lifestyle, including drinking alcohol within the UK Chief Medical Officers' low risk guidelines, is recommended, there is no consistent evidence that low and moderate levels of alcohol impair the immune system, in fact the evidence is mixed with some studies suggesting enhancement of biological markers of immune functioning and other studies suggesting otherwise. Please find the review of: Moderate alcohol consumption and the immune system.
  • Specifically, 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.
  • It’s clearly advisable not to be intoxicated at time of vaccination to be able to give consent, receive post-vaccination advice, and to avoid confusing the effects of heavy drinking (like a bad hangover) with vaccine adverse events. But drinking alcohol is not a contraindication to vaccination; there is no vaccine-related safety concern.
  • People who meet the eligibility criteria for vaccination and who drink heavily but cannot cut down on consumption, should not be deterred from vaccination. In fact, they should be encouraged to get vaccinated as they are likely to be particularly clinically vulnerable to catching COVID-19 and having severe infection, particularly if they have underlying alcohol associated liver disease and poorer immunity to infection. They will likely benefit from vaccination, as it is better they get some protection against COVID-19 rather than none at all.

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, but normally separated by at least a week.
  • Likewise, the COVID-19 vaccine will not protect against the flu. 

I have not had the flu jab, can I have the COVID vaccine?

  • Yes but you are strongly encouraged to have your flu vaccine first. There should be a minimum of a 7-day interval between the flu and COVID-19 vaccine. This is so that side effects can be attributed to the appropriate vaccine.

What are vaccine record cards?

Why are some patients receiving COVID-19 vaccination 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.
  • All vaccinations are recorded on the patient’s record with their GP.

Where else will the vaccination be recorded?

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

 Are you introducing vaccine passports?  

  • We have no plans to introduce immunity passports following this vaccination programme.

Last updated 10 September 2021