Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccination FAQs

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccination Questions

Below are a series of Frequently Asked Questions to help you in making an informed decision about the Coronavirus vaccine.

Visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccination Updates page to find out the latest news and updates about the Vaccination Programme in Surrey Heartlands. 

Please note your COVID-19 Vaccination does not protect you against flu, for information regarding your flu vaccination visit our Flu Vaccination webpage.


Please find details of pop-up and walk-in vaccination clinics on our vaccination centres webpage.

You cannot chose which vaccine you will have. Vaccines provided by the NHS have been approved because they pass the MHRA’s tests on safety and efficacy.

Vaccines are the way out of this pandemic. Please be assured that whichever vaccine you get, it is worth your while.

Help us to help you:

  • Please attend your booked appointments
  • Please do not arrive too early for your vaccination appointment to help us maintain social distancing
  • Please continue to follow all the rules to control the virus and save lives.

When will I be offered a vaccination?

We are following the guidance issued by the JCVI (Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation) and vaccinating people in a priority order based on the JCVI’s determination of risk of serious illness or death from Covid-19.

The following groups are eligible for vaccination:

  • Young people and adults aged 16 years and over

  • Children aged 12 to 15 years

Vaccinations for 12 to 15 year-olds

Following advice from the four UK Chief Medical Officers (CMOs), the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has announced that healthy children and young people aged 12 to 15 in England will be offered one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.
Who will be responsible for giving the COVID-19 vaccine to healthy 12 to 15 year-olds?
  • Vaccination will be carried out by school-aged immunisation service (SAIS) providers, a group of provider organisations such as NHS community trusts who are contracted in local systems to provide routine immunisation services such as flu.

Vaccination safety

Vaccines provided by the NHS have been approved because they pass the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency tests on safety and efficacy
Is the NHS confident the vaccine is safe?
  • Yes. The NHS will not offer any COVID-19 vaccinations to the public until experts have confirmed they are safe.  

    The MHRA, the official UK regulator, has said that the vaccines currently provided – Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneka - and the newly approved vaccine – Moderna - are very safe and highly effective, and we have full confidence in their expert judgement and processes.

  • As with any medicine, vaccines are highly regulated products. There are checks at every stage in the development and manufacturing process, and continued monitoring once they have been authorised and are being administered to the public.

Fertility, pregnancy, and the vaccines

The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines available in the UK have been shown to be effective and to have a good safety profile.

These vaccines do not contain live coronavirus and cannot infect a pregnant woman or her unborn baby in the womb

There is no need to avoid getting pregnant after COVID-19 vaccination. There is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines have any effect on fertility or your chances of becoming pregnant.

Should I receive the vaccine if I am of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding?

Existing health conditions and the vaccines

Vaccines are the best way to protect people from COVID-19 and have already saved thousands of lives. Everyone should continue to get their vaccination when asked to do so unless specifically advised otherwise.

I’ve had my flu vaccine, do I need a coronavirus vaccine?
  • The flu vaccine does not protect you from Covid-19. Please take up your Covid-19 vaccines as soon as you are offered them.

The vaccines and suitability

The COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the UK have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.
Do the vaccines contain animal products?
  • No, the approved COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any animal products or egg. The COVID-19 vaccine ingredients are available on the GOV.UK website.

How effective are the vaccines?

Three COVID-19 vaccines, Pfizer/BioNTech, COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca and COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna, are currently being used in the UK. All have been authorised for supply by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) following a thorough review of safety, quality and efficacy information from clinical trials.

In clinical trials, the vaccines showed very high levels of protection against symptomatic infections with COVID-19. 

Data is now available on the impact of the vaccination campaign in reducing infections and illness in the UK.

How effective are the COVID-19 vaccines?
  • The 1st dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine should give you good protection from coronavirus. But you need to have the two doses plus a booster vaccine to give you longer lasting and better protection.

  • There is a chance you might still get or spread coronavirus even if you have been vaccinated but the chance of serious illness is lowered. This means it is important to continue to follow current guidance around COVID-19.

Booking your vaccination appointment

Vaccination services are running in a number of community locations.

You can find out more, including details of locations and availability of walk-in vaccination clinics with no appointments required on our Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccination Centres webpage.

How will I know where I have to go for my vaccination?

Help with your vaccination appointment

Should you need it, help and assistance is available across all of our vaccination sites.
I don't have transport to get to my vaccination appointment. What should I do?

Attending your vaccination appointment

During vaccination, strict infection prevention and control measures will be in place. Staff will wear face masks and ensure their hands are sanitised between patient appointments.

The vaccine will be given as an injection in the upper arm. It'll only take a few minutes to get the coronavirus vaccine.

Do not attend your vaccine appointment if you feel unwell with symptoms of coronavirus.
What do I need to bring to my appointment?
  • You'll need to bring:

    o A face covering, unless you cannot wear one for an age, health or disability reason.

    o Your booking reference number.

    o If you are a health or social care worker, eligible because of your workplace, you will need to bring proof of your work identity such as a work ID card, wage slip or official letter from your employer.

After your vaccination appointment

It is extremely important that you continue to adhere to all current rules to minimise infection.
Will I be protected from the virus straight after my first vaccination?
  • You get the vast majority of your protection from two weeks after your latest dose.

  • It is extremely important that you take up the offer of your latest vaccine as soon as you are invited.

Vaccination locations

Visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccination Centres page to find out where services are located in Surrey Heartlands.

There are different types of sites operating in Surrey Heartlands:

  • Mass Vaccination Sites and Community Pharmacies, which are sites coordinated by NHS England.
  • GP-led Local Vaccination Sites.
  • GP-Led Pop-up Vaccination Sites.
How have you chosen your local vaccination service locations, why isn’t there a service in my town/village?
  • Last November we were asked by NHS England to start preparing for the Covid-19 vaccination programme and to identify suitable local sites from which to administer the vaccination.  To make sure we can vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible, our GP practices are working together in groups (known as Primary Care Networks) and so in most cases we have chosen local community venues where the practices can work together to provide a larger local service, taking advantage of ‘economies of scale’ of pooling resources.

    The team at the CCG worked quickly, in collaboration with local councils and businesses, our GP practices and Primary Care Networks and with NHS England to identify the most appropriate local venues.  Each site that was being considered had to go through a thorough assurance process, taking into account a range of factors such as clinical suitability, accessibility, geographical spread, value for money and so on with final sign-off from the regional NHS England team. 

    In order to vaccinate the number of people we need to in this critical vaccination programme, in the timescales required, it would not have been practical or a good use of our finite resources to set up lots of smaller sites.  We have also been working with local community transport providers and charities to help patients who have found travel to some of these sites more difficult and we also have roving services to reach those who are registered as housebound.

Review Date: 2021-07-19
Review Due: 2021-09-20
Model Publication Scheme Class: Class 9: Services Commissioned