The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. It gives you the best protection against coronavirus.
WARNING: Please be aware of current scams around the COVID-19 vaccine
Latest videos and podcast
- Hear from our Director of Public Health, Shannon Katiyo
- Find out more about the opening of the new large vaccination centre at the Stoop
- Hear from Dr Patrick Gibson, from Richmond CCG, in our podcast about the vaccine.
Together with our partners Healthwatch Richmond and RCVS, we are hosting a number of webinars with a panel of experts answering your questions on everything you need to know about the vaccine.
Find out about the latest events and watch the videos of the previous events.
Vaccine information and questions
- Who can get the COVID-19 vaccine
- When will I be vaccinated?
- Is the vaccine safe?
- Are there concerns about the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine?
- How effective are the vaccines?
- Will the vaccines work with the new strains?
- Can people pick what vaccine they want?
- What about the Moderna vaccine?
- Does the vaccine have any side effects?
- Does the vaccine include any parts from foetal or animal origin?
- Do I need to have the vaccine if I have already had COVID-19?
- Do I have to follow the COVID-19 public health guidance, if I have received the vaccine?
- Can Muslims have the vaccine under Islamic law?
- Could the vaccine be less effective for Black people?
- Other information about the vaccine
- Vaccine information in easy-read format
- Vaccine information in other languages
The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus.
At this time, the vaccine is being offered to:
- People aged 45 and over
- People aged over 16 who are at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable)
- People aged over 16 who are at moderate risk from coronavirus (clinically vulnerable)
- People who live or work in care homes
- Health and social care workers
- People who are eligible for Carer’s Allowance – find out more
You will only be offered an appointment if you are in one of these priority groups.
If you are aged 45 or over and have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19, you can contact the NHS to arrange a jab. The easiest way to arrange a vaccination is through the national booking service which can be accessed at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination. Anyone unable to book online can call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week.
If a suitable and convenient slot is not available people can also call their GP practice.
View how to contact NHS for a COVID jab if you are over-56s.
Register with a GP
You will need to be registered with a GP surgery in England. You can register with a GP if you do not have one.
Unpaid carers across Richmond upon Thames could be eligible for the coronavirus vaccine as part of the ongoing vaccination programme. Under priority group six which is currently rolling out, unpaid carers of family members and friends who receive carers allowance are eligible for the vaccine. It also applies to those who are the sole or primary carer for someone elderly or with a disability who are at an increased risk and considered clinically vulnerable.
If you think you are an eligible unpaid carer who has not been contacted for your coronavirus vaccination, speak to your GP surgery.
The order in which people will be offered the vaccine is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
The NHS will let you know when it's your turn to have the vaccine. It is important NOT to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then. When it is the right time for you to receive your vaccination, you will receive an invitation to come forward. This may be via the phone, or through a letter either from your GP or the national booking system. This letter will include all the information you will need to book appointments, including your NHS number. Please do not contact the NHS to get an appointment until you get this letter.
- Further information on why you may need to wait for the vaccine (pdf, 348 KB)
- Further information on what to expect from the vaccine (pdf, 551 KB)
Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines are now available. Both vaccines have been shown to be safe and offer high levels of protection and have been given regulatory approval 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 MHRA follows international standards of safety.
Other vaccines are being developed. 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 and no serious side effects or complications have been reported.
Find out more about regulatory approval of the vaccine.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is safe, effective and has already saved thousands of lives. The MHRA (UK regulator) has undertaken a thorough review into UK reports of a very rare and unlikely to occur specific type of blood clot in the brain, following vaccination with the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. Up to and including 31 March 2021, the MHRA had received 79 UK reports of blood clotting cases alongside low levels of platelets following the use of the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca.
Everybody who has already had a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine should receive a second dose of the same brand, irrespective of age, except for the very small number of people who experienced blood clots with low platelet counts from their first vaccination.
The Government has also sets out that, as a precaution, it is preferable for people under the age of 30 with no underlying health conditions to be offered an alternative vaccine where possible once they are eligible.
When people are called forward, they should get their jab. Vaccines are the best way out of this pandemic and provide strong protection against COVID-19.
The MHRA have said these vaccines are highly effective, but to get full protection people need to come back for the second dose – this is really important.
To ensure as many people are vaccinated as quickly as possible, the Department for Health and Social Care now advise that the second dose of both the OxfordAstraZeneca and the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine should be scheduled up to 12 weeks apart.
Full protection kicks in around a week or two after that second dose, which is why it’s also important that when you do get invited, you act on that and get yourself booked in as soon as possible. Even those who have received a vaccine still need to follow social distancing and other guidance.
There is no evidence currently that the new strains will be resistant to the vaccines we have, so the NHS are continuing to vaccinate people as normal. Scientists are looking now in detail at the characteristics of the virus in relation to the vaccines. Viruses, such as the winter flu virus, often branch into different strains but these small variations rarely render vaccines ineffective.
Any vaccines that the NHS will provide will have been approved because they pass the MHRA’s tests on safety and efficacy, so people should be assured that whatever vaccine they get, it is worth their while.
The MHRA have now decided – after extensive assessment – that the Moderna vaccines are safe and effective. The Government provisionally ordered several million doses of this vaccine ahead of it being approved, but we don’t expect Moderna to be able to make these available until spring 2021.
These are important details which the MHRA always consider when assessing candidate vaccines for use. For these vaccines, like lots of others, they have identified that some people might feel slightly unwell, but they report that no significant side effects have been observed in the tens of thousands of people involved in trials.
All patients will be provided with information on the vaccine they have received, how to look out for any side effects, and what to do if they do occur, including reporting them to the MHRA. Find out more about the side effects.
There is no material of foetal or animal origin in either vaccine. All ingredients are published in healthcare information on the MHRA’s website.
Yes. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection with COVID-19 is possible, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 infection.
Yes. The vaccine remains one of the main ways the country will reduce the impact of the virus on people’s health and on our healthcare services. Experts know the vaccine reduces the chance of people suffering from COVID-19, and while they do not yet know if it will stop people catching or passing on the virus, they expect it will reduce this risk. Therefore, there is a small chance you might still get or spread coronavirus even if you have had the vaccine. Therefore, those who have been vaccinated must follow the same public health guidance of hands, face, space, and limiting social mixing as they did before. This includes getting tested if you display COVID-19 symptoms.
Yes, after discussion with experts, the British Islamic Medical Association encourages individuals to take the COVID vaccine as advised by their medical practitioner.
No, there is not any evidence that either of the vaccines will work differently among different ethnic groups. Around 10% of the Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine trial participants were Black or African.
- Official vaccine website
- Information about having the vaccine if pregnant (pdf, 264 KB)
- Guide for older people (pdf, 780 KB)
- Mencap easy-read vaccine guide (pdf, 1.2 MB)
- Mencap easy-read vaccine FAQs (pdf, 1.5 MB)
- Public Health England vaccine guide (pdf, 1.6 MB)
Up to: Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Updated: 13 April 2021