Call for people aged 40 and over to contact NHS for a COVID jab
Redbridge Public Meeting COVID-19 Vaccinations 20 January 2021
Please see the Q&A from the Vaccinations Public Meeting held by the Council on 20 January with local health experts:
Until now, the NHS has asked people to wait until they are contacted to help ensure those most vulnerable are protected first but it has been announced that people aged 40 and over, who have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19, can now contact the NHS to arrange a jab.
Residents aged 42 and over can now book the COVID-19 vaccination appointment without needing an invitation letter here, or by calling 119, free of charge.
Who is getting vaccinated now?
The Covid-19 vaccination programme is now underway in North East London providing vaccines for the most vulnerable in society and to those people aged 40 and over.
Initially the NHS is providing vaccines to the key priority groups as identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
Does this mean people can turn up at vaccination services without an appointment?
No. People will still need to make an appointment in advance before going to any vaccination service. This is important because booking slots are carefully managed to allow for social distancing and the number of appointments is based on the supply available that day.
Do I need to know my NHS number to use the booking website/phone line?
No. It’s easier if you do have your NHS number, but if you don’t both the NHS booking website and phone line can still book appointments using other details, provided you are registered with a GP practice.
You can find your NHS number on the NHS App or at www.nhs.uk/find-nhs-number
How will the COVID-19 vaccine be given?
The COVID-19 vaccine is given as an injection into your upper arm.
It's given as 2 doses. You will have the 2nd dose 3 to 12 weeks after having the 1st dose.
The second vaccine dose should be with the same vaccine as for the first dose. Switching between vaccines or missing the second dose is not advised as this may affect the duration of protection.
If I’ve already had my first dose will I be able to book my second in this way?
No. You will only be able to book if our records show you have yet to have your first dose. If you have already had your first dose, please wait for the NHS to contact you about your second.
Does the NHS have the capacity and supplies available if lots of people now book?
The vast majority of people in these groups have already either had their first dose or are booked in to be vaccinated shortly.
The NHS is confident that the supplies and booking slots are available to accommodate the expected number of people who may now come forward.
Why have I not been contacted by anyone about a vaccination?
If you are 40 or over or on the Shielded Patient List, then you 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 is most likely to 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 your 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 easier when you need it.
More information on registering with a GP is available at https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/gps/how-to-register-with-a-gp-surgery/
How do I get an NHS number?
You may already have an NHS number but just don’t know it. If you don’t know your NHS number, you can find out if you have one and what it is at: https://digital.nhs.uk/services/nhs-number
If you don’t have an NHS number this is likely to be because you are not registered with a GP. If this is the case, we would recommend speaking with your local practice about registering.
What if I book an appointment through the NHS website or 119 and I need to rearrange it?
If you need to rearrange an appointment that you booked through the NHS website, you can do this through the ‘manage your appointments’ section on the booking page.
If you booked through 119, you can also ring to rearrange your appointment.
If you can’t attend your appointment for any reason, please cancel or rearrange it so that the appointment slot can be given to someone else who needs it.
Can I still book if I previously had an appointment but didn’t attend or cancel it?
Yes. Only those who have had a vaccination recorded are marked on our system and are therefore unable to book again.
What vaccines for COVID-19 are currently available?
Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines are now available. Both vaccines have been shown to be safe and offer high levels of protection and have been given regulatory approval by the MHRA. The Government has in principle secured access to seven different vaccine candidates, across four different vaccine types, totalling over 357 million doses. This includes:
- 40 million doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine
- 100m doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
- 7 million doses of the Moderna vaccine, which has also been approved by the MHRA.
How does the COVID-19 vaccine work?
Most vaccines work by triggering an immune response from a weakened or inactive germ that causes the disease. The Covid vaccine works by giving our body a set of instructions to make a harmless “spike protein” which will create the antibodies and cells required to fight off coronavirus. As there is no whole or live virus involved, the vaccine cannot cause disease.
How effective is the COVID-19 vaccine?
The 1st dose of the COVID-19 vaccine should give you good protection from coronavirus. But you need to have the 2 doses of the vaccine to give you longer lasting protection.
There is a chance you might still get or spread 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
Read more about why vaccines are safe and important, including how they work and what they contain.
Protection against the new strain
There is no evidence currently that the new strain will be resistant to the vaccines we have, so we are continuing to vaccinate people as normal. Scientists are looking now in detail at the characteristics of the virus in relation to the vaccines. Viruses, such as the winter flu virus, often branch into different strains but these small variations rarely render vaccines ineffective.
Is the NHS confident the COVID-19 vaccines are safe?
Yes. The NHS will not offer any Covid-19 vaccinations to the public until independent experts have signed off that it is safe to do so. The MHRA, the official UK regulator, has said that all approved vaccines have good safety profiles and offer a high level of protection, and we have full confidence in their expert judgement and processes.
As with any medicine, vaccines are highly regulated products. There are checks at every stage in the development and manufacturing process, and continued monitoring once they have been authorised and are being used in the wider population.
The phase three study of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine demonstrated a vaccine efficacy of 95%, with consistent efficacy across age, gender and ethnicity. The participants were White, Black or African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian and Native American/Alaskan.
The safety data for the AstraZeneca vaccine from over 20,000 participants enrolled across four clinical trials in the UK and Brazil and South Africa has shown that there were no serious safety events related to the vaccine. Participants were from diverse racial and geographic groups who are healthy or have stable underlying medical conditions.
Most side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine 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
- feeling or being sick
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.
Tell healthcare staff before you are vaccinated if you've ever had a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).
You should not have the vaccine if you've ever had a serious allergic reaction to:
- a previous vaccine
- a previous dose of the same COVID-19 vaccine
- some medicines, household products or cosmetics
Serious allergic reactions are rare. 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.
You can report any suspected side effect using the Coronavirus Yellow Card safety scheme.
Advice if you're of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding
There's no evidence the COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe if you're pregnant. But more evidence is needed before you can be routinely offered the vaccine.
The JCVI has updated its advice to recommend you may be able to have the vaccine if you're pregnant and:
- at high risk of getting coronavirus because of where you work
- have a health condition that means you're at high risk of serious complications of coronavirus
You can 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 of the COVID-19 vaccine with you.
You do not need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination. The vaccine cannot give you or your baby COVID-19.
Is the AstraZeneca vaccine linked to increased blood clots?
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has said "It has not been confirmed that the reports of blood clots were caused by the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine."
"People should still go and get their COVID-19 vaccine when asked to do so."
"Blood clots can occur naturally and are not uncommon. More than 11 million doses of the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca have now been administered across the UK, and the number of blood clots reported after having the vaccine is not greater than the number that would have occurred naturally in the vaccinated population."
What is in the vaccines? Are they vegan/vegetarian friendly?
The vaccines do not contain any meat derivatives or porcine products or material of foetal or animal origin. A detailed review of the vaccines and their ingredients have been provided by the MHRA and can be found at the following links:
The British Islamic Medical Association have produced a helpful guide for the Muslim community which can be found here.
More languages have been added to the range of COVID-19 vaccination materials
The following are now available in Arabic, Bengali, Guajarati, Slovak, Punjabi, Somali, Urdu, Albanian, Hindi, Polish, Romanian, Spanish, Tagalog and Turkish:
- Vaccine information in community languages
- BHRUT BAME staff talking about the COVID-19 vaccine
- COVID-19 vaccination: guide for older adults
- What to expect after your COVID-19 vaccination
- Why you are being asked to wait
- Women of childbearing age, currently pregnant or breastfeeding
- Guide for healthcare workers
- Social Media Statics
All documents relative to the vaccination programme can be found below:
Sources for FAQs: