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Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions about the Covid-19 vaccines and how it is administered. If you have a question that is not covered below, please email:

Why do I need an Autumn Booster when I’ve already had three vaccinations? 
Viruses like COVID-19 spread much more easily in winter when we socialise indoors, so it’s important that everyone who is eligible tops up their protection with an autumn booster.

The aim is to protect those at greatest risk from the virus against severe COVID-19. Covid-19 is more serious in older people and those with certain underlying health conditions. This winter it is expected that many respiratory infections, including Covid and flu, may be circulating at high levels. 

The protection offered by each dose of the Covid-19 vaccine reduces over time and so it is very important eligible people take up the offer of the next booster dose to receive maximum protection this winter.

Who is eligible for an Autumn Booster? 
People aged 50 years and over, those in care homes, and those aged 5 years and over in clinical risk groups are being offered an autumn booster of the Covid vaccine.

I have had COVID, do I need to wait before having my autumn booster?
If you've recently had a confirmed COVID-19 infection, you should ideally wait before getting any dose of the vaccine. You should ideally wait: 

  •  4 weeks (28 days) if you're aged 18 years old or over 
  • 12 weeks (84 days) if you’re aged 5 to 17 years

How effective is the COVID-19 vaccine?
The COVID-19 vaccination will reduce the chance of you suffering from COVID-19.

The COVID-19 vaccines have saved more than 100,000 lives and significantly reduced hospitalisations from COVID-19. The vaccination programme allows us to live with this virus without restrictions on our freedoms.

With both flu and COVID-19 expected to be circulating this winter, it’s important to boost your immunity and help protect yourself and others.

I haven’t had a Covid 19 vaccine but would like to get one this winter. Can I still get one?
If you have not yet had either of your first three doses of the vaccine (or a fourth dose for those with a weakened immune system) you should have them as soon as possible.

If you are eligible for the autumn booster but think you have missed a previous booster you should still go ahead – if you have any questions or concerns ask the health professional who sees you on the day.

Can I have the flu vaccine at the same time?
Yes, you can have your flu vaccination at the same time and some centres will offer this.

Is the vaccine suitable for vegans?
Yes, there are no animal products listed in the ingredients.

Is it a live vaccine?
No. The vaccine is created by replicating the proteins inside the virus artificially. You will not be given any amount of the live virus.

Does the vaccine cure COVID if you are positive?
No. You will also not be allowed the vaccine if you have COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive the last 28 days.

Can I still catch COVID-19 after having the vaccine?
The COVID-19 vaccination will reduce the chance of you suffering from COVID-19 disease. It may take a few days for your body to build up some protection from the booster.

Like all medicines, no vaccine is a 100% guarantee of not catching the virus – some people may still get COVID-19 despite getting vaccinated but this should be less severe.

I’ve only just had my first or second COVID-19 vaccine, can I have the autumn booster jab?
No, you need to wait three months after your first or second jab before you have the booster.

Can an appropriate adult e.g. a carer or healthcare professional book on my behalf?
Yes. However they will need to provide your NHS number (on your letter), your postcode and date of birth.

If a person does not have capacity to consent who can consent on their behalf?
Your next of kin or dedicated carer can provide consent.

If I don’t have access to transport, will you come to me?
If you are housebound as you are immobile you can be vaccinated in your home. However, if you are able to use a bus/taxi you will be expected to make your own way to a vaccination centre.

Do you have to have a test for COVID-19 before you have a vaccine?
No. You are not required to have a test prior to your vaccination, however if you are symptomatic you must not attend the appointment. Please cancel as soon as possible if you know you can’t attend. 

I am symptomatic but not had a test, can I still have the vaccine?
If you are symptomatic, you should stay at home and self-isolate. Do NOT attend a vaccination centre if you have symptoms. 

Will my GP/hospital team know I have been vaccinated? 
Your GP record will be updated via the national system once your vaccine is given. If you are under the care of a consultant at a hospital, they will also be able to see that you have had the vaccine. 

Where will my data be stored? 
Your vaccination details will be held on the national database of vaccination records. This is the same database that flu vaccinations and other immunisation programme such as BCG and meningitis vaccinations are recorded on. 

I don’t think I can have mRNA vaccines. How can I get an alternative vaccine?
You are advised to make a booking in the usual way. You can discuss your individual circumstances with the medical professional at your appointment in the first instance.

In rare cases where individuals have had severe allergic reactions to mRNA vaccines in the past, local vaccination services may refer you to a specialist clinic where you could be offered Nuvaxovid as an alternative. This will only be in exceptional circumstances, where clinically appropriate.