Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the COVID-19 Vaccination programme

Questions About Where To Get the Vaccine Done

Where can I get a Covid-19 vaccination in Stockport?

You can check the Stockport CCG website for vaccination hubs, pop-up clinics and walk-ins at: https://www.stockportccg.nhs.uk/news/covid-19-vaccination-options/

Alternatively you can check Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council website: https://www.stockport.gov.uk/coronavirus-in-stockport/coronavirus-vaccination-programme

Or find your nearest walk-in centre for vaccines here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/find-a-walk-in-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-site/

Questions About Arranging and Having Your Vaccination

Who is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in England?

Anyone aged 18 years or older; 2 doses of the vaccine.

Young people aged 16 -17 years of age – 1st dose only. But if they turn 18 years old within 3 months, they can be offered a 2nd dose of the vaccine).

Children 12-15 years (offered a 1st dose of the vaccine).

Children and young people between 12-17 years of age who fall into an at risk category are eligible for 2nd doses. This includes contacts of immunosuppressed patients, and anyone working or volunteering in a health or social care setting.

Can I choose which vaccine I will receive?

During your visit to the vaccination centre, you will be assessed and offered the most appropriate vaccination dependent upon a) the supply available to them on the day and b) which one is licensed for your age group. It’s also important that we ensure that you do get the same brand for both your first and second vaccination doses.

When will children between the ages of 12 and 15 receive the Covid-19 vaccine?

The process for inviting young people in this age group to receive their vaccination is in progress. Parents, carers and guardians will soon be contacted with information about how they can make arrangements to vaccinate these children at a local Stockport site.

If I haven't been called for my vaccination yet, what should I do?

If you are eligible for a vaccination you can book an appointment to attend a National Vaccination Hub through the National Booking Service online at https://www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination. Or you can call them on 119. Alternatively, you can attend one of the local walk-in centres or pop-up clinics. Check Stockport CCG website for dates and venues.

When will I get my second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, and how will I be notified?

You can make your appointment for your second vaccination through the National Booking Service online at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by calling them on 119. Alternatively you can attend one of the local walk-in centres or pop-up clinics, check Stockport CCG website for dates and venues. You can have your second dose of vaccine at least eight weeks (56 days) after the first dose.

What happens if I miss my appointment for the vaccination?

You can rearrange your appointment for vaccination through the National Booking Service online at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by calling them on 119. Alternatively you can attend one of the local walk-in centres or pop-up clinics. Check out Stockport CCG website for dates and venues.

If I don’t drive how do I get to my vaccination appointment?

You can arrange for a volunteer to help you by calling the NHS National Volunteer Service on 0808 196 4636 between 8am and 8pm, 7 days a week. If you are a Stockport resident you can call the Council’s Coronavirus Helpline on 0161 217 6046 or Stockport Car Scheme on 0161 476 2812 to arrange transport to, and from, the vaccination centre.

General Questions About the Actual Vaccines

Which Covid-19 vaccines are available in Stockport?

Currently, the approved Covid-19 vaccines, which are available in the UK are:

  • Pfizer/BioNTech
  • Oxford AstraZeneca (‘AZ’)
  • Moderna

Which age groups can have the Covid-19 vaccines?

The choice of vaccine is dependent upon your age.

12-15 year olds who are immunosuppressed, clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) or live with someone who is clinically vulnerable or immunosuppressed are eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. This age group will require parental or guardian consent before receiving their vaccination.

The process for inviting children aged 12-15 to receive their vaccination is in progress. They will soon be contacted with information about how to make arrangements to be vaccinated. This age group will require parental or guardian consent before receiving their vaccination.

 

Everyone aged 16 years and above can have a Covid-19 vaccination if they are eligible (medically speaking).

The Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is now only used in the UK for first vaccinations in adults aged 40 years and above, and second vaccinations, as appropriate.

Can unvaccinated patients still get 1st and 2nd doses?

Yes, any unvaccinated or partially vaccinated patients can still receive their 1st or 2nd doses of vaccine, this is often referred to as the ‘evergreen offer’ or ‘extended vaccine offer’.

Can the Covid-19 Vaccine be given together with other vaccines?

Yes, the vaccine can be given together with other vaccines, for example flu, or given at any interval before or after vaccination for a different disease, with the exception of shingles, where there should be a 7-day gap.

How does the vaccine work?

The vaccine helps the body to produce antibodies against the virus so you can minimise – or better manage – the symptoms that the virus can cause. However, you can still transmit the virus to others, so you can still help to minimise this risk by choosing to social distance, wear a mask, also to wash and sanitise your hands regularly.

How has the vaccine been created so quickly when it usually takes a number of years and is it safe?

Scientists were not starting from scratch when they developed this vaccine because different types of corona viruses have been around for many years. Worldwide collaboration between scientists enabled them to fund, fast-track research and clinical trials resulting in the production of the vaccines.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) conducted rolling reviews of data to assess the vaccines rather than wait until the end of the clinical trials.

The standards for safety and effectiveness have not changed due to the speed of production and testing. Also, the vaccines are subject to continuous independent regulation and review.

What are the ingredients of the vaccine?

A detailed review of the vaccines and their ingredients has been provided by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and can be found using these links.

Pfizer BioNTech Vaccine

Astrazeneca

Moderna (Spikevax) vaccine

Can I get the vaccine privately?

No. Vaccinations will only be available through the NHS for the moment. Anyone who claims to be able to provide you with a vaccine for a fee is likely to be committing a crime and should be reported to the police and/or local trading standards.

Will the vaccine work against the new strains of the virus?

There is no current evidence to suggest that the new strains will be resistant to today’s vaccines. Government scientists continue to monitor in detail the characteristics of the virus strains that are emerging. The vaccine manufacturers will also continue to review and improve the vaccine in response to this data.

If people have already had Covid-19 should they still get vaccinated?

Yes, getting vaccinated is just as important for those who have already had Covid-19 as it is for those who haven’t. If you have had symptoms of Covid-19 you should wait 28 days after the first signs of infection before having the Covid-19 vaccinations.

How much do the vaccines cost?

The Government is securing the vaccine stocks so they will not cost the NHS anything.

The Booster Vaccine and Third Doses

Who is eligible for a COVID-19 Booster?

Booster vaccine doses will be available on the NHS for those people most at risk from COVID-19, who have had a 2nd dose of  a vaccine at least 6 months ago. This includes:

  • People aged 50 and over.
  • People who live and work in care homes.
  • Frontline health and social care workers.
  • People aged 16 and over with a health condition that puts them at high risk from getting seriously ill from COVID-19.
  • People aged 16 and over who are a main carer for someone at risk from COVID-19.
  • People aged 16 and over who live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis.
  • People who are pregnant and in one of the eligible groups can also get a booster dose.

When can a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine be administered?

A booster should be given no less than 182 days after the 2nd primary dose.

Is there a maximum cut off time for having the booster dose?

No, the booster can be given at any time after 6 months. Services should aim to deliver the booster dose within 238 days, however if a patient presents later than this, they are still eligible.

Should pregnant women have a booster?

Pregnant women are only eligible for a booster at this time if they also fall into cohorts 1-9, for example a health and social care worker, or have an underlying health condition.

How is a third dose different to a booster dose of COVID-19 Vaccine?

Third dose

A third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine can be offered to certain patients with immunosuppression. This is administered 8 weeks after the individual’s second vaccine dose. This will improve protection from the virus in this cohort.

Booster dose

A booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine is being offered to all those in cohorts 1-9. This is offered six months after an individual’s second COVID-19 vaccine.

Vaccines for 16-17 Year Olds

Is it better to wait a few years before I let my 16-year-old or 17-year-old have the vaccine?

No, it is better to get young people aged 16 and over vaccinated as soon as they’re eligible. This corresponds with advice from the World Health Organisation’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which concluded that the Pfizer/BionTech vaccine is suitable for use by people aged 12 years and above.

While it is largely agreed that most children are at low risk of serious disease, current data suggests that vaccinating them will help to reduce the spread of the corona virus and corona virus infections. Continuing with public health measures will also help to reduce transmission, including: physically distancing from others, cleaning hands frequently, sneezing and coughing into elbows, wearing a mask if age-appropriate and avoiding crowded, poorly ventilated spaces.

Is the Pfizer vaccine safe for 16-17 year olds?

The Pfizer vaccine was approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency for young people aged 16 years old and over, and until further approvals are secured, this will remain the recommended vaccination available to this group.

Further, a study assessing the immunogenicity and efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on 12-15 year olds found that it was safe and had an observed efficacy of 100 per cent. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine on 27 May, was conducted on 2,260 adolescents aged between 12 and 15 years, of which 1,131 received the vaccine (BNT162b2), and 1,129 received placebo. The study was funded by Pfizer and BioNTech.

You can read a summary here: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2107456

Why do 16-17 year olds need a vaccine against COVID?

As with other members of the family, extended households or children in care, getting vaccinated allows protection against hospital admissions and better protects any vulnerable people they live with – or come into contact with – whether that’s the older generation or others living with them who have ongoing chronic health conditions.

How good is the protection with the Pfizer jab?

The JCVI has estimated that just one Pfizer vaccine dose will provide young people with at least 80% protection against hospital admission with COVID-19.

Questions in Relation to Pregnancy and the Vaccine

If I am pregnant can I have the Covid-19 vaccine?

The Covid-19 vaccines available in the UK have been shown to be effective and have a good safety profile. They do not contain live corona virus and cannot infect the pregnant woman or their unborn child in the womb.

Pregnant women have a slightly higher risk of intensive care admission than women of the same age who are not pregnant. Therefore, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises that pregnant woman should be offered the vaccine at the same time as other same-aged people and risk group.

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are the preferred choice for pregnant women. However, if they have had a first dose with a different vaccine and without event, they should continue with the same vaccine for the second dose.

For more information see Public Health England leaflet PHE

If I am breast feeding can I have the Covid-19 vaccine?

The benefits of breast feeding are well known and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommends that women who are breast feeding should be vaccinated; this is supported by the World Health Organisation.

For more information see Public Health England information leaflet PHE

Questions About the Vaccine in Relation to Different BAME Groups and Cultures

Can I take the Covid-19 vaccination during Ramadan?

The British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) has gathered opinions from many Islamic scholars and has advised that taking any of the Covid-19 vaccines currently licensed in the UK does not invalidate the fast during Ramadan.

The British Islamic Medical Association has produced a helpful guide for the Muslim community, which can be found at British Islamic Medical Association – Covid-19 Vaccination Guide.

They have also noted that people should not delay taking the Covid-19 vaccination because of Ramadan. For more information visit the BIMA website BIMA.

Why are BAME people being targeted in particular to have the vaccine?

At the start of the pandemic, initial research suggested that people from BAME backgrounds were at a greater risk of dying as a result of Covid-19. There is also evidence that the uptake of the vaccination is much lower for BAME people, which then puts them at greater risk.

Questions About Getting the Vaccine In Relation to Other Illnesses / Conditions / Activities

I am taking immunosuppressant medicine(s) can I have the Covid-19 vaccine?

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) information on vaccination says that being immunosuppressed may lead to a reduced response to the vaccine but should not stop you from having the Covid-19 vaccination.

There will be an opportunity to discuss concerns with a healthcare professional when you attend your appointment. You can also speak to the specialist responsible for your treatment before attending or responding to invitations to have the vaccine. Further information is available here.

I have an allergy to medicines and other vaccines – can I have the Covid-19 vaccine?

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) information on vaccination says that an allergy to medicines, food, or other vaccines will not stop you from having the Covid-19 vaccination.

There will be opportunity to discuss any concerns with a healthcare professional when you attend for your appointment and they will be best placed to discuss your individual needs.

I take anticoagulant medication (Warfarin, Direct Oral Anticoagulant) – can I have the Covid-19 vaccine?

Yes, the vaccine can be given to people who are on any blood thinning medications whether it’s taken orally or via injection, including Warfarin as long as your INR is within range before your vaccination appointment.

I have a bleeding disorder – can I have the Covid-19 vaccine?

Yes, you can have either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine only if you have any known bleeding disorder or conditions.

I am concerned about getting blood clots, which I hear is a problem with the Oxford AZ vaccine – can I have a different one?

A review of the current data suggests that the incidence in people vaccinated with the Oxford Astra Zeneca (AZ) vaccine is slightly higher in the younger age groups and therefore, as a precautionary measure, the MHRA have suspended the routine use of the AZ vaccine in people aged 40 years and under.

Note: The MHRA advice says that people who had the AZ vaccine as their first vaccination and didn’t suffer blood clots or blood disorders should continue to also have it for their second vaccination. This is because it is extremely rare to develop these problems after the second vaccination if they were not experienced after the first vaccination.

Will drinking alcohol affect the Covid -19 vaccine?

There is no consistent evidence that suggests low and moderate levels of alcohol impair the immune system. However, chronic heavy alcohol abuse is linked to immune system dysfunction and may lead to a reduced response to some vaccines.

Which of the Covid-19 vaccines are live because I cannot have a live vaccine?

None of the vaccines that are currently available are live vaccines. They do not contain the live virus and they do not contain any animal products or derivatives. There is also no truth in the theory that the vaccines have any form of electronic microchip.

Questions About Self-Isolating

Who needs to self-isolate – when, and for how long?

From 16 August 2021, people who have been fully vaccinated, (i.e. had two jabs but also having had the last one at least 14 days beforehand), are no longer required to self-isolate if they’ve had close contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19. Instead, they’re asked to take a PCR test as soon as possible to check whether they’re infected but otherwise, they will be able to go out and about as usual.

A close contact means:

  • Having face-to-face contact with someone at a distance of less than 1 metre.
  • Spending more than 15 minutes within two metres of an individual.
  • Travelling in a car or other small vehicle with an individual, or in close proximity to an individual on a plane.

Anyone who has been identified as a close contact of a positive case will now no longer have to self-isolate, providing they are:

  • Fully vaccinated (both first and second jabs with the second one being done at least 14 days beforehand).
  • Not displaying any symptoms.

Under 18s – regardless of vaccination status – is the second group of people who will no longer be required to self-isolate if they have been identified as a close contact of a positive case.

Individuals still required to self-isolate should they be identified as a close contact are people who have:

  • NOT received their Covid-19 vaccination.
  • NOT received both doses of the vaccination.
  • RECEIVED their second dose but only within the last 14 days.
  • TESTED POSITIVE following a PCR test.
  • BEEN FULLY VACCINATED BUT are displaying symptoms (ahead of getting a PCR test).

The third group of people who can stop self-isolating are those who have been previously identified as a close contact and are part way through an existing isolate period and would qualify for the criteria above.

Following these changes, all close contacts regardless of vaccination status, including those under 18, are being advised to take a PCR test, which can be booked here.

Those who are fully vaccinated will only be required to self-isolate if they also receive a positive PCR test.

There are, however, exemptions from the need to be fully vaccinated in order to not self-isolate. These include:

  • Clinical trial participants who have been, or are currently, taking part in an MRHA approved Covid-19 vaccine trial.
  • Those who can provide evidence that they cannot be vaccinated for medical

A free PCR test can be arranged online: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.

Please use this link here for an FAQ about self-isolation at the bottom of the page: https://www.stockportccg.nhs.uk/news/rules-around-self-isolation-have-changed-from-16-august/

For further information see NHS website or the Government website

If I’ve only had one of my two vaccinations do I still need to self-isolate if I come into contact with someone who’s tested positive?

Yes. If you are over 18 years old, and have only received one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, you will be required to self-isolate for 10 days, from the day that someone/household member’s symptoms started (or from the day they tested positive).

For further information see NHS Website

Questions About Health, Social and Care Workers

When should I stop self-isolating?

People who are self-isolating can stop doing so after 10 full days if they do not get any symptoms, or their symptoms have cleared.

If they do get symptoms they should arrange a PCR test online here or by calling 119. If they test positive they should start isolation for 10 days again starting from the day after their symptoms began.

For further information see NHS Website.

Do all NHS frontline workers, social and care home staff and those who work with the vulnerable, have to get vaccinated?

People who work in these essential frontline roles will need to check with their employers. It is advisable that they get vaccinated in order to prevent the spread of the Corona virus and the Covid-19 illness. This will help to keep everyone safe including service users and people at risk.

I have had my first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and was thinking not to attend for the second dose; does it make any difference not having the second dose?

Yes, it does make a difference to both the individual and their immediate friends and family and wider community. In order to get the maximum benefit from the Covid-19 vaccines it is important to have the full course, which is two doses (except for people aged 16 and 17 who only have 1 dose) with at least 8 weeks in between them, but no longer than 12 weeks apart.

Questions About Potential Side-Effects

What, if any, are the side effects of the vaccines?

It is common for the arm to feel sore after vaccination, and this can remain for several days afterwards. Some people might feel slightly unwell, get a headache, muscle aches and fatigue. More information on possible side effects can be found at NHS UK Coronavirus Conditions.

I have had my first vaccination and now have a headache what should I do?

Don’t worry – this can be a normal and harmless side effect after having a vaccination because your body is building antibodies in response to the vaccine. Regular painkillers such as paracetamol will help with pain relief. Read up on dosing information for paracetamol tablets in the patient information leaflet enclosed in the packet or speak to your local pharmacist.

If you would like to find out more about possible side effects you will find information on the NHS patient leaflet.

I am concerned about getting blood clots, which I hear is a problem with the Oxford AZ vaccine – can I have a different one?

Following a detailed review of available data, the MHRA and government scientists say there is no evidence to suggest that the incidence of blood clots and bleeding disorders in people who have been vaccinated is any higher than that in the general population who have not been vaccinated.

The data suggests that the incidence in people vaccinated with the Oxford Astra Zeneca (AZ) vaccine is slightly higher in the younger age groups and therefore, as a precautionary measure, the MHRA have suspended the routine use of the AZ vaccine in people aged 40 years and under.

Note: The MHRA advice says that people who had the AZ vaccine as their first vaccination and didn’t suffer blood clots or blood disorders should continue to also have it for their second vaccination. This is because it is extremely rare to develop these problems after the second vaccination if they were not experienced after the first vaccination.

Questions About What Happens After the Vaccination

Will I become immune to the Corona virus if I get vaccinated?

No – not fully immune. However, having the full vaccination course – in other words, having two jabs regardless of which vaccine you had for the first dose has been shown to reduce the severity of the symptoms of Corona virus illness if you get infected. This means that you are less likely to be hospitalised and also, less likely to die from the virus if you are infected.

It is important that people who are eligible to have the Covid-19 vaccine have both their jabs.

Will I have to have the Covid-19 vaccine annually like the flu vaccine?

We are awaiting further national guidance on this matter. Updates will be published on our Stockport CCG website: https://www.stockportccg.nhs.uk/news/

Will I be able to visit relatives and friends and carry on normally after I have had my vaccination?

People should follow current government guidance at all times. In order to prevent the spread of Corona virus and prevent people becoming ill they should have two doses of the vaccine (except those aged 16 and 17 who only have 1 vaccination) and continue to stay safe by washing or sanitising hands regularly. Even now, people could consider wearing face masks while using indoor facilities and maintaining social distancing.

I didn’t receive a vaccination card after having my Covid-19 vaccine, so what should I do as I need proof that I have been vaccinated?

All information is stored electronically, so don’t worry. Your GP records will be updated with the information. People who need proof that they have been vaccinated should download the NHS app onto their mobiles and follow the instructions. You will need your NHS number for this. Alternatively, if you call 119 and request written information as proof they will send you this in a letter.