Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

We understand that many people have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines. We have answered some of the questions that are asked most on this page. There is more information about the vaccines in our information hub and the NHS website.

Who can get the COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccines are available for everyone aged 12 or over.

Find out more about who can get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Read FAQs and more information about vaccinations for under 18s in North Central London.

How can I get the vaccine?

You can get your 1st and 2nd dose of a COVID-19 vaccine if you’re aged 18 or over. Your 2nd dose will need to be at least 8 weeks after your first.

To book an appointment if you are aged 17 and 9 months or older, go to: www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or call 119 free of charge, 7am-11pm, 7 days a week.

Appointments are not needed at many vaccination centres. Find out more here about walk-in centres in Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington.

16 and 17 year olds can arrange a vaccination appointment through their GP and can be vaccinated at many walk-in clinics without needing an appointment. Information about which clinics can vaccinate under 16 and 17 year olds is shown on our walk-in clinics page.

All children aged 12 to 15 will be offered a 1st dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Parents and guardians will get a letter with information about when the vaccine will be offered.

Most children will be given their vaccine at school.

Some children are being offered 2 doses of the vaccine.

Find out  more  about vaccinations for under 18s in North Central London.

I have already had COVID-19. Do I still need to get vaccinated?       

Yes, people who have had COVID-19 (whether confirmed or suspected) should still get the COVID-19 vaccine. You will need to wait until at least 4 weeks (28 days) after a positive coronavirus test or the start of your symptoms before getting the vaccine.

I presently have COVID-19. Can I get vaccinated?

You cannot receive the vaccine if you have tested positive for coronavirus within the last four weeks or if you have any symptoms of coronavirus. Please do not attend the vaccination centre if you have been asked to self-isolate.

I have symptoms of Long COVID. Should I get the vaccine?

If you are suffering from Long COVID you can get your vaccine. 

However, if you are still under active investigation, or if your condition has recently got worse, you might considering getting it at a later date. This is so any changes in your condition can be correctly attributed to either Long COVID or the vaccine. If this situation applies to you, please discuss this with your GP or another healthcare professional who will be able to advise you on whether or not to get the vaccine.

I work in a care home. Do I have to get the vaccine?

Yes, if you want to continue to work inside a care home you need to get vaccinated. From 11 November 2021 you will be required by law to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This means you will need to get your first jab by 16 September, unless you have a medical exemption.

This law applies to care home staff, agency staff, volunteers and anyone who goes into care homes to do other work, including healthcare workers, tradespeople, hairdressers and beauticians. It does not apply to friends and family visiting residents.

Whether you are care home staff or a visiting professional or volunteer, your work is vital to the wellbeing of care home clients, and very much appreciated. We want to offer information and support to help you make an informed decision about getting the vaccine and continuing your important care home work.  If you are worried about getting the vaccine, please speak to your care home manager, or you can visit any walk-in clinic to discuss your concerns with the staff there.

Find out more about the legal requirement here.

Where can I get my Covid vaccinations in Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington?

If you are aged 17 and 9 months or older, you can get the vaccine:

  1. At a walk-in vaccination clinic – many venues offer walk-in appointments, without needing to book in advance. Some walk-in clinics can also vaccinate 16 and 17 year olds – information about which age groups can be vaccinated is shown for each clinic. Find your nearest option on our map of COVID-19 vaccination sites.
  2. By booking an appointment at a vaccination centre, either online at http://www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by calling 119.

Find out where to get the vaccine if you are under 18.

How is the COVID-19 vaccine given?

The COVID-19 vaccine is given as an injection into your upper arm. It is given as two doses, at least 8 weeks apart. It is important for everyone aged 18 and over to get both doses to give you the most protection against coronavirus.

What happens at the vaccination clinic?

You’ll need to bring:

  • a face covering, unless you cannot wear one for a health or disability reason
  • your booking reference number if you have an appointment.

If you need a carer you can bring them with you on the day.

You’ll be asked some questions about your medical history. It’s important to tell the staff giving you the vaccination if you have ever had a severe allergic reaction or you are pregnant. You can also ask any questions you have about the vaccine, its safety or whether it is suitable for you and your individual circumstances. You are not under any obligation to be vaccinated following this conversation if you would prefer not to.

If you decide to go ahead with the vaccine, you will then be given an injection of the vaccine into your upper arm.

All places that offer COVID-19 vaccinations will help keep you safe from COVID-19. There will be regular cleaning and social distancing in waiting areas.

Which COVID-19 vaccines are currently available?

There are three vaccines currently available in the UK:

  • Pfizer
  • AstraZeneca
  • Moderna

Current recommendations are that those aged 39 and under should be offered Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. Our list of walk-in vaccination clinics shows which vaccine is being offered where. If you book on the national booking system either online or by calling 119, you will be offered an appointment with a vaccine appropriate for your age group.

A fourth vaccine, the Janssen vaccine, is now approved for use in the UK and will be available later this year.

To find out more about the vaccines approved in the UK, see:

How do I book an appointment?

You can visit a walk-in clinic to get vaccinated without needing an appointment. If you prefer to book and you are registered with a GP and have an NHS number, you can use the national booking service to book a vaccination at any available vaccination clinic. You can access the booking service at: www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or call 119 free of charge, 7am-11pm, 7 days a week.

You do not need proof of address or immigration status to register with a GP. You can find details of how to register here.

I’m not registered with a GP, how will I get my vaccine?

While registration with a GP is encouraged to access the vaccine, you can get the vaccine at a walk-in vaccination clinic without being registered or needing to provide proof of address, immigration status, ID or an NHS number.

I am unable to leave my house – how will I be vaccinated?

If you are unable to get to a vaccination centre and would like to be vaccinated, please contact your GP.

Do I need to pay for the vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine is free to everyone on the NHS. Our staff will never ask for, or accept, cash for vaccines, never ask for your banking details or identity documents, and will never come around to your house unannounced.

If you receive a phone call about vaccines that 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.

Why do I need two doses of the vaccine?

The first dose of the Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines offer good levels of protection, but to get maximum protection from COVID-19, everyone over 18 will need to get a second dose. Recent research shows that two doses is the best protection against the Delta variant of the virus. The Pfizer vaccine is 96% effective against hospitalisation after 2 doses and the AstraZeneca vaccine is 92% effective against hospitalisation after 2 doses.

Public Health England (PHE) has previously published analysis showing that one dose is 17% less effective at preventing symptomatic illness from the Delta variant, compared to Alpha, but there is only a small difference after 2 doses.

I’ve had my first dose but don’t have a second appointment booked – how do I book it?

Second doses can be given 8 weeks after the first dose. If you don’t have a second appointment booked, you can go online to www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine or call 119 to arrange one.

You can also attend a walk-in clinic for your second dose from at least 8 weeks (56 days) after your first dose. When you arrive for your second dose, staff will check your vaccination record online to verify that the time between your doses meets the current UK guidance. Please do not come for your second dose if it has been less than 8 weeks since your first dose as staff will not be able to vaccinate you. Please check the clinic details as some clinics are only offering first doses.

I can’t attend my second appointment now – what do I do?

If you booked through the online national booking service, you can cancel or change the date or location of your appointment through the “manage appointments” section at www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine, or by calling 119. If you arranged the appointment through your GP, call them directly to rearrange.

You can also attend a walk-in clinic for your second dose from at least 8 weeks (56 days) after your first dose. When you arrive for your second dose, staff will check your vaccination record online to verify that the time between your doses meets the current UK guidance. Please do not come for your second dose if it has been less than 8 weeks since your first dose as staff will not be able to vaccinate you.

I missed my second appointment – can I rebook?

You can rebook online at www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine or by calling 119. Or if you had your first dose through your GP, call them directly to rearrange.

You can also attend a walk-in clinic for your second dose from at least 8 weeks (56 days) after your first dose. When you arrive for your second dose, staff will check your vaccination record online to verify that the time between your doses meets the current UK guidance. Please do not come for your second dose if it has been less than 8 weeks since your first dose as staff will not be able to vaccinate you.

Will I get the same type of vaccine for my second dose?

Yes, you will get the same vaccination for both doses. If you had the AstraZeneca vaccine for your first dose and did not have any serious side effects, you should have it for your second dose. Speak to your GP or staff at the vaccination centre if you have any questions.

Your GP or the national booking system, depending on how you had your first appointment, will have a record of the date of your first vaccine and which vaccine you received. It is useful to take your vaccination card with you on the day as a reminder, but it’s not essential.

Do I need to take anything with me to my second dose appointment?

You’ll need to bring:

  • a face covering, unless you cannot wear one for a health or disability reason
  • your booking reference number if you have an appointment.

If you need a carer you can bring them with you on the day.

Your vaccine card can be a useful reminder of which vaccine you had at your first appointment, and can make the process smoother and quicker. When you arrive for your second dose, staff will check your vaccination record on our secure systems to confirm that you are getting the correct vaccine and that the time between your doses meets the current UK guidance.

Who can get a COVID-19 booster vaccine?
Booster vaccine doses will be available on the NHS for people most at risk from COVID-19 who have already had two doses of a vaccine.

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 of getting seriously ill from COVID-19
  • carers aged 16 and over
  • 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.

Why do I need a booster vaccine?

Levels of protection from the first two doses of COVID-19 vaccine may begin to wane over time. This booster dose will help give you longer term protection. The booster will help to reduce the risk of you becoming severely unwell or needing admission to hospital due to COVID-19 infection this winter.

When can I get my COVID-19 booster vaccine?

The NHS will let you know when it’s your turn to get your booster dose.

Most people will be invited to book an appointment via the national booking system. Frontline health and social care workers will be invited to book an appointment through their employer.

You’ll be offered a booster dose no earlier than six months after you had your 2nd vaccine dose.

Protection against severe disease from the first 2 doses seems to decline very slowly, so don’t worry if your booster vaccine is given a few weeks after the six months’ time-point. The booster dose should help to extend your protection into the next year.

GP practices are incredibly busy, so please don’t contact your GP regarding your booster vaccine, until you are invited to book an appointment.

Where can I get my COVID-19 booster vaccine?

Booster vaccines will be given across North Central London at vaccination centres, pharmacies, and GP surgeries. When it is your turn to book, you will be told which places near you have available appointments, and can then book at a location convenient to you.

Which COVID-19 vaccine will I get?

Most people will be offered a booster dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine or Moderna vaccine.
This means your booster dose may be different from the vaccines you had for your 1st and 2nd doses.

Some people may be offered a booster dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine if they cannot have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.

Can I have my COVID-19 booster vaccine and flu vaccine together?

Most people who can get a COVID-19 booster vaccine are also eligible for the annual flu vaccine.
If you are offered both vaccines, it’s safe to have them at the same time.

However, some places might not be able to offer both vaccines at the same time, due to practical constraints such as vaccine supply and staffing.

I’ve been offered a flu vaccine but not the COVID-19 booster, should I wait to get both together?

If you are offered the COVID-19 vaccine or flu vaccine, it is important to have them as promptly as possible to help boost your immunity. So, if you are easily able to travel to the vaccination location, please accept either vaccination when it is offered to you and don’t delay – you will still be able to have the other vaccination when it is available in your area.

Are there any side effects with the booster vaccine?

As with your previous dose the common side effects are the same for all COVID-19 vaccines used in the UK, and include:

  • having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection. This tends to be worst around one to two days after the vaccine
  • feeling tired
  • headache
  • general aches, or mild flu like symptoms. You can rest and take paracetamol (follow the dose advice in the packaging) to help make you feel better.

Although feeling feverish is not uncommon for 2 to 3 days, a high temperature is unusual and may indicate you have COVID-19 or another infection. If you have any COVID-19 symptoms or your fever lasts longer, stay at home and arrange to have a test. Symptoms following vaccination normally last less than a week. If your symptoms seem to get worse or if you are concerned, you can call NHS 111.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t have a booster?

There are very few people who should not have a booster. However, if you had serious side effects or a severe reaction after any previous dose you may be advised to avoid or delay further vaccination. You should discuss this with your doctor or specialist.

Are there more serious side effects?

Worldwide, there have been recent, very rare cases of inflammation of the heart called myocarditis or pericarditis reported after Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. These cases have been seen mostly in younger men within several days after vaccination. Most of these people recovered and felt better following rest and simple treatments. You should seek medical advice urgently if, after vaccination, you experience:

  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heart

I haven’t had my first dose of vaccine yet, will I be invited for a booster?

If you have not yet had either of your first two doses of the vaccine you should have them as soon as possible. You will still need the booster but the timing of it will depend on when you had your first two doses.

Will the booster vaccine stop me from catching COVID-19?

Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective – some people may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination. However, the booster vaccine can help prevent you:

  • catching COVID-19
  • becoming severely unwell or dying due to COVID-19
  • needing hospital admission due to COVID-19
  • passing COVID-19 to other people

If after vaccination you develop COVID-19 symptoms, stay at home and arrange to have a free test that is sent to a lab, called a PCR test. Get a free PCR test to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

I’ve had my booster vaccine, do I still need to wear a mask?

Although the vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe COVID-19 disease, to help control the virus we should all continue to do the things that can help reduce your risk of catching the virus or spreading it to other people:

  • meet people outside if possible
  • open doors and windows to let in fresh air if meeting people inside
  • limit the number of people you meet and avoid crowded places
  • wear a face covering when it’s hard to stay away from other people – particularly indoors or in crowded places
  • wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day
  • Encourage unvaccinated loved ones to have their vaccine

Where can I find out more?

Is the NHS confident the vaccine is safe?

Yes. The NHS does not offer any COVID-19 vaccinations to the public until experts have signed off that it is safe to do so.  The independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the official UK regulator, has approved three vaccines as being safe and effective, and we have full confidence in their expert judgement and processes.

Any coronavirus 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.

The vaccines were trialled in the same way as other medicines and vaccines available in the UK. The COVID-19 vaccine trials involved tens of thousands of people from a range of backgrounds to ensure that they are safe for everyone.

Over 40 million adults in UK have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine – more than two-thirds of the adult population. Analysis from Public Health England and the University of Cambridge suggests vaccines have so far prevented more than 30,000 deaths in England alone.

You can read about the benefits and risks of vaccination vs the risk COVID-19 here.

For more information, please see the NHS.uk website.

Are there any 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 will receive the highest level of protection approximately seven days after your second

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.

You can take painkillers, such as paracetamol, if you need to.

Although a mild fever can occur within a day or two of vaccination, if you have any other COVID symptoms (new continuous cough or loss of/change in your normal sense of taste or smell) or your fever lasts longer, stay at home and arrange to have a test.

Please report all symptoms you experience, either via the NHS app, or on the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) website.

If your symptoms get worse or you are worried, call 111

Further information on side-effects for the vaccines approved for us in the UK can be found on the gov.uk website:

As with all vaccines, appropriate treatment and care will be available in case of a rare anaphylactic event following administration.

You can read about the benefits and risks of vaccination vs the risk COVID-19 here.

What is the latest advice on the AstraZeneca vaccine?
The UK vaccination programme has been very successful, with over 40 million people vaccinated and more than 10,000 lives saved.

Since March 2021 there have been reports from the UK and internationally of a very rare condition of thrombosis (blood clots) and thrombocytopenia (low platelets). In under 50s, around 1 case has been reported for every 50,000 first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. For the second dose of vaccine, less than 1 case has been reported for every million vaccines given to people under 50 years of age; none of these second-dose cases were confirmed.

The underlying risk factors have not yet been fully established for this condition and a detailed review of suspected cases is ongoing by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), supported by Public Health England (PHE) and other professional groups. This will help us to understand the risk factors for developing this condition.

This is seen more often in younger people and tends to occur between 4 days and 4 weeks following vaccination. Similar conditions can also occur naturally, and clotting problems are a common complication of coronavirus (COVID-19) infection.

On 7 May, the JCVI updated its guidance and now advises that all adults aged 39 and under without underlying health conditions should receive an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine where available. Adults aged 40 years or older can still receive any of the available COVID-19 vaccines.

If you had the AstraZeneca vaccine for your 1st dose and did not have any serious side effects, you should have it again for your 2nd dose.

For more information on COVID-19 vaccination and blood clotting, please visit our AstraZeneca vaccine guidance page or the gov.uk website.

Are there any groups that shouldn’t have the vaccine?
People with history of a severe allergy to the ingredients of the vaccines should not be vaccinated. Tell healthcare staff before you are vaccinated if you’ve ever had a serious allergic reaction.

  • a previous dose of the same vaccine
  • any of the ingredients in the vaccine

The vaccine ingredients for the vaccines approved in the UK can be found here:

Any ingredients with potential to cause harm, for example, an allergic reaction, are listed even if present in such small amounts.

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.

How well do the COVID-19 vaccines work?

Anyone who gets COVID-19 can become seriously ill or have long-term effects (long COVID). The COVID-19 vaccines are the best way to protect yourself and others.

Research has shown the vaccines help:

  • reduce your risk of getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19
  • reduce your risk of catching or spreading COVID-19
  • protect against COVID-19 variants

The 1st dose should give you some protection from 3 or 4 weeks after you’ve had it. But you need 2 doses for stronger and longer-lasting protection. Vaccinated people are far less likely to get COVID-19 symptoms and pass it on to others and are even more unlikely to get serious COVID-19, to be admitted to hospital, or to die from it.  

There is a chance you might still get or spread COVID-19 even if you have a vaccine, so it’s important to follow advice about how to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19.

What happens if I have my first jab but not my second?

It is important to get both doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

Recent research shows that two doses is the best protection against the Delta variant of the virus. The Pfizer vaccine is 96% effective against hospitalisation after 2 doses and the AstraZeneca vaccine is 92% effective against hospitalisation after 2 doses.

Public Health England (PHE) has previously published analysis showing that one dose is 17% less effective at preventing symptomatic illness from the Delta variant of the virus, compared to Alpha, but there is only a small difference after 2 doses.

Once I’ve had my vaccine how long will it be effective for?

The effectiveness of the vaccines is being continually monitored. In June 2021, the JCVI published recommendations that people in the most vulnerable groups should be offered a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine this autumn to maximise their immunity. Third doses will be offered first to those with the greatest risk of developing serious disease from catching COVID-19.

I’m healthy, do I need to get vaccinated?

Even if you are healthy you should get vaccinated. It gives you the best protection against coronavirus.

Vaccinated people are far less likely to get COVID-19  symptoms and pass it on to others and are even more unlikely to get serious COVID-19, to be admitted to hospital, or to die from it.  

Even if you are younger, you can still get seriously ill from Covid, including longer lasting symptoms from Long Covid like severe fatigue and loss of smell and taste.

Early research is showing that Long Covid – where COVID-19 can cause symptoms that last weeks or months after the infection has gone – affects both younger and older people. The chances of having long-term symptoms does not seem to be linked to how ill you are when you first get COVID-19.

Getting vaccinated will help us all get life back to normal by reducing the spread of the virus and protecting your family and friends.

You can read about the benefits and risks of vaccination vs the risk COVID-19 here.

Can I still pass on Covid-19 to others after having the vaccine?

There is a chance you might still get or spread coronavirus even if you have the vaccine.

This means it is important to:

  • meet people outside if possible
  • open doors and windows to let in fresh air if meeting people inside
  • limit the number of people you meet and avoid crowded places
  • wear a face covering when it’s hard to stay away from other people – particularly indoors or in crowded places
  • wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day.

For further information, please see the gov.uk website.

How were these vaccines developed so quickly when it usually takes so long?

The vaccines have been developed and trialled in the same way as other medicines and vaccines available in the UK but there are a number of reasons why they have been developed quickly compared to other medicines. Some of the main reasons are:

  • The different phases of the vaccine trial were run at the same time, rather than one after the other, which sped up the clinical process.
  • The data from the trials was shared with the MHRA as soon as it was available, rather than waiting until the end.
  • Funding for all of the trials was available at every stage, so there were no delays often caused by seeking funding to continue.
  • Thousands of people were recruited to take part in the clinical trial very quickly, as it was a global effort and many people wanted to volunteer.

Can the vaccines alter your genetic material?

No. The Pfizer vaccine uses mRNA technology. This teaches our cells to make protein that triggers a protective immune response. The mRNA is broken down soon after it enters the body. The mRNA vaccine technology has been studied for several decades for vaccines against Zika, rabies, and influenza. mRNA vaccines are not live virus vaccines and do not interfere with human DNA. mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, where our DNA is kept.

Further information about the vaccines approved for use in the UK can be found here:

Who have the vaccines been trialled on?

Both vaccines approved for use in the UK have been trialled on a variety of people from different backgrounds. This includes men and women of various ages and ethnicities, and those with underlying health conditions.

Further information on the vaccine trials can be found here:

Were the vaccines trialled on different ethnic groups?

Yes, all vaccines that are approved for use in the UK have been trialled on people from a variety of different ethnic groups.

Of the overall participants in the phase 3 Pfizer vaccine trial, 58% were White, 26% Hispanic/Latino, 10% Black, 5% Asian and 1% Native American.

Out of the participants in the AstraZeneca vaccine trial, 75.5% of recipients were White, 10.1% were Black and 3.5% were Asian.

Out of the participants in the Moderna vaccine trial, 19.7% were Hispanic or Latino, and 9.7% were African American.

There is no evidence that any of the vaccines will work differently in different ethnic groups.

Further information on the vaccine trials can be found here:

Do faith leaders support these vaccinations?

The COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved for use in the UK have been endorsed by numerous faith leaders.

If you are unsure whether you should have the COVID-19 vaccination because of your religious beliefs, you can discuss your concerns with your religious leaders and ask their advice.

What effects do the vaccines have on fertility?
There is no need to avoid pregnancy after COVID-19 vaccination. There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines have any effect on fertility or your chances of becoming pregnant.

Is it safe for pregnant women to have the vaccine?
The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines available in the UK have been shown to be effective and to have a good safety profile. These vaccines do not contain live coronavirus and cannot infect a pregnant woman or her unborn baby in the womb. COVID-19 vaccines offer pregnant women the best protection against COVID-19 disease which can be serious in later pregnancy for some women.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that pregnant women should be offered COVID-19 vaccines at the same time as people of the same age or risk group. In the USA, around 120,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated mainly with Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and no safety concerns have been identified.

Evidence on COVID-19 vaccines is being continuously reviewed by the World Health Organization and the regulatory bodies in the UK, USA, Canada and Europe.

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are the preferred vaccines for pregnant women of any age who are coming for their first dose.

Anyone who has already had their first vaccine dose and is offered a second dose whilst pregnant, should have a second dose with the same vaccine unless they had a serious side effect after the first dose.

Is it safe to have the vaccine while breastfeeding?
The JCVI has also recommended that the vaccines can be received whilst breastfeeding. This is in line with recommendations from the USA and the World Health Organization.

Find more information on fertility, pregnancy, breastfeeding and the vaccine or download a leaflet in a range of languages on the gov.uk website.

Information from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

What are the ingredients in the COVID-19 vaccines?

Vaccines only contain ingredients that are essential to make them safe and effective. Any ingredients with potential to cause harm, for example, an allergic reaction, are listed even if present in very small amounts.

The vaccine ingredients for the vaccines approved in the UK can be found here:

The British Islamic Medical Association have produced a helpful guide for the Muslim community which can be found here.

Do the vaccines contain any ingredients of animal or foetal origins?

No. The approved Covid-19 vaccines do not contain any animal, meat or egg products, or any material of foetal origin.

The ingredients for all vaccines approved in the UK can be found here:

Do the vaccines contain any alcohol?

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do not contain any alcohol. The AstraZeneca and Janssen vaccines contain a very small amount of alcohol (ethanol), which is less than what is found in natural foods or bread. This is not enough to cause any noticeable effects.

The British Islamic Medical Association recommends individuals in Muslim communities should receive the vaccine.

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.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine protect me from flu?

No, the COVID-19 vaccine will not protect you against the flu. If you have been offered a flu vaccine, please try to have this as soon as possible to help protect you, your family and patients from flu this winter.

It is not essential to leave time between the flu and Covid vaccine but it is recommended that there should be a gap of a week.

We would always encourage anyone who is eligible but not yet taken up their flu jab to do so as soon as possible.

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