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You Have Now Been Booked For Your COVID-19 Vaccination

Please see below for Frequently Asked Questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.


If you cannot find answer to your question below, you can contact your GP in Greenwich or contact us directly.

Learn More Below About The Vaccine & All Of The Latest Up-To-Date Information. 

Who Can Get The COVID-19 Vaccine

The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus.

At this time, the vaccine is being offered in some hospitals to:

  • people aged 80 and over who already have a hospital appointment in the next few weeks

  • people who work in care homes

  • health care workers at high risk

The vaccine will be offered more widely, and at other locations, as soon as possible.

The order in which people will be offered the vaccine is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Read the latest JCVI advice on priority groups for the COVID-19 vaccination on GOV.UK

Why can’t everyone get a COVID-19 vaccine now

Some south east London GPs are reporting that patients have already been asking for the Covid-19 vaccine and are then confused and disappointed when turned away.

We’re keen to highlight one particular leaflet which explains the current eligibility and availability criteria – see here.

Wait to be contacted

When it is the right time people will receive an invitation to come forward. For most people this will be a letter, either from their GP or the NHS England. This letter will include all the information a person will need to book appointments, including their NHS number.

We are asking the public not to contact the NHS to get an appointment until they get their letter.


Advice if you’re of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding

You should wait to have the COVID-19 vaccine:

  • if you’re pregnant – you should wait until you’ve had your baby

  • if you’re breastfeeding – you should wait until you’ve stopped breastfeeding

If you’re trying to get pregnant, you should wait for 2 months after having the 2nd dose before trying to get pregnant.

There is currently no evidence that it is unsafe if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding but more evidence is needed before you can be offered the vaccine.

Read the latest COVID-19 vaccine advice if you’re pregnant, may get pregnant or are breastfeeding on GOV.UK.


How the COVID-19 vaccine is given

The COVID-19 vaccine is given as an injection into your upper arm. It is given as 2 doses, at least 21 days apart.


How safe is the COVID-19 vaccine

The current vaccine (as at 7 December 2020) approved for use in the UK was developed by Pfizer/BioNTech.

It has met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Any coronavirus vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through. The UK has some of the highest safety standards in the world.

Other vaccines are being developed but they will only be available on the NHS once they have been thoroughly tested to make sure they are safe and effective.

So far, thousands of people have been given a COVID-19 vaccine in the clinical trials and no serious side effects or complications have been reported.

Read about the approved Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 by MHRA on GOV.UK


Effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine

After having both doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine most people will be protected against coronavirus, however, it takes a few weeks after getting the 2nd dose for it to work.

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


This means it is important to:

  • continue to follow social distancing guidance

  • if you can, wear something that covers your nose and mouth in places where it’s hard to stay away from other people

Read more about why vaccines are safe and important, including how they work and what they contain.

COVID-19 vaccine side effects

Most side effects are mild and should not last longer than a week, such as:

  • a sore arm where the needle went in

  • feeling tired

  • a headache

  • feeling achy

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

If you have a high temperature you may have coronavirus or another infection.

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

It is very rare for anyone to have a serious reaction to the vaccine (anaphylaxis). If this does happen, it usually happens within minutes of receiving the vaccine.

Staff giving the vaccine are trained to deal with allergic reactions and treat them immediately.

You can report any suspected side effect using the Yellow Card safety scheme.

Visit Yellow Card for further information.

COVID-19 vaccine ingredients

The COVID-19 vaccine does not contain any animal products or egg.


Next steps

The NHS will offer the vaccine to more groups of people and in more ways, like local vaccination services, but this will be a marathon over the coming months, not a sprint:

  • We will keep expanding the programme as we get more vaccines.

  • So that we are able to go as fast as supply allows, we have been recruiting and training more vaccinators and support staff from across the NHS and outside of it and SEL are getting a tremendous response for roles advertised.

  • All of these will be trained, assessed, and supervised, just like regular NHS vaccinators.

The public are vital to really help the NHS deliver this effectively to those who need it most. Our asks are:

  • The NHS will contact you when it’s the right time to come forward so please don’t seek a vaccine before then, it adds pressure to an already pressurised system if you do.

  • Please act on the invite when it arrives and make sure to attend your appointments when they are made.

(This information is correct as at 11/12/20)

Why Do I Have To Wait For The COVID-19 Vaccine?

People most at risk from the complications of COVID-19 are being offered the vaccine first.

An independent group of experts has recommended that the NHS first offers these vaccines to those at highest risk of catching the disease and of suffering serious complications or dying from
COVID-19. This includes older adults in care homes and frontline health and social care workers.


When more vaccine becomes available, the vaccines will be offered to other people at risk as soon as possible.

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