Covid-19 vaccine

The Covid-19 vaccine helps to make us all safer. It has been proved safe and effective by independent experts, and is the best way to protect people from coronavirus and save thousands of lives.

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Image caption: Image 1: Hala Abusin from Pharmacy on Wheels

Hala Abusin from Pharmacy on Wheels in Goldhawk Road, Shepherds Bush, urges you to roll up your sleeve when it's your time for the jab. Watch Hala's YouTube vaccine message

Who can get the Covid-19 vaccine?

The NHS is currently offering the Covid-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus. See who can get the vaccine.

The NHS will contact you when it's your turn to have the vaccine. Letters are being sent out every week – you might not get your letter straight away. You need to be registered with your local NHS GP to get invited for a vaccine jab. Find out about registering with a GP.

Do I need to book an appointment?

If you are aged 45 or over, or ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ and don't want to wait to be contacted, you can now book a Covid vaccination appointment without needing an invitation. Residents who have a medical condition, such as Asthma, that means they would normally receive a free NHS flu jab can also now book.

You can attend the vaccination centre at Novotel London West without booking an appointment. 

Or you can book an appointment at this centre or other centres if you prefer.

Appointments for vaccination at all sites other than Novotel London West are by advance booking and only if you're included in the eligible groups. 

If you would prefer to receive your vaccination at your local GP surgery, please wait to be contacted.

Book your vaccination

If you are unable to book online call 119 free of charge (7am to 11pm, seven days a week).

Free transport for over 50s to vaccination appointment

Age UK are offering free taxi transport for over 50s to vaccination appointments. Please contact Amy Shallon at ashallon@aukc.org.uk for more information.

Testing

One in three infected people show no symptoms. To keep peace of mind, free coronavirus tests can be booked for everyone in H&F aged 12 and older. 

Further information and FAQs

The Covid-19 vaccine will give you good protection from coronavirus but there is a chance you might still get or spread coronavirus even if you have the vaccine. To reduce the spread of coronavirus in the community, please continue to follow social distancing guidelines even after you have had both doses of the vaccine.

If you have any questions about the vaccine, getting to the vaccine centre or facilities at the centre please contact the H&F CAN helpline on Freephone 0800 145 6095, open 8am to 6pm seven days a week, or email: can@lbhf.gov.uk

  • Frequently asked questions about the vaccine

    Ramadam, fasting and the vaccine 

    The British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) have consulted a wide range of Islamic scholars and the opinion of the vast majority is that receiving the vaccine does not invalidate your fast. Please consult your local Imam or scholar for further details, or visit the British Islamic Medical Association Covid-19 vaccine hub.

    Many of the usual practices normally observed during Ramadan such as going to the mosque for iftar and visiting friends and family indoors will sadly still not be possible this year. Please follow the #SafeRamadan 2021 Guidance from the Muslim Council of Britain.

    How safe are the Covid-19 vaccines?

    Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines have been shown to be safe and offer high levels of protection, and have been given regulatory approval by the MHRA.

    Any coronavirus vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through. The UK has some of the highest safety standards in the world.

    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 no serious side effects or complications have been reported.

    Read about the approved Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 by MHRA on GOV.UK

    Does the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine cause blood clots?

    Recently there have been reports of a very rare condition involving blood clots and unusual bleeding after vaccination. This is being carefully reviewed but the risk factors for this condition are not yet clear.

    Although this condition remains extremely rare there appears to be a higher risk in people who have had the first dose of the AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine. Around 4 people develop this condition for every million doses of AZ vaccine doses given.

    The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the World Health Organization have all reiterated that the benefits of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in the prevention of COVID-19 far outweigh any possible risk of blood clots amongst those groups currently eligible to receive their first vaccination, as well as all of those due their 2nd dose.

    Read more about COVID-19 vaccination and blood clotting - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

    JCVI statement on use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine: 7 April 2021 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

    MHRA issues new advice, concluding a possible link between COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca and extremely rare, unlikely to occur blood clots - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

    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. 

    You will have the 2nd dose 3 to 12 weeks after having the 1st dose.

    What do I do if I have an invitation to go to a mass vaccination centre as well as from my GP?

    Please avoid travelling as much as possible and go to your local GP, even if you have already accepted an appointment at a mass vaccination centre. Please cancel that one and go to your GP appointment.

    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
       

    The Covid-19 vaccine will reduce the chance of you suffering from Covid-19 disease. It may take a week or two for your body to build up some protection from the first dose of vaccine. Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective, so you should continue to take recommended precautions after vaccination to avoid infection. Some people may still get Covid-19 despite having a vaccination, but this should be less severe.

    Will the vaccines work with 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.  

    Covid-19 vaccine 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.

    It’s very rare for anyone to have a serious reaction to the vaccine (anaphylaxis). If this does happen, it usually happens within minutes.

    Staff giving the vaccine are trained to deal with allergic reactions and treat them immediately.

    Covid-19 vaccine ingredients

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

    Who should have the Covid-19 vaccine?

    The NHS is currently offering the Covid-19 vaccine to people over 45, frontline health and social care workers, care home residents and staff, and those with certain clinical conditions who are more at risk. When more vaccine becomes available, the vaccines will be offered to other people at risk as soon as possible.

    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 routinely be offered it.

    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 with you.

    You do not need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination. The vaccine cannot give you or your baby Covid-19.

    Read the latest Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Royal College of Midwives statement on the Covid-19 vaccine and fertility

    How do I get the Covid-19 vaccination?

    The NHS will get in touch with you directly when it is your turn to be vaccinated. If you are in the targetted age group you can book an appointment on the NHS website. Novotel West London vaccination centre is open to walk-ins, you do not need to book for this centre. For more information about vaccines, visit the NHS website.

    During national lockdown, will vaccines still be provided and should I still attend my appointment?

    Yes. Getting the Covid-19 vaccine, or any other vaccine, is an important medical appointment and vaccinations will continue as normal. If you have booked or are offered an appointment, please attend it. The place that you choose to have your vaccine will keep you safe from Covid-19 through a range of measures including cleaning and disinfecting and having social distancing in waiting areas. Please also wear a face covering to your appointment. You should also take the usual steps to minimise your risk as you travel to your appointment.

    Should people who have already had Covid-19 get vaccinated?

    Yes, you should get vaccinated if you are offered the Covid-19 vaccines by the NHS. The MHRA, the official UK regulator, have decided that getting vaccinated is just as important for those who have already had Covid-19 as it is for those who haven’t.

    When will I have my second vaccine?

    It is important that you have both doses of your vaccine to ensure you have the maximum level of protection from Coronavirus.

    If your GP booked you in for your first vaccine they will contact you and book you for your second vaccine 11-12 weeks later. Please note your GP may not contact you to book you in until 9 -10 weeks after your first vaccine. 

    If you booked your first vaccine through one of the online booking systems, you will be able to book your second vaccine for 11-12 weeks later through the national booking system, you can do this the day after you have had your first vaccine. 

    What happens if more than 12 weeks passes before I have my second vaccine?

    If for any reason you miss having your second vaccine 12 weeks after your first, please make sure you book-in and have it as soon as possible. 

    Where will I go for my second vaccine?

    You will need to return to the same venue that you had your first vaccine for your second.

    Do I need to leave a space between having the flu vaccine and having the Covid-19 vaccine?

    It is not essential to leave time between the flu and Covid-19 vaccine but it is recommended that there should be a gap of a week. There has never been a more important time to make sure you – and those you care for – are protected against serious illnesses such as the flu. If you haven’t already received your flu jab and are eligible for the free vaccine, please contact your GP or Pharmacist to book your appointment. For more information, see Get your free flu jab.

    Can I get the Covid-19 vaccine privately? 

    No. Covid-19 vaccinations are currently only available through the NHS. 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 101 service and/or Local Trading Standards. 

    What about the allergic reactions that have been reported?

    The Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective for the vast majority of people – they have been tested on tens of thousands of people and assessed by experts. 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 a previous vaccine. 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.

    Can I catch Covid-19 from the vaccine?

    You cannot catch Covid-19 from the vaccine but it is possible to have caught Covid-19 and not realise you have the symptoms until after your vaccination appointment. For more information on Covid-19 symptoms, visit the NHS website.

    Can I give Covid-19 to anyone, after I have had the vaccine?

    The vaccine cannot give you Covid-19 infection, and two doses will reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill. We do not yet know whether it will stop you from catching and passing on the virus. So, it is important to follow the guidance in your local area to protect those around you. To protect yourself and your family, friends and colleagues you still need to:

    • practice social distancing
    • wear a face mask
    • wash your hands carefully and frequently
    • follow the current government guidance for your local area.
       

    How are housebound residents being vaccinated?

    NHS GP hubs, in partnership with NHS community trusts, are going out to the homes of clinically vulnerable and older residents who are unable to attend a GP hub for their covid vaccine.

    A housebound resident is one who has the majority of their care delivered in their home. However, many are able to travel with support and where that is possible, vaccinations are being given at GP vaccination hubs.

    For those unable to leave home, NHS staff will be taking the vaccine to them in a cool box. Only one person will enter the house and they will stay no longer than necessary.  Residents will be asked in advance to open windows and keep other members of the household at a suitable distance.

  • Having your second Covid-19 vaccine

    It is important that you have both doses of your vaccine to ensure you have the maximum level of protection from Coronavirus.

    When will I have my second vaccine?

    If your GP booked you in for your first vaccine they will contact you and book you for your second vaccine 11-12 weeks later. Please note your GP may not contact you to book you in until 9 -10 weeks after your first vaccine. 

    If you booked your first vaccine through one of the online booking systems, you will be able to book your second vaccine for 11-12 weeks later through the national booking system, you can do this the day after you have had your first vaccine. 

    What happens if more than 12 weeks passes before I have my second vaccine?

    If for any reason you miss having your second vaccine 12 weeks after your first, please make sure you book-in and have it as soon as possible. 

    Where will I go for my second vaccine?

    You will need to return to the same venue that you had your first vaccine for your second.

Covid-19 information videos

Covid-19 vaccination easy-read guides

Further information

Testing

We have also established sites for mass testing, which continues to be a key part of the fight against the pandemic. Find out how to get a coronavirus test in H&F.