Vaccines and vaccinations
- About COVID-19 vaccines
- Vaccine rollout
- Importance of the COVID-19 vaccines
- Scams and misinformation
- Dosage requirements
- How the vaccines were made so quickly
- Vaccines currently available in Haringey
- Side effects
- Ingredients and cultural beliefs
- Getting the COVID-19 vaccine when unwell
Three COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for use by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), 2 of which are now available to priority groups in Haringey.
The NHS is currently offering the vaccine to:
- people aged 45 and over
- people at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable - external link)
- people who live or work in care homes
- health and social care workers
- people with a condition that puts them at higher risk (clinically vulnerable)
- people with a learning disability
- people who are a main carer for someone at high risk from coronavirus
The vaccine will then be offered more widely in order of age and risk.
For further advice on risk groups, including clear definitions, see GOV.UK:
This is the largest vaccination programme the NHS has ever undertaken and we all have an important part to play in this incredible effort - we ask that you please:
- Make sure you attend your booked appointments if you are invited by the NHS to have the vaccine.
- If you are eligible for the vaccine and have not yet been contacted by the NHS, please book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment:
- online - by visiting the NHS vaccination booking webpage (external link)
- by phone - you can call 119 for free.
- Continue to follow government guidance (external link) to control the spread of the virus and save lives.
See how many people have received a vaccination for COVID-19 in the UK (updated daily):
Getting the COVID-19 vaccination as soon as you are eligible, should protect you and may help to protect your friends, family and loved ones. The COVID-19 vaccine should also help reduce the rates of serious illness and save lives, therefore reducing pressure on the NHS and social care services.
The COVID-19 vaccine is given as an injection into your upper arm. You are required to have two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine up to 12 weeks apart. It may take a week or two for your body to build up some protection from COVID-19 after your first dose, but you need to have the second dose to give you longer-lasting protection.
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 Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the official UK regulator, has established the vaccines are very safe and highly effective following a rigorous review process, and we have full confidence in their expert judgement and processes.
The phase three study of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine demonstrated a vaccine efficacy of 95%, with consistent efficacy across age, gender, and ethnicity. There is no evidence either of the vaccines will work differently in different ethnic groups.
The COVID-19 vaccine has been shown to reduce the chance of you suffering from COVID-19. Some people may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, but this should be less severe. There is also still a chance you might spread COVID-19 even after you have the vaccine, so it is important that you continue to follow the hands, face, space guidance (external link).
Vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus without us having to get the illness.
There is currently no evidence that the new strains will be resistant to the vaccines we have, so we are continuing to vaccinate people as normal.
There are several enablers that have made it possible for the vaccines to be developed relatively quickly compared to other medicines:
The different phases of the clinical trial were delivered to overlap instead of run sequentially;
There was a rolling assessment of data packages as soon as they were available so experts at the MHRA could review as the trial was being delivered, ask questions along the way and request extra information as needed – as opposed to getting all information at the end of a trial;
Clinical trials managed to recruit people very quickly as a global effort meant thousands of people were willing to volunteer.
The BioNTech/Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines are currently available to priority groups in Haringey, with both proven to be safe and effective at preventing illness from COVID-19.
The logistical challenges posed by the storage and distribution requirements for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine mean that in some populations, the AstraZeneca vaccine is the only vaccine which can be deployed rapidly, and without substantial vaccine wastage. The JCVI does not advise a preference for either vaccine in any specific population.
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. You do not need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination, and the vaccine cannot give you or your baby COVID-19. There is also no evidence that the vaccine affects fertility.
Find out more at GOV.UK :
- COVID-19 vaccination: women of childbearing age, currently pregnant or breastfeeding (external website)
You should not have the vaccine if you have ever had a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to:
- a previous vaccine
- a previous dose of the same COVID-19 vaccine
- some medicines, household products or cosmetics
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 treat them immediately.
Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects, most of which 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.
Very common side effects include:
- having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection. This tends to be worse around 1-2 days after the vaccine
- feeling tired
- 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 (severe allergic reaction) following administration of the vaccine.
The approved COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any animal products or egg. The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine does contain a very small amount of ethanol, but the British Islamic Medical Association recommends that eligible individuals in Muslim communities should still receive it.
Find out more:
- Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine information (external link)
- Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine information (external link)
The British Islamic Medical Association has also produced a helpful guide for the Muslim community (external link).
The British Islamic Medical Association have issued specific advice urging Muslims observing Ramadan not to delay getting the vaccine (external link).
If you are currently unwell and experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or have tested positive for COVID-19, you should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine until 28 days after you started having symptoms or 28 days after your positive test (if asymptomatic). If you have already had COVID-19, you should still get vaccinated when you are eligible.
The COVID-19 vaccine will not protect you against the flu and the flu vaccine does not protect you from COVID-19. If you are eligible for both vaccines you should have them both, but normally separated by at least a week.
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