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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

GP-led vaccination services are in place at the locations listed below.

Please do not attend any vaccination site seeking a vaccination without an appointment and do not contact your local hospital, GP practice or council to seek a COVID-19 vaccine appointment – appointments cannot be made in this way.

Cheshire West:

  • Dene Drive Primary Care Centre, Dene Drive, Winsford, CW7 1AT
  • Frodsham Leisure Centre, Princeway, Frodsham, WA6 6RX
  • Helsby Community Centre, Lower Robin Hood Lane, Helsby, WA6 0BA
  • City Walls Medical Centre, St Martins Way, Chester, CH1 2NR
  • Neston Medical Centre, Liverpool Road, Neston, CH64 3RA
  • Cheshire View, Plough Lane, Christleton, Chester, CH3 7PT
  • Kingsmead Medical Centre, 2 Kingsmead Square, Regency Way, Northwich, CW9 8UW
  • Ellesmere Port Civic Hall, Civic Way, Ellesmere Port, CH65 0AZ
  • St Columba's Roman Catholic Church, Plas Newton Lane, Chester, CH2 1SA

Cheshire East

  • Waters Green Medical Centre, Sunderland Street, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK11 6JL
  • Dental Suite in Eagle Bridge Health & Wellbeing Centre, Dunwoody Way, Crewe, CW1 3AW
  • Apollo Buckingham Health Sciences Campus Ltd, Library Building Crewe Campus
  • Nantwich Civic Hall, 4 Market Street, Nantwich
  • The 13 Club, Cedars Avenue, Alsager,  Stoke on Trent, ST7 2PH
  • Wilmslow Health Centre, Chapel Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5HX
  • Congleton Town Hall, 7 High St, Congleton, CW12 1BN
  • Knutsford District and Community Hospital, Bexton Road, Knutsford, WA16 0BT
  • Victoria Hall, Civic Way, Middlewich, CW10 9AS
  • Civic Centre, Park Ln, Poynton, Stockport, SK12 1RB
  • Senior Citizens Hall, Duke Street, Macclesfield, SK11 6UR

Regional vaccination centres are in place at Chester Racecourse and Alderley Park Conference Centre.

People who are eligible will be contacted by the NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Booking Service, telling them how they can book an appointment.

If there is no local availability showing on the booking system, and it is not convenient for you to travel, we would advise you to keep checking back as availability is updated regularly.

Hospital vaccination hubs are also in place at the Countess of Chester Hospital, Leighton Hospital and Macclesfield Hospital.

Pharmacy-led vaccination centres are in place at:

  • Andrew's Pharmacy, Macclesfield
  • Hollowood Chemists, Crewe
  • Alsager Pharmacy, Alsager
  • Pharmacy 2u at Winsford Cross Shopping Centre
  • Boots in Foregate Street, Chester
  • Nantwich Masonic Lodge, Nantwich (from week commencing May 10th 2021)
  • Vicar's Cross United Reformed Church, Chester (from week commencing May 10th 2021)
  • Hartford Methodist Church, Northwich (from week commencing May 24th 2021)
  • Well Pharmacy, Barnton (from week commencing May 24th 2021)
  • Tesco Pharmacy, Crewe (from week commencing May 24th 2021)

Very. All vaccination centres have been through a rigorous registration process to ensure that they meet all guidance and safety requirements. Safe distancing, hand sanitising and the use of face masks is standard at all of the centres.

Despite recent media coverage outlining a national supply issue, everyone in Cheshire who has already had their first dose COVID vaccine will be offered their second dose within 12 weeks. Available vaccine supply is being prioritised for this purpose.

Most vaccination services in Cheshire started vaccinating patients in early January 2021 and it has been determined nationally that second doses should be offered as close to week eleven as possible, following first dose.

Clinics are carefully planned around confirmed vaccination delivery dates in order to minimise disruption to patients. When confirmation of the delivery date for second dose vaccines has been received your GP practice will contact you to arrange your second dose appointment.

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.

Yes. The British Islamic Medical Association has issued this guidance encouraging people to come forward for a COVID-19 vaccination if they're eligible during Ramadan.

Importantly, they have confirmed that receiving a COVID-19 vaccination does not invalidate the fast.

Unpaid carers who are eligible under JCVI priority group 6 are now being invited to receive their first COVID-19 vaccination.

All eligible unpaid carers who are known to the health and social care system will be contacted by the NHS when it’s their turn to receive the vaccine, and will be given information about how they should access their vaccination either at their local GP-led service, pharmacy or at a large vaccination centre.

Carers are being contacted in phases and you can find information on who can currently book the vaccine here.

Unpaid carers over the age of 18 who are not already known to health and care services can contact the National Booking Service at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by ringing 119 to complete a short application process to determine if they are eligible to book their vaccination appointment.

You must be over 18 to book using the national booking service and you will need to provide:
• Your name and date of birth
• Your NHS number

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

The NHS is inviting eligible people in a phased way as supplies of the vaccine allow.

If you have received a letter and live with someone who is also eligible but has not received a letter, it is likely that theirs will follow shortly. If you like you can wait and book at the same time.

A vaccination programme of this size and scale will still take some time to roll out in full. Please be assured that everyone who needs the vaccine will be offered it.

Yes. Alternatively, if you receive a national letter after receiving a vaccination locally - please ignore the letter. There is nothing further to do.

People who are housebound will be contacted by their GP services about alternative ways to get vaccinated. If preferred, people can also wait until more locations closer to where they live become available.

The NHS will follow up with people that haven’t booked their appointment, as a reminder.

No. Both the Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines have 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 Moderna vaccine - also approved for use in the UK - is likely to become available in the Spring of 2021.

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/

Ensuring the right amount of COVID-19 vaccine is delivered to each vaccination centre is part of the national programme.

Vaccination centres receive vaccine doses in batches to enable sites to plan clinics in advance, including how many patients to book in.

Vaccinations are then administered via defined clinics on certain days.

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.

If you have received a COVID-19 vaccine, please continue to follow social distancing and other national guidance to help protect others while we work to vaccinate as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.

This will be a marathon, not a sprint, and we cannot let down our guard. Please continue to follow the rules to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

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.