NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Programme Frequently Asked Questions
- This page contains useful resources regarding the Covid-19 vaccination program to help patients make well-informed decisions and to debunk some of the many myths circulating on social media.
- The NHS has started the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination programme. When it is the right time for you to receive your vaccine, you will receive an invitation to come forward.
Please do not contact the NHS to get an appointment until you are contacted.
- The NHS is prioritising the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. When it is your turn to get the vaccine you will be contacted. This may be by phone or letter from your GP or national NHS booking service.
- Please see also Medical Information Disclaimer at the bottom of the page.
How does the Pfizer Vaccine work?
This animation explains the mechanism of action of Pfizer/Biontech and Oxford/Astra-Zeneca vaccines.
Can the vaccines alter your DNA?
Quite simply, no. Human DNA is contained safely in the nucleus of the cell and is kept well apart from the cytoplasm of the cell where the mRNA (messenger RNA) from the vaccine instructs the cell to make the “spike protein”.
Can I take the vaccine if I’m pregnant?
Vaccine trials excluded pregnant and breastfeeding women so you should wait until you’ve had your baby. Women of childbearing age, those who are pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding should read the detailed information by clicking on the link below.
Are the vaccines derived from aborted fetal cell lines? Do they contain pork?
The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any animal products or egg.
No COVID-19 vaccine contains cells from aborted fetuses.
A replica cell line from a fetus aborted in 1973 was used to develop the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine. However, the vaccine itself does not contain fetal cells.
New mRNA vaccines, such as those being developed by Pfizer and Moderna, are synthetic vaccines, sequenced on a computer in a lab, and do not use fetal cell lines in their production.
How long does the vaccine protect me for?
Not enough research has yet been done to know for sure how long Covid-19 vaccinations protect you for. Some research does show promising results indicating long term immunity but the results haven’t been verified by further studies yet or by peer review.
How long should I leave between my Flu jab and my Covid-19 vaccination?
The two vaccinations shouldn’t be given together and the current guidance is that you leave at least two weeks between these vaccinations.
It is recommended that you get the flu jab as soon as possible if you are eligible and have not yet had the flu jab, and do not wait to get the Covid-19 vaccine first.
It’s important to have a Flu jab if you are eligible as evidence suggests that it lowers the mortality of people who contract both influenza and Covid-19.
Are the vaccines safe?
Yes. The vaccines have passed rigorous safety checks by leading scientists around the world.
Do the vaccines contain microchips?
The video above describes how this unfounded rumour started and spread through social media. There are no microchips within any vaccine used in the UK.
Will the vaccine give me Covid?
No. None of the vaccines contain the Coronavirus or parts of the Coronavirus. You cannot catch COVID-19 from the vaccine but it is possible to have caught COVID-19 and not realise you have the symptoms until after your vaccination appointment.
Can I Choose Which Vaccine I Get?
No. Different vaccines will be available at different times and therefore will be given to patients depending on their need and priority. It is unlikely people will be able to pick and choose which vaccine they receive.
Can you give COVID-19 to anyone if you have had the vaccine?
No. The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19 infection, and a full course will reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill. We do not yet know whether it will stop you from catching and passing on the virus, but we do expect it to reduce this risk. So, it is still important to follow the guidance in your local area to protect those around you.
Will I need a vaccination every year?
We still don’t know how long the immunity given by the vaccinations lasts or how quickly the Coronavirus is mutating. If the virus mutates quickly, like the ‘flu virus, then a yearly vaccine may be required. Preliminary research doesn’t indicate a rapidly mutating Coronavirus however.
Have vaccines been adequately tested?
Yes. The vaccines have undergone just as rigorous testing as previous vaccines. They have taken less time than usual to get approval as delays due to bureaucracy and finding funding and have been removed.
Can the vaccine cause infertility?
No. This mistaken rumour was spread after a former employee of Pfizer (who left nine years ago) claimed that the Pfizer vaccine induced production of a protein that blocked the formation of a placenta. Qualified experts agree that the risk of infertility is negligible.
What side effects can I expect?
Side effects are not much different to many common vaccinations used in the NHS.
Very common side effects include:
• having a painful, heavy feeling and
tenderness in the arm where you had
your injection. This tends to be worst
around 1-2 days after the vaccine
• feeling tired
• general aches, or mild fu like symptoms
Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine even if I’ve already had COVID-19?
Yes. David Salisbury, an associate fellow for the global health programme at the think tank Chatham House says, “We do not know the length of immunity of the natural infection and therefore having a vaccine will not do them harm and has the probability of doing the benefit . . . I can’t think of reasons why you should not be vaccinated. And we do know that people who’ve had covid can be reinfected. My judgment would be, if you’re offered the vaccine, to have it. But there are many questions to which as yet we don’t have evidence based answers.”
How can I find credible information about Covid-19 and the Covid-19 Vaccinations?
Before considering vaccine information on the Internet, check that the information comes from a credible source and is updated on a regular basis?
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