Covid-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions
The NHS vaccination programme continues to make strong progress. Thanks to the thousands of people involved, the NHS has now offered vaccines to everyone aged 18 and over as well as millions of health and social care workers, unpaid carers and people at higher clinical risk.
People aged 18 and over are now able to have their vaccine at one of the large vaccination centres or community pharmacy options. This can be arranged by contacting the national booking service at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by calling 119 anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week.
Appointments are regularly added to this system, and if people are unable to book a slot at their preferred location, we would ask them to please try again later when more appointments have been added.
Below are some of the most common questions and answers gathered across the whole of the Humber region, to help you with any queries or concerns you have around the COVID-19 vaccine.
Is the NHS confident the vaccines are safe?
Yes. The NHS will not offer any Covid-19 vaccinations to the public until independent experts have signed off that it is safe to do so.
The vaccines approved for use in the UK have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Any COVID-19 vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through. The MHRA follows international standards of safety.
Other vaccines are being developed. They will only be available on the NHS once they have been thoroughly tested to make sure they are safe and effective.
So far, millions of people have been given a COVID-19 vaccine and reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions or clotting problems, have been very rare.
To find out more about the vaccines approved in the UK, see:
- GOV.UK: Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 approved by MHRA
- GOV.UK: Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 approved by MHRA
- GOV.UK: Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 approved by MHRA
Are there any side effects?
These are important details which the MHRA always consider when assessing candidate vaccines for use.
For these vaccines, like lots of others, they have identified that some people might feel slightly unwell, but they report that no significant side effects have been observed in the tens of thousands of people involved in trials.
Most side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are mild and should not last longer than a week, such as: a sore arm where the needle went in, feeling tired, a headache, feeling achy, or feeling or being sick.
All patients will be provided with information on the vaccine they have received, how to look out for any side effects, and what to do if they do occur, including reporting them to the MHRA.
More information on possible side effects can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/
Advice if you're of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding
There have been no specific safety concerns identified with any brand of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines in relation to pregnancy, but as a precaution until recently the advice has been that only those women who are at high risk of the virus – either due to where they work or a pre-existing medical condition -
Real-world data from the United States shows 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 this data, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) now advises that pregnant women in the UK should be offered the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines where available, and that they should be invited in line with their age like the rest of the population.
There is no evidence to suggest that the Oxford/AstraZeneca or other vaccines are unsafe for pregnant women, but more research is needed before they can be offered routinely.
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.
More information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/jcvi-issues-new-advice-on-covid-19-vaccination-for-pregnant-women
You can have the COVID-19 vaccine if you're breastfeeding.
Reports of extremely rare blood clots
The MHRA is carrying out a detailed review of reports of an extremely rare blood clotting problem affecting a small number of people who have had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. The problem can also happen in people who have not been vaccinated and it's not yet clear why it affects some people.
The benefits of having the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the risks for the vast majority of people. Trials have shown that no-one who received the Oxford vaccine was hospitalised or became seriously ill due to Covid.
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 outweigh any risk of clotting problems. Public Health England have published a guide for people who are worried about having their second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
For people under 40 without other health conditions, it's currently advised that it's preferable to have another COVID-19 vaccine instead of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
All those who have had a first dose of the AZ vaccination should have a second dose of the AZ vaccine unless they have experienced clotting from the first dose.
Find out more about COVID-19 vaccination and blood clotting at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-and-blood-clotting/covid-19-vaccination-and-blood-clotting
Can people pick what vaccine they want?
You will not be given a choice of vaccine, however all of the approved COVID-19 vaccines have been shown to be safe and offer high levels of protection. Both vaccines prevent serious illness and reduce the risk of hospitalisation.
How is the NHS ensuring that the vaccine won't be wasted?
The NHS plans are based around ensuring that waste is minimised. For example, this includes grouping vaccinations in one GP practice or high-volume sites on behalf of a few Primary Care Networks or GP surgeries, and ensuring that the numbers of people each facility is able to see is in line with the stock they receive.
To help us avoid any vaccine going to waste, we would encourage everybody who is invited by the NHS to do everything they can to attend their appointment at the vaccination site they are offered. At times, where necessary and to minimise Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine wastage, people in the next JCVI priority patient cohorts may also be offered a vaccination at short notice.
Who gets the vaccine first?
People are being vaccinated according to priority order set by the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which published its detailed advice here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/priority-groups-for-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-advice-from-the-jcvi-30-december-2020
In the first phase of the programme the JCVI recommended that the NHS offers vaccines to those at highest risk of catching the infection and of suffering serious complications if they catch the infection. This includes older adults, frontline health and social care workers, care home residents and staf, and those with certain clinical conditions.
In East Riding of Yorkshire, and across the wider Humber, Coast and Vale region, we successfully met the government target and have offered all of those within the nine priority groups a first dose of the vaccine.
The vaccine is now being offered to people at lower risk from the complications of COVID-19. You are still at risk of catching the infection and passing it on to others. For most younger people COVID-19 is usually a milder illness that rarely leads to complications. For a few people the symptoms may last for longer than the usual two to three weeks. The vaccination will help to protect you against COVID-19. In the second phase of the programme the vaccine will be offered to those under 50 years old in the following order:
- 40 - 49 years
- 30 - 39 years
- 18 years and over
People aged 18 and over are now able to have their vaccine at one of the large vaccination centres or community pharmacy options. This can be arranged by contacting the national booking service at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by calling 119 anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week.
The booking system allows patients to pick a convenient location and time. The phone line can get very busy, so please try to ring later in the day if you can’t get through straight away. British Sign Language, text relay and interpreter services are available. Appointments are regularly added to this system, and if people are unable to book a slot at their preferred location, we would ask them to please try again later when more appointments have been added.
Alternatively, if travelling to one of the sites available via the national booking system is difficult, people can choose to wait until their local GP-led vaccination services contact them to have their vaccine closer to home.
If a household has a priority group member, such as an NHS frontline worker or vulnerable person, will everyone living in that household be vaccinated together?
These decisions are for the JCVI. Their current prioritisation plan does not include household members of NHS staff or clinically vulnerable people automatically – although in some cases family members may be eligible in their own right.
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.
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.
Click here for more vaccine FAQs for students, including international students.
Vaccine services locations and progress so far
Where are vaccination sites in my local area?
- East Riding of Yorkshire: Brough Surgery, Church View Surgery, Bartholomew Medical Practice, Alfred Bean Hospital, Beverley Race Course, Humber Trust Headquarters and Medical Centre Bridlington - Practice 3
- Hull: KCOM Stadium, Alf Marshall Community Centre, Diadem Medical Practice, East Hull Family Practice and Kingswood Medical Centre
- North East Lincolnshire: Beacon Medical, Pilgrim Primary Care Centre, Scartho Medical Centre, Open Door
- North Lincolnshire: Cedar Medical Practice, Riverside Surgery, South Axholme Practice and The Central Surgery Barton
- North Yorkshire: Central Healthcare (Lawrence House), Derwent Practice, Filey Surgery, The Forum (Northallerton), Tennants Auction House (Layburn), The Pavillion (Harrogate) and Whitby Pavillion
- Vale of York: Haxby Health Centre, Pickering Medical Practice, Posterngate Surgery, Tadcaster Health Centre and Askham Bar Park and Ride
You do not need to contact your local GP to ask for the vaccine. They will let you know when it’s your turn.
How were these local vaccination sites chosen?
GP Practices are working together through their Primary Care Networks (PCNs) and each PCN has one designated site that has been approved by NHS England for administering the vaccination for patients across all of their practices. We would encourage everybody who is contacted by their local GP practice, and is able to do so, to attend the vaccination centre they are offered. However, we acknowledge that, for some patients, travelling to some centres is more difficult than for others and a small number of patients may therefore be offered a vaccination at their local GP practice when it is clinically safe and possible to do so, although patients may have to wait for supply of the right type of vaccine.
Where are the hospital hub sites?
- Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
- Humber NHS Teaching Foundation Trust
- Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust
- Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust
- York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
You might be contacted to have the vaccination at a hospital hub as an inpatient or outpatient. If you have had your first jab, you will be contacted about getting your second.
Where are the nearest large vaccination sites?
- Hull City Hall in Hull
- Askham Bar Park and Ride in York
- Scunthorpe Baths Hall, Doncaster Road, Scunthorpe
Why can’t I get an appointment at the nearest vaccination centre?
The large vaccination centres are vaccinating thousands of people every day, however varying supply of the vaccine is an issue we’ve had to manage from the beginning of the programme. This is the limiting factor on how many people we can vaccinate in a week. As appointments become available they are uploaded onto the national booking system but we are aware that slots are getting filled very quickly, once all of the available appointment slots have been booked you might need to wait a short while before trying to book at your local centre again. Please be patient we are vaccinating more and more people every week and as expected vaccine supply increases in March, we're planning for further acceleration as we head towards Easter.
Where are the nearest pharmacy hubs?
- Marton Road Pharmacy, 151 Marton Road, Bridlington
- BA Whittle Chemist, 130 Newbegin, Hornsea
- The Courtyard, Boothferry Road, Goole
- Market Weighton Community Hall, 2 Station Road, Market Weighton
- Lloyds Pharmacy, Unit 3 The Viking Centre, Middle Street North, Driffield
- Hull Late Night Pharmacy, 124-127 Witham, Hull
- Orchard 2000 Pharmacy, 480 Hall Road, Hull
- Sutton Manor Pharmacy, St Ives Close, Wawne Road, Hull
- Broughton Pharmacy, 27 Brooklands Avenue, Brigg
- Ancora Healthcare Limited in Scunthorpe
- Birkwood Pharmacy, Primary Care Centre, Grimsby
- Cottingham Pharmacy, 342 Wellington Street, Grimsby
- Drugs4Delivery, Unit 4, Acorn Business Park, Moss Road, Grimsby
- Periville Pharmacy, 9 Wingate Parage, Grimsby
- Centre4 Limited, 17a Wooton Road, Grimsby
- Boots, 43 Friargate, Grimsby
- Boots, 100-101 Westborough, Scarborough
- Citywide Health COVID Vaccination Clinic, 6 Wyre Court, Haxby
- The Priory Pharmacy, Cornlands Road, York
This list is correct as of 28 May 2021. The information on local vaccination services and hospital hubs is published and regularly updated on the NHS England website www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/vaccination-sites/
Why have I received a letter inviting me to a large vaccination centre when there is a local site near me?
People who are eligible and haven’t already been vaccinated may receive a letter to book an appointment in a large vaccination centre – either online or by phone. If you can’t travel to one of these, or there is another reason you can’t book an appointment, you can choose to wait until the local GP service contacts you. The number of locations will increase over the coming months.
How will I be invited to have my vaccine?
People in the priority groups are being contacted by the NHS in a range of ways to book an appointment.
- People may receive a letter from the National NHS Vaccination Booking Service offering them to book their vaccine with the national system at a nearby vaccination centre or a community pharmacy. If you have not already got an appointment elsewhere, you can book in this way. This however does not exclude you from the local general practice/Primary Care Network (PCN) invitations for vaccination.
- If you are unable to travel to one of the locations offered by the national letter or cannot book this way, then you can choose to wait until the local GP/PCN service contacts you. They will contact people in the eligible groups separately and invite them to book an appointment under the local booking system.
- People do not need to contact their GP as they will be contacted when it’s their turn. If you are in one of these groups you will be contacted by phone by either your own practice or somebody working on their behalf.
- If you receive a letter from the NHS to book with the national system and you already have an appointment booked with the local GP service then please ignore the letter and keep your existing appointment.
What is the progress so far, how many people have been vaccinated in our area?
The latest figures and data on the national and local progress of the vaccination programme is published daily but the NHS England on their website Statistics » COVID-19 Vaccinations (england.nhs.uk)
I’m worried about attending a vaccination appointment and having to queue with lots of people. How are you maintaining social distancing?
Our covid-19 vaccination programme is well underway and we know people are eager to get to their appointment. However, in order for us to maintain social distancing, space on some of our sites is more limited than normal. We are keeping to time but some people are arriving early for their appointment and unfortunately, in some cases, have to wait outside, which is something we wish to avoid. Please help us keep you safe and warm by arriving on time for your appointment, not early.
Is it true that vaccines supplies in the North East and Yorkshire region might be reduced?
This is an NHS England decision. To ensure all of those people in the top priority groups can get vaccinated quickly, targeted deliveries are being made to areas where there are more people left to vaccinate in the priority cohorts.
While deliveries of the vaccine to local sites will vary in line with available supply, crucially each region of the country is getting a fair share of doses for them to get priority groups of people vaccinated, as advised by the JCVI. Because communities vary hugely in size and demographics, areas yet to vaccinate the most at-risk groups of people are being targeted with the doses they now need, to get priority cohorts protected.
Vaccine ingredients and specifics
Does the vaccine include any parts from foetal or animal origin?
No. There is no material of foetal or animal origin in either vaccine. All ingredients are published in healthcare information on the MHRA’s website.
For the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulatory-approval-of-pfizer-biontech-vaccine-for-covid-19
For the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulatory-approval-of-covid-19-vaccine-astrazeneca
The Muslim Council of Britain has also circulated BIMA’s position statement on the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines, which states they contain no animal products or human embryo cells
Is the vaccine halal?
The British Islamic Medical Association have produced a helpful guide for the Muslim community which can be found at https://britishima.org/pfizer-biontech-covid19-vaccine. There are no animal products in either of the vaccines.
Is the vaccine vegan?
There are no animal products in either of the vaccines. The laws and regulatory agencies worldwide currently require that new drugs and treatments are tested on animals before clinical trials on humans. The Vegan Society issued a statement on the COVID-19 vaccine which can be read in full by going to www.vegansociety.com/news/news/vegan-society-response-covid-19-vaccine
An extract from the statement reads: “The definition of veganism recognises that it is not always possible or practicable to avoid animal use, which is particularly relevant to medical situations. In the case of Covid-19, vaccination will play a fundamental role in tackling the pandemic and saving lives. As all vaccines currently are tested on animals, at this stage it is impossible to have a vaccine that has been created without animal use.”
Can the vaccine alter your genetic material?
There is no evidence to suggest that individual genetic material will undergo an alteration after receiving the vaccine.
I have allergies, can I have the vaccine?
COVID vaccines are safe and effective for the vast majority of people – they have been tested on tens of thousands of people and assessed by experts.
Any person with a history of immediate-onset anaphylaxis to the ingredients contained in the vaccines should not receive them.
Checking for allergies is a routine part of the process before giving any vaccine or new medicine. Having these conversations – as well as being able to deal with allergic reactions in the rare case they do happen, is a central part of training for vaccinators. Please speak to the vaccinating clinician about any of your concerns.
Does the vaccine work on those taking immune suppressants?
Although the vaccine was not tested on those with very serious immunological conditions, the vaccine has been proven to be very effective and it is unlikely that the vaccine will have no effect at all on these individuals.
There may be a very small number of people with very complex or severe immunological problems who can’t make any response at all – but the vaccine should not do any harm to these individuals. Individuals meeting these criteria may want to discuss the vaccine further with their specialist doctor.
I am pregnant/planning to have a baby. Should I get the vaccine?
The MHRA have updated their guidance to say that pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding can have the vaccine but should discuss it with a clinician to ensure that the benefits outweigh any potential risks.
Should I be worried about the impact of Covid-19 vaccines on fertility?
No. Both the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives are reassuring women that there is no evidence to suggest that Covid-19 vaccines will affect fertility. Women who are eligible for the vaccination should discuss any concerns with a clinician. You can read more about this on the Royal College website.
Travel to vaccination sites
I am housebound. How can I get my vaccine?
We are planning a mixed approach in Humber Coast and Vale area to ensure that people who are eligible can get the vaccine safely. For care home residents and housebound people, this will involve roving community teams coming to them. *****In a change to the previous message, if you are in a care home or housebound and have not yet been contacted, please contact the NHS to book a vaccination*****
I have received a letter to have my vaccine at a vaccination centre in York but I’d struggle to travel there. Can I have my vaccine somewhere closer to home?
If you’d struggle to get to a large vaccination centre you still have an option to have your vaccine arranged through your local GP practice network. They will contact you about it separately. You do not need to contact your local GP to ask for the vaccine. They will let you know when it’s your turn.
The NHS will follow up with people that haven’t booked their appointment, as a reminder.
Where and when will I receive my second dose?
The first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine should give you good protection from coronavirus. But you need to have the second doses of the vaccine to give you longer lasting protection. You will have the second dose 3 to 12 weeks after having the first dose. You will be offered an appointment to have your second vaccine dose at the same location you received your first dose.
Further information regarding second doses is available from www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/covid-19-vaccination-programme-faqs-on-second-doses. This includes details on location and interval period for second doses.
I am shielding - what support is available to me and when will I get my vaccine?
Shielding is currently paused. Although the advice to shield has ended, clinically extremely vulnerable people must continue to follow the rules that are in place for everyone.
The Government also advises clinically extremely vulnerable people to continue to take extra precautions to protect themselves. Read Public Health England's guidance on shielding and protecting extremely vulnerable persons from covid-19.
In the East Riding area, a community response hub has been established to co-ordinate help and support which could include asking for prescriptions or essential food items to be picked up or just a simple telephone call. The dedicated telephone number is (01482) 393919 and is operational between 9am-9pm Monday to Friday and 9am-6pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Email requests are also available through email@example.com
Health and social care worker vaccination programme
Why are healthcare workers amongst the first groups to receive the vaccine?
The JCVI have put patient-facing health and social care staff into a priority group because of their heightened risk of exposure to the virus. Employers have been asked to offer the vaccine to the most at risk healthcare workers first. With many more doses now expected over the coming weeks, employers will be widening this out and protecting staff as soon as possible.
The NHS is experienced in vaccinating staff quickly and safely. The Humber, Coast and Vale vaccination programme office is working with local NHS and health and social care employers to offer all eligible staff the opportunity to take it up over the coming weeks and months.
Who is included in the health and social care cohort?
The health and social care cohort includes:
- Staff employed by the NHS
- Social care staff employed by local authority
- Third sector/private organisations
- Privately employed individuals
- Private contractors/individual practitioners
- Large national/regional organisations
More information is available from the Green Book www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-the-green-book-chapter-14a
I’m a healthcare and/or social worker why haven't I been contacted about my vaccine yet?
While the NHS in Humber, Coast and Vale is committed to ensuring that all of the health and social care workforce receive their vaccination, a programme of this size will take time, considering the number of provider organisations and individual practitioners.
We are working to capture all eligible organisations in Humber Coast and Vale and offer them vaccines in hospital hubs, GP practices or via vaccination centres. This will include social care staff, services commissioned by the local authority, primary care contractors, services commissioned by Clinical Commissioning Groups, independent contractors, single practitioners, locums, directly employed personal assistants, other groups providing direct care, funeral directors and other groups identified in the Green Book.
Please note that we estimate that this cohort includes over 100,000 individuals across thousands of organisations in our area, so we would ask you to remain patient while we’re working through large numbers of eligible professionals. Your employer will let you know when it's your turn to have the vaccine.
Independently self-employed individuals who fit the JCVI criteria for health and social care staff, can email our programme office at firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be contacted in the near future.
My child is in one of the eligible groups. How do I arrange his/her vaccination?
If your child is in one of the new groups recommended for vaccination by the JCVI, you will be contacted by the NHS before then to arrange for your child’s vaccinations.
16 and 17 year olds are being contacted directly by letter, followed up by text messages from 20 August.
If your child is within three months of turning 18, they will be invited directly to book an appointment via the National Booking Service at the appropriate time and may also be invited via local vaccination services.
There is no need for individuals to approach their GP or other local NHS services before they receive a letter or text. Those age 16 to 17¾ will not be able to use the National Booking Service, although they can find a convenient walk-in site near to where they live at www.nhs.uk/grab-a-jab.
How do I know the vaccine is safe for my child?
The JCVI has reviewed extensive clinical evidence for the safety of giving the COVID-19 vaccine to children and young people in the eligible groups and have determined it to be safe and effective. The JCVI has determined that the benefit of vaccinating children in these groups outweighs the risks.
Which type of COVID-19 vaccination should 16-17 year olds be offered?
The Pfizer-BioNTech BNT162b2 vaccine is the only vaccine authorised for those aged 16 and 17¾. At this time, JCVI advises that 16-17 year olds should be offered a first dose only. (alongside the existing offer of two doses of vaccine to 16 to 17 year olds who are in “at risk” groups).
What about a second vaccine?
It is anticipated that a second dose will be offered later on, to increase the level of protection and contribute towards longer term protection. This will follow further work on effectiveness and safety in this age group, after which the JCVI will provide further guidance on whether a second vaccine dose should be offered to healthy 16 to 17 year-olds. This is expected to be made before second doses are due at approximately 12 weeks after the first dose.
Young people who are called as part of the 16-17 year old programme and receive their first dose above the age of 17 years and 40 weeks may be scheduled to receive their second dose after an interval of at least eight weeks, as part of the “turning 18 programme”.
Are any children under 16 eligible for a vaccine?
As well as 16-18 year olds, the following groups of children and young people are also eligible, following previous JCVI advice:
- 12-15-year olds ‘at risk’ with the underlying health conditions specified below:
- severe neuro-disabilities,
- Down’s Syndrome,
- underlying conditions resulting in immunosuppression, and
- those with profound and multiple learning disabilities, severe learning disabilities or who are on the learning disability register
- Children aged 12 years and older without underlying medical conditions who are household contacts of individuals (adults or children) who are immunosuppressed.
My child is not in one of the eligible groups. When will they be able to be vaccinated?
There are no current plans to vaccinate children and young people outside of the eligible groups. However, the JCVI is continually reviewing evidence on this matter and will advise the Government if it decides that a change of approach is required.
Why is the NHS only vaccinating some children and young people against COVID-19, and not all?
The NHS vaccinates in line with guidance from the independent JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation), which provides expert advice on vaccinations to UK health departments. The JCVI recommends that only certain groups of children and young people are vaccinated because of a combination of factors including their risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus, passing it to others who may become seriously ill, and evidence of safety and effectiveness.