COVID-19 vaccine facts and guidance

Receiving the vaccine

The vaccination programme has already substantially reduced the risk from severe COVID-19 in the UK population.

New variants of any virus are always a cause for concern and it’s really important that all eligible groups take up the COVID-19 vaccine offer when asked.

The NHS urges those most at risk of serious illness i.e. anyone in priority group 1-9, and anyone aged 16 and over to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

The clear advice is:

  • if you haven’t had your COVID-19 vaccine yet, the time to book is now. Don’t delay. Book online or call 119.
  • the gap between your first and second dose should be 8 weeks. .

If you or anyone you know has concerns or questions, please speak to a healthcare professional to get trusted facts. You can find lots of information on the NHS COVID-19 vaccine page

Children and young people age 12-17

The NHS is inviting all young people aged 16 and 17 to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

The first dose will provide 80% protection against hospitalisation and protection could be even higher as younger people respond better to vaccines and some will have already had the COVID-19 infection, meaning they will have an even better response the vaccine.

The NHS is inviting this group, but you do not need to wait for your GP to contact you. You can attend a walk-in clinic offering Pfizer.

Parental consent is not required to be vaccinated.

The NHS will continue to offer two doses to young people aged 16 and 17 who are already eligible as they are at higher risk of serious COVID-19, or who are household contacts of individuals (adults or children) who are immunosuppressed.

The following groups of children and young people are also eligible.

  • 17-year-olds that are within 3 months of turning 18;
  • 12-15-year olds ‘at risk’ with the underlying health conditions specified below:
    • severe neuro-disabilities,
    • Down’s Syndrome,
    • underlying conditions resulting in immunosuppression, and
    • those with profound and multiple learning disabilities, severe learning disabilities or who are on the learning disability register
  • Children aged 12 years and older without underlying medical conditions who are household contacts of individuals (adults or children) who are immunosuppressed.

If your child is aged 12 to 15 and in one of the eligible groups, the NHS or your GP will contact you by early September to invite you to book appointments for them for the vaccination

FAQs

Why is the NHS only vaccinating some children and young people against COVID-19, and not all?

The NHS vaccinates in line with guidance from the independent JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation), which provides expert advice on vaccinations to UK health departments. The JCVI recommends that only certain groups of children and young people are vaccinated because of a combination of factors including their risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus, passing it to others who may become seriously ill, and evidence of safety and effectiveness.

My child is in one of the eligible groups. How do I arrange his/her vaccination?

The NHS is aiming to offer vaccination to all children and young people in the eligible groups by the start of the autumn term in September. If your child is in one of the new groups recommended for vaccination by the JCVI, you will be contacted by the NHS before then to arrange for your child’s vaccinations.

16 and 17 year olds will be contacted directly.

If you are within 3 months of turning 18, you will be invited directly to book your appointments via the national booking service at the appropriate time and may also be invited via local vaccination services.

If your child is aged 12 to 15 and in one of the eligible groups, the NHS or your GP will contact you by early September to invite you to book appointments for them for the vaccination

How do I know the vaccine is safe for my child?

The JCVI has reviewed extensive clinical evidence for the safety of giving the COVID-19 vaccine to children and young people in the eligible groups and have determined it to be safe and effective. The JCVI has determined that the benefit of vaccinating children in these groups outweighs the risks.

My child is not in one of the eligible groups. When will they be able to be vaccinated?

The JCVI is continually reviewing evidence on this matter and will advise the Government if it decides that a change of approach is required.

If you are a student

If a student aged 18 or over is registered with a GP practice, they can book both appointments online through the National Booking Service at a location that is convenient to them, or book a first dose through their GP and a second dose in a different location through the National Booking Service.

In general, patients should return to the place they had their first dose to have their second dose. However, it is appropriate for students to receive their second dose in a different location to their first dose due to their circumstances.

The National Booking Service has an option to book or re-arrange the second vaccination appointment at a different location to the first appointment.

If a student had a first dose in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, but is in England at the time of their second dose, they should either:

1) book a second dose through the National Booking Service (if they are registered with a GP in England and therefore have an English NHS number)

2) register with a GP in England and book an appointment that way

or

3) approach a local GP and ask to be vaccinated as an unregistered patient.

Anybody aged 18 or over in the UK is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination for free, regardless of their nationality or immigration status.

If you are a healthcare or Social Care worker

The NHS offers vaccinations using different models. Healthcare workers can book through the National Booking System or call 119.

The Vaccine Allocation Bureau is a dedicated programme team who are supporting the NHS with the identification of those that fit within the social care cohort eligible for vaccination. They need to identify those working in a health or care frontline role and who are not CQC registered or a commissioned service.

If you fit this criteria and have not been contacted by your employer, the Council or the NHS about getting a vaccine please contact [email protected].

This offer is specifically for all frontline social care workers directly working with people clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 who need care and support irrespective of where they work.

Examples include workers that provide care and support:

  • in people’s own homes
  • in day centres
  • in care homes for working age adults or supported housing
  • for clinically vulnerable adults or children
  • through employment by, for example, local government, NHS private sector or third sector employees

If you have already had COVID-19

Even if you have already had the virus, you should still get the vaccine.

You should wait 4 weeks from when you tested positive for COVID-19 or first had symptoms to have your vaccine, whether it was the 1st or 2nd dose.

The MHRA, who regulate medicines have 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.

If you are a vulnerable person

We have a mixed approach to ensuring that people who are eligible can get the vaccine safely. For care home residents and those who can’t leave home, this will involve roving community teams coming to them.

If you are in one of the top priority groups for vaccination, then it is likely that you have been contacted by the NHS already. If you haven’t, this could be for a number of reasons, but may be because you are not registered with a GP or have recently moved, and we therefore don’t have your contact details.

If you have never registered with a GP or haven’t been to a GP for a number of years, we would recommend speaking with a local practice about registering.

As well as getting access to Covid-19 vaccines, being registered with a GP also means you are invited to important health checks such as for cancer or heart disease and can access care more easily when you need it.

You can find more information on registering with a GP by visiting NHS.UK: how to register with a GP surgery.

If you are a carer for someone

Carers are included in group 6 for vaccinations. To view the priority list, please visit GOV.UK: priority groups for coronavirus covid 19.

Unpaid carers eligible for the vaccine are those who are eligible for carer’s allowance or those who are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is clinically extremely vulnerable as per the JCVI Cohort definitions. You can find the JCVI Cohort definitions at GOV.UK: Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. This includes if you are caring for a child who is clinically extremely vulnerable.

You could be invited for your vaccination through several routes:

  • if your GP has a record of you being an unpaid carer, you will be contacted by your GP to book an appointment at a local vaccination centre
  • if you receive Carers Allowance or are eligible to receive it, you will receive a letter from the NHS

The vaccination programme recognises that these two channels will not include all carers who are eligible. We work with Carers Bucks to identify unpaid carers who are:

  • not prioritised through the two routes above
  • not known to either Carers Bucks or the Council

This will allow us to make sure letters are sent to all carers inviting them to get vaccinated.

Approximately 11,000 unpaid carers are already registered with Carers Bucks. They have sent emails or letters to all those under 70 years of age to ask permission to share their information with the NHS so vaccine invitation letters can be sent.

If you are not currently registered, to ensure you get invited for a vaccination as soon as possible. You can find out more and register with Carers Bucks by visiting the Carers Bucks website.

If you are a Bucks resident, but are registered at a surgery in another county

The vaccination programme is based on which surgery you are registered with, not your home address.

Vaccinations outside of the NHS

Vaccinations will only be available through the NHS for the moment. Anyone who claims to be able to provide you with a vaccine for a fee is likely to be committing a crime and should be reported to the Police online or by calling 112.