Covid-19 - frequently asked questions

Page updated 16 April 2024.

For national information about the Covid-19 vaccine, visit

If you need help with anything relating to vaccines, phone the helpline on:

03000 810 007

Open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm

If you are registered with a GP you will be invited, using the contact details your GP has.

If you are not registered with a GP, use the online search on

If you are registered with a GP, please make sure they have your correct contact details. Please contact your practice and they will update your records. 

Like some other vaccines, levels of protection may decline over time. Vaccinations are being offer to those as greatest risk this spring to help them to maintain strong protection from becoming seriously ill or needing to go to hospital if they catch Covid-19.

Vaccines enabled the gradual and safe removal of restrictions on everyday life. Thanks to the Covid-19 vaccine, we were able to get back to doing the things we love.

However, Covid-19 is still out there and there are still people in hospital unwell with the virus.

Many of those that are in hospital are those who have not been vaccinated or have not received a booster.

No, all Covid-19 vaccines offered are highly effective and provide a strong booster response. When you attend your appointment, the NHS will offer you a safe, effective vaccine.

All Covid-19 vaccines offered in England have been approved for use by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

These vaccines have met the MHRA’s strict standards of safety, quality, and effectiveness. There are checks at every stage in the development and manufacturing process, and continued monitoring once it has been authorised and is being used in the wider population.

Each of the vaccines are tested on tens of thousands of people across the world. They are tested on both men and women, on people from different ethnic backgrounds, and of all age groups.

People with dementia are a priority for primary care to support at all times.

GP practices 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 10 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. 

Covid-19 testing

Healthcare workers are no longer required to complete routine lateral flow testing (LFT), and they are not eligible for free LFT, except healthcare workers whose job primarily involves providing direct care to inpatients who are severely immunosuppressed.


Only those eligible for Covid-19 treatment can access free lateral flow testing (LFT).

Eligible patients should collect free LFT kit from a local pharmacy. Find your nearest pharmacy offering this service.

Pharmacies in Kent and Medway supplying LFT kits


This has replaced the online and telephone ordering services for free rapid lateral flow tests provided by GOV.UK and NHS 119. 

The pharmacy may ask the patient about their medical history to confirm they are eligible for free tests.


The government published its plan for Living with Covid-19 and free universal testing has come to an end.

Most people are no longer required to get a PCR test if they have Covid-19 symptoms. 

Local hospitals, GP surgeries and walk-in centres are not doing Covid-19 tests for the general public. Please do not go to local health services to ask for a Covid-19 test.

Find out more about the changes to Covid-19 testing in England.

If you would like to contact the national testing programme or raise a complaint about Covid-19 testing, please contact the Department of Health and Social Care on 020 7210 4850.

Changes to Covid-19 testing

Vaccine records

The Vaccination Data Resolution Service (VDRS) is no longer updating vaccination records.

If a patient believes there is missing or incorrect vaccination data on their records, they now need to re-visit the site where they had their vaccination and ask for their record to be updated.

They can also contact the ICB if the site has closed, or it has been more than 365 days since their vaccination.

Email the ICB's Vaccinations Team
Find the new guidance.


It is a traveller’s responsibility to check individual requirements for any vaccine when travelling abroad.

If needed, people in England who have both Covid-19 vaccine doses can demonstrate their vaccination status via the NHS App.

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. 

Pregnant women are also encouraged to have the flu jab and the whooping cough vaccine.

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

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

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

When to get the vaccine

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

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 will be able to get your vaccine another time.

If you are symptom-free you can have the vaccine.

Vaccination sites

During the seasonal vaccination programme, vaccines will be available at pharmacies or walk-in clinics.

Find a walk-in clinic

Find the health and wellbeing bus timetable. The Covid-19 spring booster is available on the bus which is a walk-in service; no appointment is needed.


There is a national website for finding a walk-in clinic by entering your postcode.

During the seasonal vaccination programme, if you are unable to have a vaccine at your GP practice, you will need to attend either a pharmacy or walk-in clinics offering the Covid-19 vaccine. 

Find a walk-in clinic

Find the health and wellbeing bus timetable. The Covid-19 spring booster is available on the bus which is a walk-in service; no appointment is needed.

There is a national website for finding a walk-in clinic by entering your postcode.



Patients who are recorded by their GP practice as housebound will get a home visit for the vaccine. 

Your GP practice or an alternative provider will contact you to arrange a visit during an active campaign. 

What to expect when attending your vaccination appointment

When you arrive for your appointment, 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.

Every effort is being made to make the process as smooth as possible 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.

No, unless your booking is for a family booking and everyone has been booked in for a vaccination, please make every effort to come to your appointment alone.

Myth busting

No. You cannot catch Covid-19 from the vaccine.

Most side effects of the Covid-19 vaccination are mild and should not last longer than a week.

For more information on the vaccine side effects, visit the NHS website

The vaccines available in the UK 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.

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

The vaccines are suitable for people of all faiths.

Find out more about the vaccines here. 


Local progress

You can find updates and nationally published data on the UK Health Security Agency dashboard.

Text Size: