COVID-19 vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

The Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Groups published an article in local newspapers, providing the answers to the common questions people have asked about the COVID-19 vaccine.

You can read the article by visiting https://3xmatc1p0cnc3crfv93ovogp-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Vaccine_Ready_final_02.02.21_340-x-265mm.pdf

COVID: Under 30s Vaccination guide

https://www.lhmp.co.uk/phe_covid-19_az_vaccination_guide/

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I book my first dose vaccination?

First dose vaccination appointments are available at various sites across LLR.

Appointments can be booked by calling 119

or by booking on the national booking website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/

or by visiting https://www.leicestercityccg.nhs.uk/my-health/coronavirus-advice/coronavirus-vaccine/

When will I get my vaccine?

The NHS is vaccinating people in priority order.  The priority groups have been determined by the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations:

  1. residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
  2. all those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
  3. all those 75 years of age and over
  4. all those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
  5. all those 65 years of age and over
  6. all individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
  7. all those 60 years of age and over
  8. all those 55 years of age and over
  9. all those 50 years of age and over

To find out which priority groups of patients are currently being offered the vaccination click here.

How will I know it is my turn to get the vaccine?

Patients registered with GP practices will be invited to attend an appointment to be vaccinated by telephone, letter or text message.

Please check our latest information on the vaccination programme in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland click here.

I am aged over 56 and have not yet had my first vaccine dose, what should I do?

You can now contact the NHS to book your vaccine.  You can book online or call 119 free of change between 7am and 11pm.

How will I know my invitation to be vaccinated is legitimate?

In the UK, coronavirus vaccines will only be available via the NHS.

You can be contacted by the NHS, your employer, a GP surgery or pharmacy local to you, to receive your vaccine. Remember, the vaccine is free of charge. At no point will you be asked to pay.

– The NHS will never ask you for your bank account or card details.

– The NHS will never ask you for your PIN or banking password.

– The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.

– The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.

If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you believe you have been the victim of fraud or identity theft you should report this directly to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. Where the victim is vulnerable, and particularly if you are worried that someone has or might come to your house, report it to the Police online or by calling 101.

I am not registered with a GP practice, does that matter?

Only patients registered with a GP practice will be invited for a vaccination. If you are not currently registered with a practice, you are encouraged to do so as soon as possible. https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/gps/how-to-register-with-a-gp-surgery/

What can I do if I do not have transport to get to the vaccination centre?

If you are unable to get to the vaccine centre you can speak to your usual GP practice, and ask if they can make a referral for you to the NHS Volunteer Responders Scheme. There are volunteers offering transport through this scheme.

I am housebound and unable to go to a vaccine centre, how will I get the vaccine?

Patients who are housebound are being offered the vaccine at home. If you have not yet been contacted, please speak to  your GP practice, to make sure that they know you are housebound and to find out when you will receive the vaccine.

How do I know if I meet the criteria for this priority group? – All individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality.

Read more about who is at higher risk here  

If this describes you, you can book your vaccine appointment now. For instructions on how to book click here.

The Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations gives a list of health conditions that relate to this priority group. Please refer to: “Persons with underlying health conditions” in this document

Further advice on risk groups, including clear definitions, are set out in the Green Book – Immunisation Against Infectious Disease.

I am an unpaid carer – I look after someone who is clinically vulnerable. When can I get the vaccine?

The Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations states that: “those who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill, should also be offered vaccination alongside these groups.”

If this describes you, you can book your vaccine appointment now. For instructions on how to book click here.

Please refer to: “Persons with underlying health conditions” in this document.

What should I do if I miss my appointment?

If you cannot attend for your vaccine appointment, please contact your usual GP practice to rearrange your appointment.

What vaccine for Covid-19 is currently available?

The Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines are currently both available. Both vaccines have been shown to be safe and offer high levels of protection and have been given regulatory approval by the MHRA. The Moderna vaccine has also been approved but it is not expected to be available in the UK until the Spring of 2021 at the earliest.

Can you choose which vaccine you have?

The Pfizer/BioNTech and AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccines are being rolled out at the same time. There are no current plans to mix these vaccines. If your first dose is the Pfizer vaccine you should not be given the AstraZeneca vaccine for your second dose and vice versa. Both Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca are very effective vaccines. Both vaccines have been approved because they pass the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) tests on safety and efficacy, so people should be assured that whatever vaccine they get will be highly effective and protect them from Coronavirus.

How long does the vaccine take to become effective?

The Covid-19 vaccination will reduce the chance of you suffering from Covid-19 disease. The short-term (after 3 weeks) vaccine efficacy from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is calculated at around 90% and around 70% for Oxford AstraZeneca, with high protection against severe disease.  As a comparison the annual flu vaccination is on average effective against 40% of influenza virus.

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

Yes. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine, or any other vaccine, is an important medical appointment and so is within the rules wherever you live. Vaccinations will continue as normal in all areas through the national lockdown and beyond. If you have booked or are offered an appointment, please attend it.

The place that you choose to have your vaccine will keep you safe from COVID-19 through a range of measures including cleaning and disinfecting and having social distancing in waiting areas. Please also wear a face covering to your appointment. You should also take the usual steps to minimise your risk as you travel to your appointment.

I received a letter from the NHS inviting me to book an appointment for my vaccine but when I went online there weren’t any options nearby

If you have received a letter from the NHS nationally inviting you to book your vaccine please don’t worry if you are struggling to get through on the phone or have gone online and find that the sites on offer are too far to travel to.

Mass vaccination sites have been set up along with a number of pharmacy sites and are running seven days a week alongside local GP-led vaccinations with the aim of offering as many options to people as possible to get vaccinated.

If you don’t want to attend one of these sites, you don’t have to. You will still be able to have your vaccine from the local GP-led service and will be contacted directly by your GP practice in the coming weeks.

You will have received the letter because when it was sent your medical records did not show that you have received the vaccine.  If you have received the vaccine or if you already have an appointment there is no need to answer the letter or book another appointment.

Why do I have to go to a different centre rather than my GP surgery to get vaccinated?

Due to the complexity of organising a programme on this scale, a national decision was made that GP practices had to work together in groups to deliver the programme. The combined resources and expertise means that we are better able to ensure social distancing which has made the process safer for both patients and staff.

Can I just get my jab from my pharmacist like I did for flu?

At present, we are mainly giving vaccinations at our GP-led vaccination centres.  However, some community pharmacies are beginning to offer the vaccine with more set to offer the vaccine in the coming weeks. You must still wait to be contacted by the NHS inviting you for a vaccine. Please do not contact your pharmacy asking about the vaccine.

I am a frontline health/care worker – how do I get the vaccine?  

Read our guide to the covid vaccine for health and social care staff.

I think I should be on the vulnerable list due to my health condition but I’ve not had a letter asking me to shield. What should I do?

The government in their announcement on 4 January, have reinstated shielding for those who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable.  GPs have collated lists of patients in each practice that are classed as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV). You can find out more about who is classed as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable here. If you think that you should be on this list, you will need to contact your GP in the first instance to query if you should be listed as CEV.

What about children under 16 who are clinically extremely vulnerable?

The vaccine is not yet available for anyone under 16 and further testing is ongoing for this age group. We therefore have to wait for more national guidance on the vaccination programme for children.

Who cannot have the vaccine?

People with a history of significant allergic reactions to medicines, food or vaccine should not receive the vaccination.  If you have a history of allergies please mention this before you have a vaccination.

The Covid-19 vaccination is not recommended for women who are pregnant.

However, the JCVI has amended its previous precautionary advice on Covid-19 vaccines and pregnancy or breastfeeding.

The new advice sets out that vaccination with either vaccine in pregnancy should be considered where the risk of exposure SARS-CoV2 infection is high and cannot be avoided, or where the woman has underlying conditions that place her at very high risk of serious complications of Covid-19, and the risks and benefits of vaccination should be discussed.

The vaccine should only be considered for use in pregnancy when the potential benefits outweigh any potential risks for the mother and baby. Women should discuss the benefits and risks of having the vaccine with their healthcare professional and reach a joint decision based on individual circumstances. Women who are breastfeeding can also be given the vaccine.

Those who are trying to become pregnant do not need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination, and breastfeeding women may be offered vaccination with either vaccine following consideration of the woman’s clinical need for immunisation against COVID-19. The UK Chief Medical Officers agree with this advice.

People who are suffering from a fever-type illness should also postpone having the vaccine until they have recovered.

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. 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.

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

People currently unwell and experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine until they have recovered.  Please discuss this with your GP but do not book an appointment if you or someone you live with has COVID.

Should people who have already had  Covid or are suffering from ‘Long Covid’ 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, including those who have mild residual symptoms. Where people are suffering significant ongoing complications from Covid they should discuss whether or not to have a vaccine now with a clinician.

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, you still need to have the second dose. You may not be protected until at least seven days after your second dose of the vaccine.

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.

I have had my flu vaccine, do I need the COVID-19 vaccine as well?

The flu vaccine does not protect you from COVID-19. As you are eligible for both vaccines you should have them both, but normally separated by at least a week.

Can I get a vaccine privately? 

No. Vaccinations are only available through the NHS. You can be contacted by the NHS, your employer, or a GP surgery local to you, to receive your vaccine. Remember, the vaccine is free of charge.

Are you introducing vaccine passports? 

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

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.

What’s the situation with vaccinations in care homes?

The COVID-19 vaccine has now been offered to residents at every eligible care home with older residents across England. A small remainder have had their visits deferred local for safety reasons during a local outbreak. Those homes will be visited and vaccinated as soon as NHS staff are allowed to do so.

How is the Covid-19 vaccine given?

The COVID-19 vaccine is given as an injection into your upper arm. It’s given as 2 doses. You will have the 2nd dose 3 to 12 weeks after having the 1st dose.

Frequently Asked Questions link.

Coronavirus (Covid-19) & Flu Clinic

 
Eligible patients should call 119 to book their first dose Covid-19 vaccination. Please do not call the Practice about first dose COVID vaccinations.
 
It is essential that we continue to follow local restrictions as well as public health advice.
 
Please do not attend the Practice unless you have been asked to.