The NHS is continuing to vaccinate patients against coronavirus during the biggest immunisation programme in history. We have produced the following to help with some of the frequently asked questions that have been coming through. If you have a question to add to our FAQs please get in touch with us.
How will I be told to come for my vaccine – will it be a phone call from my GP practice?
Please wait to be contacted by the NHS for an appointment. When it is the right time people will be contacted to make their appointments. For most people they will receive a letter either from their GP or the national booking system; this will include all the information they need, including their NHS number. Some services are currently also phoning and texting patients to invite them in.
Who can get the vaccine?
The Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) published its detailed advice here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/priority-groups-for-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-advice-from-the-jcvi-30-december-2020.
In line with this guidance, in this initial phase vaccines will be prioritised for those 80 years of age and over, those who live and work in care home, and frontline health and social care staff.
The vaccine will be offered more widely as soon as possible. You can also find out more about why you are being asked to wait.
Why has my second dose been postponed, am I still protected?
The UK Chief Medical Officers have agreed a longer timeframe between first and second doses so that more people can get their first dose quickly, and because the evidence shows that one dose still offers a high level of protection after two weeks.
This decision will allow us to get the maximum benefit for the most people in the shortest possible time and will help save lives.
Getting both doses remains important so we would urge people to return for it at the right time.
How can I let you know if I can’t make my appointment?
Once the NHS has contacted you, it will be possible to rearrange your appointment.
How long does the vaccine last? Should I still wear a face covering when I go shopping? Can I hug my grandchildren now?
The large increase in cases hospitals are seeing and the emergence of a new variant of the virus shows that we cannot let our guard down now, and even those who have received a vaccine still need to follow all the same guidance as everyone else to help protect others.
Once you have received your vaccination it is still really important that you continue to follow the current guidance to stay at home as much as possible, continue to follow social distancing, wear a face covering and regularly wash your hands.
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.
The MHRA, the official UK regulator, 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. Find out more about the guidance for women of childbearing age, who are currently pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Will vaccines still be provided/can I still attend my appointment during the national lockdown?
Yes. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine, or any other vaccine, is an important medical appointment and so is within the rules wherever you live. Vaccinations will continue as normal in all areas through the national lockdown and beyond. If you have booked or are offered an appointment, please attend it.
The place that you choose to have your vaccine will keep you safe from COVID-19 through a range of measures including cleaning and disinfecting and having social distancing in waiting areas. Please also wear a face covering to your appointment. You should also take the usual steps to minimise your risk as you travel to your appointment.
I’ve received a letter but someone I live who is the same age hasn’t yet. Can we get vaccinated together?
The NHS is inviting eligible people in a phased basis as supplies of the vaccine allow. It is important that you wait for your letter from the NHS, and you will not be able to book without one.
If you have received a letter and live with someone who is also eligible but has not received a letter, it is likely that theirs will follow shortly. If you like you can wait and book at the same time.
How many vaccinations have been given out across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight so far?
Figures on vaccination uptake for the UK will be published on a weekly basis on the Public Health England coronavirus data dashboard.
I’ve received an invitation for the vaccine which I am worried could be fraudulent, what should I do?
We are aware that some people are receiving suspicious calls and text messages offering the COVID-19 vaccination.
Coronavirus vaccines are only available on the NHS. You can be contacted by the NHS, your employer, or a GP surgery local to you, to receive your vaccine. Remember, the vaccine is free of charge. At no point will you be asked to pay.
- The NHS will never ask you for your bank account or card details.
- The NHS will never ask you for your PIN or banking password.
- The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.
- The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.
If you receive a call 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.
Who can I talk to if I have any additional questions or feedback?
When the NHS contacts you for an appointment, please discuss your concerns at that point. If you have a question we haven’t answered here please get in touch or you can contact your local Patient Experience Team by emailing email@example.com.