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Frequently Asked Questions - COVID-19 Vaccine

Further information about the COVID-19 vaccine is available on the NHS website here. Regional Frequently Asked Questions are available here and a range of COVID-19 vaccination facts available here

The JCVI has now advised that children and young people aged 12 years and over with specific underlying health conditions that put them at risk of serious COVID-19, should be offered COVID-19 vaccination.

In addition, children and young people aged 12 years and over who are household contacts of persons (adults or children) who are immunosuppressed should be offered COVID-19 vaccination, on the understanding that the main benefits from vaccination are related to the potential for indirect protection of their household contact who is immunosuppressed.

Everyone in Cheshire who has already had their first dose COVID vaccine will now receive their second dose 8 weeks later.

People using the National Booking Service are given their closest available appointment locations.

While most people will book both appointments at the same location, there is an option for the second dose appointment to be booked at a different location. This applies to the COVID-19 Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine only.

  • People who had their first dose through a GP service should be invited for their second dose through the same GP service.
  • People who had their first dose at a Hospital Hub site should be invited or be able to book their second dose at the same location.
  • There are other circumstances in which it may be appropriate for a patient to receive their second dose in a different location to their first dose, for example, discharged outpatients, students, doctors in training on rotation to hospitals, people who have become housebound or moved into a care home since their first dose, or
    patients who have moved to a new house to somewhere a long way away from where they had their first dose.

The JCVI defines clinically vulnerable people as those with:

  • chronic respiratory disease, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis and severe asthma
  • chronic heart disease (and vascular disease) 
  • chronic kidney disease
  • chronic liver disease
  • chronic neurological disease including epilepsy
  • Down's syndrome
  • severe and profound learning disability
  • diabetes
  • solid organ, bone marrow and stem cell transplant recipients
  • people with specific cancers
  • immunosuppression due to disease or treatment
  • asplenia and splenic dysfunction
  • morbid obesity
  • severe mental illness

No. The Pfizer, Oxford-AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines have all been approved for use in the UK following extensive trials. The NHS only ever uses vaccines that are proven to be both safe and effective.

A detailed review of the vaccines and their ingredients have been provided by the
Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA):

For the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine information is available here

For the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine information is available here

The British Islamic Medical Association have produced a helpful guide for the Muslim
community which can be found here

In March 2021 several countries - as a precaution - suspended use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine over concerns about possible side effects.

In a statement, Dr Phil Bryan, Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Vaccines Safety Lead, said: “The benefits of the vaccine in preventing COVID-19, with its associated risk of hospitalisation and death, far outweigh the risks of side effects. People should go and get their COVID-19 vaccine when asked to do so.

"It is still the case that it has not been confirmed the reported blood clots were caused by the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. Blood clots can occur naturally and are not uncommon.

"Our role is to continually monitor safety during widespread use of a vaccine. We have in place a proactive strategy to do this. We also work closely with our public health and international partners in reviewing the effectiveness and impact of the vaccines to ensure the benefits continue to outweigh any possible side effects."

A further statement from AstraZeneca provides additional detail including: “A careful review of all available safety data of more than 17 million people vaccinated in the European Union (EU) and UK with COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or thrombocytopenia, in any defined age group, gender, batch or in any particular country.

"So far across the EU and UK, there have been 15 events of DVT and 22 events of pulmonary embolism reported among those given the vaccine, based on the number of cases the company has received as of 8 March. This is much lower than would be expected to occur naturally in a general population of this size and is similar across other licensed COVID-19 vaccines.”

If you're pregnant, you should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine when you're eligible for it.

It's preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine because they've been more widely used during pregnancy in other countries and have not caused any safety issues.

You can also have the COVID-19 vaccine if you're breastfeeding.

Speak to a healthcare professional before you have the vaccination. They will discuss the benefits and risks with you.

The vaccine cannot give you or your baby COVID-19.

Dr Edward Morris, President at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), has said: "We want to reassure women that there is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines will affect fertility. Claims of any effect of COVID-19 vaccination on fertility are speculative and not supported by any data.

"There is no biologically plausible mechanism by which current vaccines would cause any impact on women's fertility. Evidence has not been presented that women who have been vaccinated have gone on to have fertility problems.

"For women in the age group where they may be considering pregnancy, the vaccination is only currently being offered to two groups - health and social care workers (including carers for older adults in residential care homes) who are at higher risk of catching Covid-19 and those with serious medical conditions who have a greater risk of severe illness from Covid-19. Pregnant and breastfeeding women who are eligible will also be offered the vaccine."

Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Chief Executive Gill Walton said: "If you are eligible for and have been offered a COVID-19 vaccine, the decision whether to have the vaccination is your choice. You can either have the vaccine or wait for more information about the vaccine. Women who are eligible for the vaccination should consider discussing any concerns they have with their midwife or healthcare professional.

"The RCOG and RCM would also like to emphasise to all women in this group (and all others) the importance of practicing social distancing, wearing a mask and regular handwashing."

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) does not advise routine pregnancy testing before receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine and they state that those who are trying to become pregnant do not need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination.

It is expected that access to the vaccine will allow vulnerable patient groups to be able to access fertility treatment that may have been paused during the pandemic.

The use of any pharmaceutical product in women who are trying to conceive should be subject to a balance between the expected benefit and potential harms.

Women who would benefit from the vaccine should be able to receive it without compromising their planned fertility treatment. Women should be made aware that although there is no safety data for COVID-19 vaccinations in pregnancy, there is no known risk from other non-live vaccines in pregnant women.

In line with the JCVI guidance, appropriately informed patients who choose to accept COVID-19 vaccination do not need to avoid fertility treatment/pregnancy after vaccination.

The Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists (ARCS) and British Fertility Society (BFS) have released a statement regarding the COVID-19 vaccination for those planning fertility treatment.

Please see their full statement here: https://www.arcscientists.org/arcs-bfs-joint-guidelines-addendum/

We are working with local hospital-led vaccination hubs to ensure that patients identified by their GP as having significant and / or multiple allergies are invited to receive their vaccinations at a hospital site.

Patients don’t need to do anything, they will be contacted and invited to attend a vaccination appointment.

Penicillin allergy should not be a barrier to receiving either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines. However, as a precaution, people with a history of immediate onset-anaphylaxis to multiple classes of drugs or an unexplained anaphylaxis should not be vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in case they have an undiagnosed polyethylene glycol (PEG) allergy.

Yes. Please keep taking part in regular ‘no symptoms’ testing. The vaccination programme alone is not enough to beat COVID-19. Testing is one of the best tools that we have to help us to prevent future outbreaks and to reduce the risk of new variants emerging.

Testing, vaccination and continuing to follow good hygiene and social distancing rules, wearing face masks and remaining vigilant will all help to enable the return of more services, activities, events and getting back to all the people and things that we love.

Whilst vaccinations significantly reduce the risk of becoming seriously ill or being hospitalised due to COVID-19, it is still possible to be infected and potentially pass the virus on to other people even after being vaccinated. There will also always be a number of people who can’t have the vaccine for medical reasons.

The vaccination and tests work in different ways and don’t affect each other. So, if you test positive for COVID-19, you should self isolate immediately.

We are aware of some instances in which a person’s vaccination event/s may appear “missing” on the National Immunisation Management system (NIMs). In most circumstances, the vaccination record is not missing, it is simply delayed or being held within the system until the problem associated with it has been resolved.

Please do not ask your GP practice to update your vaccination records as they are not able to do so.

Common causes for “missing” records can include:

  • When a 1st vaccination is administered overseas
  • When someone registered with a Welsh / Scottish / Irish / Isle of Man GP is vaccinated in an English vaccination centre
  • When mandatory fields are not populated correctly in the point of care system
  • When the vaccination record is made on paper and has not yet been entered

The latest updates on this from NHS Digital are available here: https://digital.nhs.uk/coronavirus/vaccinations/covid-19-vaccination-record-queries

Please direct any queries about the NHS COVID Pass to the 119 phone line and select the appropriate option for that service.