COVID-19 vaccine information
Who should take the vaccine
Everyone except pregnant women should get the vaccine when they are invited to do so.
If you’ve had COVID-19 we recommend you still get the vaccine. We don’t know if having COVID-19 protects you from catching it again.
What it protects you against
Current evidence suggests that the COVID-19 vaccine is effective against the current and new UK variant.
More evidence is being collected to establish vaccine effectiveness against any new variants emerging across the world.
What the COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t protect you against
The COVID-19 vaccine will not protect you against the flu, the flu vaccine does not protect you from COVID-19.
If you are eligible for both vaccines you should have them both, but normally separated by at least 1 week.
Benefits and risks
Benefits of the vaccine
The vaccine is safe and effective and gives you the best protection against serious illness and death from COVID-19
The more people have the vaccine, the less chance people will become seriously ill from the virus, and we will achieve better protection at the community level, known as ‘herd immunity’.
Vaccines and medicines are highly regulated products and the UK has some of the highest safety standards in the world.
The vaccine is free of charge on the NHS (you will never be asked to pay for your vaccine, and you will not be asked for your bank account details at any point).
The vaccines have been rigorously tested and approved as safe and effective by the expert Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in the UK, EU regulators and Food and Drug Administration regulators in the USA.
Risks of the vaccine
The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19, however all vaccines are known to have some side effects that mimic some COVID-19 symptoms. This is a sign that your immune system is responding to the vaccination.
Mild side effects may include:
- a sore arm
- feeling tired
- a headache
- feeling achy
If you need to, you can take painkillers like paracetamol.
So far, millions of people in the UK have been given the vaccine and no serious side effects or complications have been reported (apart from anaphylactic reactions in people who have had a history of severe allergic reactions).
Any side effects are recorded as part of ongoing monitoring of the vaccine as would happen with any new medication.
Guidance will be provided to you during the vaccination process about side effects.
When you will get your vaccine
You will be contacted by the NHS when it is your turn to have the COVID-19 vaccine. It is currently being offered to those people most at risk from severe illness and death.
There are 9 priority groups part of phase 1, these are:
- residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
- people aged 80 years and over, and frontline health and social care workers
- people aged 75 years and over
- people aged 70 years and over, and clinically extremely vulnerable individual
- people aged 65 years and over
- people aged 16 to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality and unpaid care workers
- people aged 60 years and over
- people aged 55 years and over
- people aged 50 years and over
There is a national aim to vaccinate all those in groups 1 to 4 by mid-February 2021.
The council is supporting the national vaccination programme. We are working alongside the NHS as well as local and voluntary sector organisations to identify priority cohorts for the vaccine and the administration of the roll out.
Social care workers are vaccinated as priority group 2
If you are a front line social care worker in Barnet and have not yet received information about how to access the vaccine, please email Care Quality Barnet
Unpaid carers will get vaccinated with priority group 6; if you are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or if you are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill.
New advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisations (JCVI) is the second dose of vaccine remains effective when given up to 12 weeks after the first dose.
Current advice suggests vaccinating as many people as possible by giving them the first dose followed by the second dose towards the end of the 12-week period.
Evidence of immunity is closely monitored to inform future policy set by the JCVI.
Where to get the vaccine
In Barnet, when you are offered a vaccine your appointment will either be at a:
- local hospital
- GP surgery vaccination hub
- large-scale vaccination centre in Barnet (due to be opened in February)
You will be told by your GP when they will be coming to your home to give you the vaccine. The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to give you the vaccine.
How to book your appointment
Please wait to be contacted to book your vaccine. You will be contacted by the NHS, your employer, a GP surgery or pharmacy local to you, normally via text or telephone.
Do not call your GP surgery to ask when you will be vaccinated, as these calls take staff away from organising the vaccine rollout or supporting routine general practice.
We are not aware of any vaccines going to waste in Barnet, every vaccine has been used.
You may also receive a letter directly from the Government offering an appointment at a larger vaccination centre outside of Barnet. You do have a choice however to wait for an invitation at a local vaccination centre.
When booking your test, you will be asked for:
- your name
- date of birth
- NHS number (if you know it)
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.
Attending your appointment
At the time of your appointment, if you have COVID-19 or have symptoms that could be COVID-19, you should get a test and self-isolate.
You should not be vaccinated until four weeks after onset of symptoms or four weeks from the confirmed test if you are asymptomatic and you have recovered. If you have a vaccine booked or are offered one during this time, please call your centre to reschedule.
Different COVID-19 vaccines
Vaccine stocks and appointment availability is limited. You will receive the vaccine that is offered to you at the time of your appointment.
At present, this could be either Pfizer or Astra Zeneca.
After you’ve had the vaccine
The COVID-19 vaccination will reduce the chance of your suffering from COVID-19.
Your immunity will start to develop 7 to 10 days after the first dose, with good protection after 12 days. Full protection will be achieved at least 7 to 12 days after the second dose.
It is not yet known whether the COVID-19 vaccine will stop you from infecting other people once you have been vaccinated. Research is being carried out to confirm if this is true.
There is certainly hope on the horizon however, it is too early to relax.
It will take at least 6 to 9 months until everyone is vaccinated across the country. We are also still unclear about how effective the is vaccine against reducing the spread of transmission.
Even after being vaccinated, please continue to follow the social distancing and infection control guidance to protect yourself and others.