Covid-19: Mass vaccination

The NHS will let you know when it’s your turn to have the vaccine.  It’s important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then. Thank you.

(please see pdf guides and the bottom of this post)


We are delighted the Pfizer/BioNTech Coronavirus vaccine has been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for use in the UK.

This is a ground breaking moment, and a significant milestone in our response to Covid-19. It follows months of rigorous clinical trials and a thorough analysis of the data by experts at the MHRA who have concluded that the vaccine has met its strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.

On Tuesday 8 December, 2020, Southmead Hospital in North Bristol became operational as one of 50 hospital hubs around the country, inviting over 80s to receive the jab and working closely with Local Authorities, community services and care home providers to book staff in to vaccination clinics.

A week later, a number of local Primary Care Network sites in ‘Wave 1’ joined the vaccination roll-out. Local GP-led sites were located at:

  • Kingswood Health Centre, Kingswood, South Gloucestershire
  • Riverbank Medical Centre, Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset
  • Greenway Community Centre, Southmead, Bristol
  • Pudding Pie Lane Surgery, Langford, North Somerset

Due to a limited early supply of the vaccine, these Wave 1 sites were selected on the basis of geography, the number of over 80s in the local population and operational readiness.

More local sites will be announced in the coming weeks and, while a vaccination programme of this scale will take some time, everyone who needs the vaccine will be offered it.  In the meantime everyone is urged to stay alert to the threat of the virus and follow Government guidance.

Here are some commonly asked questions and answers.  This question list was updated on 18 December 2020:

What is the priority order for getting the vaccine?

The priority list following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation on 2 December 2020 is as follows:

  1. residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
  2. all those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
  3. all those 75 years of age and over
  4. all those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
  5. all those 65 years of age and over
  6. all individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
  7. all those 60 years of age and over
  8. all those 55 years of age and over
  9. all those 50 years of age and over

It is estimated that taken together, these groups represent around 99% of preventable mortality from COVID-19.

Can I ring the NHS to get a vaccine?

You should wait to be contacted.  The NHS will let you know when it’s your turn to have the vaccine.  It’s important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then.

In what circumstances am I NOT eligible to receive the vaccine?

If any of these apply to you:

  • unwell with a fever
  • a history of immediate onset anaphylaxis
  • pregnant or planning to become pregnant in the next 2 months (see next question, below)
  • breast feeding (see next question, below)
  • taking part in a COVID-19 vaccine trial or any other investigation of a medicinal product (please contact your trial centre for further information)
  • received the flu vaccine in the last 7 days

What if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

You should wait to have the COVID-19 vaccine:

  • if you’re pregnant – you should wait until you’ve had your baby
  • if you’re breastfeeding – you should wait until you’ve stopped breastfeeding

If you’re trying to get pregnant, you should wait for 2 months after having the 2nd dose before getting pregnant. There’s no evidence it’s unsafe if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. But more evidence is needed before you can be offered the vaccine. More details here.

How is the COVID-19 vaccine given?

The COVID-19 vaccine is given as an injection into your upper arm. It’s given as 2 doses, at least 21 days apart.

How safe is the COVID-19 vaccine?

The vaccine approved for use in the UK was developed by Pfizer/BioNTech. It has 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.

So far, thousands of people have been given a COVID-19 vaccine and reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions, have been very rare. No long-term complications have been reported.

How effective is the COVID-19 vaccine?

After having both doses of the vaccine most people will be protected against coronavirus. It takes a few weeks after getting the 2nd dose for it to work. There is a small chance you might still get coronavirus even if you have the vaccine. This means it is important to:

  • continue to follow social distancing guidance
  • if you can, wear something that covers your nose and mouth in places where it’s hard to stay away from other people

Does the COVID-19 vaccine have side effects?

Most side effects are mild and should not last longer than a week, such as:

  • a sore arm where the needle went in
  • feeling tired
  • a headache
  • feeling achy

You can take painkillers, such as paracetamol, if you need to. If you have a high temperature you may have coronavirus or another infection. If your symptoms get worse or you are worried, call 111.

What about allergic reactions?

Tell staff before you are vaccinated if you have ever had a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). You should not have the vaccine if you’ve ever had a serious allergic reaction to medicines, vaccines or food. If you do have a reaction to the vaccine, it usually happens in minutes. Staff giving the vaccine are trained to deal with allergic reactions and treat them immediately.

What are the COVID-19 vaccine ingredients?

The COVID-19 vaccine does not contain any animal products or egg.

PDF Guides to download/view:

Consent forms to download/view