Covid-19 vaccination - frequently asked questions

Page updated 10 August 2021

A number of older questions and answers have been removed from this page to make it clearer. If you cannot find the information you are looking for we have a Covid-19 vaccination helpline on 0330 320 4444, open between 8.30am and 5pm Monday to Friday.

Travel

The government’s website has been updated with details on the vaccination requirement before travelling internationally.

Countries will decide whether they require proof of Covid vaccination for entry, and it is the traveller’s responsibility to check individual requirements. If needed, people in England who have both vaccine doses will be able to demonstrate their Covid vaccination status via the NHS App from 17 May.

Those without access to the app can request a letter from the NHS proving their vaccination status by calling 119.  More information will be shared with you when it becomes available.

Fertility, pregnancy and breastfeeding

Yes. The Covid-19 virus increases the risk for pregnant women needing hospitalisation and the potential of premature birth. The vaccines are recommended to protect you and your baby from severe illness and premature birth. 

Pfizer or Moderna are the vaccines offered to pregnant women. In Kent and Medway most of our clinics are using Pfizer. There are only a small number of clinics using the Moderna vaccine.

You can book an appointment or use one of the walk-in clinics listed on our main vaccination page.

Read more about the vaccine and fertility, pregnancy and breastfeeding on the NHS.uk website

No, you don’t need to stop breastfeeding. Read more about the vaccine and fertility, pregnancy and breastfeeding on the NHS.uk website

Women trying to become pregnant do not need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination and there is no evidence to suggest that Covid-19 vaccines will affect fertility.

Read more about the vaccine and fertility, pregnancy and breastfeeding on the NHS.uk website

Read more about the vaccine and fertility, pregnancy and breastfeeding on the NHS.uk website

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has also updated its guidance about the vaccine and pregnancy. On its website you can find questions and answers and links to more information to help make informed decisions about vaccination in pregnancy.

First dose of the vaccine

The vaccine is now being offered to all adults over 18 and extended to some young people under 18. Read the latest information on who can get the vaccine on the NHS.uk website.

Yes. The offer of a vaccine remains open to everyone who is eligible regardless of when you were first offered it.

Details of Kent and Medway walk-in clinics are on our main vaccine page and booked appointment are available online or by calling 119.

Second dose of the vaccine

The first dose of the vaccine gives you good protection from coronavirus but you need to have two doses to give you longer lasting protection.

Evidence on the effectiveness of the vaccines against the Delta variant shows it is particularly important to get your second dose for maximum protection.

The latest guidance to the NHS is to give second doses 8 weeks after the first dose. Unless there are exceptional circumstances you will not be offered a second dose earlier than 8 weeks.

If you attend a walk-in clinic for a second dose earlier than 8 weeks you are likely to be turned away.

Everyone should receive a vaccination card when they have their first vaccine which will include information on when the second dose is due. 

People who booked online can remind themselves of the place and time of their second dose using the ‘manage my appointments’ section on www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine.

People who used a GP-led service will be contacted to book their second dose appointment.

If you used a walk-in service you will need to attend another walk-in service eight weeks from your first dose. It does not have to be at the same location. 

People should generally have the same vaccine for both their first and second doses. There are some studies being done about the potential to use different vaccines across different doses.

Details on which vaccine is offered as a third booster will be confirmed shortly.

You can now have second vaccinations from a different site to where you got your first dose.

If you have a booked second dose appointment please keep it or make sure you cancel if you cannot make it or arrange an alternative appointment.

When to get the vaccine

No. If you have symptoms, have a positive test or are self-isolating with other members of your household who have the virus, please do not come to a vaccination site.

You must stay at home until your self-isolation period is complete.

You will be able to get your vaccine another time. If you have Covid-19 you will need to wait 28 days from a positive test or the start of symptoms before having the vaccine.

Yes, if you are in a priority group identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The MHRA has looked at this and decided that getting vaccinated is just as important for those who have already had Covid-19 as it is for those who haven’t.

Ideally vaccination should wait until you have recovered. You should wait at least 28 days after the start of symptoms or the first positive test result if you do not have any symptoms.

Having prolonged Covid-19 symptoms for more than four weeks is not in itself a reason to delay receiving the Covid-19 vaccine, but if you are seriously debilitated, still under active investigation, or have recently deteriorated further please contact your GP to discuss possible deferral of vaccination to avoid incorrect attribution of any change in underlying condition to the vaccine.

No, the Covid-19 vaccination is only available through the NHS to eligible groups and it is a free vaccination.

If you are offered or see the vaccine being advertised anywhere as something you can pay for it will be a scam and you should not follow it up.

Coronavirus vaccines are only available on the NHS. You may be contacted by the NHS, your employer, or a GP surgery local to you.

We are aware that in the early stages of the vaccination programme some people were receiving suspicious calls and text messages offering the COVID-19 vaccination. The NHS national booking service and some GP services are using texts to invite people for vaccines - so not all texts are scams.

 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, report it to Kent Police online or phone 101.

Kent County Council alerts on scams (not just Covid-19 related)

Sign up for alert by email or follow Public Protection Kent on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/publicprotection and Twitter https://twitter.com/kentprotect 

Vaccination sites

Yes, we are now running a range of walk-in clinics. Details are on the main vaccination page. Dates, times and locations are updated regularly.

A list and map of services is on our main Covid-19 vaccination page

If your GP surgery is not directly giving Covid-19 vaccines they will be working with others to offer it from a central point.

There are also pharmacies, large vaccination centres and walk-in clinics. All the details of current locations offering the vaccine are on the main vaccination page.

If a GP practice is listed on the national booking services anyone can use it - you do not have to be registered with the actual practice.

Patients who are recorded by their GP surgery as housebound will get home visits for the vaccines. 

GP-led teams are overseeing vaccination of house bound patients. The actual vaccine may be given by a community nurse or other healthcare professional working on behalf of your GP practice. The details of who will come, and when, will be confirmed directly by your local vaccination team. 

 

What to expect when attending your vaccination appointment

Please make your way to the entrance or join the back of the queue if there is one.

At the entrance to the vaccination site, there will be someone there to explain the next steps, including the pre-screening questions, you will be asked to consent to have the vaccination and you will be called in to have your vaccine.

You will also need to follow any instructions you may have been given when you booked your appointment.

Please observe social distancing guidelines when at the vaccination service and keep two metres away from others at all times.

Every effort is being made to make the process as smooth as possible and with the progress of the vaccination programme the number of people at vaccine clinics has reduced; but some waiting may be unavoidable.

You may have to queue outside, so please dress appropriately. There are no refreshments at these sites, so you may wish bring a bottle of water and a snack. Please visit the toilet before you arrive. If you have a walking aid or portable chair, you may wish to bring it with you.

Please don’t bring anyone else with you, unless you have to. You may accompany someone who is having their vaccination if they cannot attend without your help.

Please make every effort to come to your appointment alone to minimise the risk of Covid-19 infection. If you do bring babies or children with you, there is no guarantee that your vaccination will be given and you may be asked to return for another appointment.

Yes. All healthcare services are still asking patients, staff and visitors to wear a face covering. 

Please also follow any other rules that are in place at sites for social distancing and use of the antibacterial hand gel etc.

Invitations to be vaccinated

You need to be registered with a GP to have a vaccine. If you are not registered with a GP use the online search on www.nhs.uk or phone 0300 311 22 33. 

If you are registered with a GP, please make sure they have your correct contact details. NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (the CCG) is unable to access your patient record, please contact your practice and they will update your records. 

Dementia patients are of course a priority for primary care to support at all times. GP surgeries have dementia registers that identify patients and arrangements are made to communicate with people or their registered carers in an appropriate way. The same systems will be used for vaccination invitations for people with dementia.

You do not need your NHS number to book a vaccine or use a walk-in clinic.

However, if you need to find your NHS number it is a ten digit number and should be on any letter or document you have received from the NHS, including prescriptions, test results, and hospital referral or appointment letters.

There is an online tool for finding your NHS number if you do not have any information with it on. 

We are aware that in the earlier stages of the vaccine programme some people recieved 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, report it to Kent Police online or phone 101.

The vaccines

You can report suspected side effects to medicines, vaccines or medical device and diagnostic adverse incidents used in coronavirus treatment on the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) website.

There will not be open choice of which vaccine to have. Any vaccines that are available have been approved because they pass the MHRA’s tests on safety and effectiveness, so people can be assured that whatever vaccine they get will protect them from coronavirus.

Some people are advised to have the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines rather than the AstraZeneca. Vaccine services will ensure only the recommended vaccine is offered. The National Booking Service will use the information you provide to only show options for clinics that provide the vaccine recommended for you.

 

There are now three vaccines available in the UK.

  • Pfizer/BioNTech
  • AstraZeneca/Oxford
  • Moderna 

They have all 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 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.

Find out more about the vaccines here 

A fourth vaccine (Janssen vaccine) will be available later this year.

The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain egg or animal products.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine contains a tiny amount of alcohol, but this is less than in some everyday foods like bread.

The vaccines are suitable for people of all faiths.

You can find out about the ingredients in the vaccines currently available in the UK:

Local progress

You can find updates on our local vaccination programme along with links to nationally published data on our updates page.

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