Your questions about the Covid-19 vaccine

The NHS kicks off the first phase of the largest scale vaccination campaign in our country’s history, with the roll out of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on the 8th December.
Covid 19 available from 8th December message

Updated 22 January 2021

For the latest national information on the Covid-19 vaccine - click here to visit the NHS website.

For the latest COVID-19 information from the NHS South East London Clinical Commissioning Group click here.

The national vaccination programme is now underway in the Bexley borough. And both the  Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines are being given to local people.

Both vaccines have been shown to be safe and offer high levels of protection and have been given regulatory approval by the independent Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The Moderna vaccine has also approved by the MHRA - its roll out is expected later in the spring.

Vaccinations for most vulnerable by mid-February

The Prime Minister has said that the aim is to offer jabs to most care home residents by the end of January.

And by mid-February, the target is to vaccinate over 12 million people in the top four priority groups - this includes, NHS and social care staff, people over the age of 70 and those on the NHS shielded patients' list. 

Thousands of local people have already received their first vaccination, with thousands more being vaccinated every day. And the local NHS is on track to meet the government's target of vaccinating the most vulnerable groups by mid-February.

The decision on who gets the vaccine first follows advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Read the latest JCVI guidance here  (Last updated 30 December 2020)

Is the Covid vaccine safe?

Any coronavirus vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through. Vaccines will only be used if they are approved by the MHRA. 

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.

Dr June Raine talks about how Covid vaccines are approved by the MHRA

When can I get the Covid-19 vaccine?

You will be contacted when it's your turn to get the Covid-19 vaccine.  Please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine before then.

You just need to make sure that you are registered with a local GP and your contact details are up to date. 

Those aged 80+, care home residents and health and care staff are being prioritised for vaccinations. 

What if I am housebound?

You will be contacted by your local GP-led vaccination centre to arrange for a home visit to receive your vaccination at home. 

Are carers able to get a Covid-19 vaccination?

If you are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person, please let your GP know.  If you are registered as a carer with your GP, you will be invited for your vaccination as part of priority group 6 alongside adults aged 16-65+ with underlying health conditions. 

Why do I have to wait for my vaccination?

If you have not yet been approached about having the Covid-19 vaccination, please read the information: why you are being asked to wait

How will I be contacted?

You will be contacted by the NHS when it is your turn for a vaccination. 

You may get a text, phone call or a letter. You do not need to have a mobile phone or use the internet to be contacted for your Covid-19 jab.

If you work in health and social care, you may hear directly from your employer - in the same way you would for your annual flu jab.

You will never be asked to pay for your Covid-19 vaccine.

Coronavirus vaccines are free and the NHS will never ask for any money or your bank details. 

Where can I get my Covid-19 vaccine?

You may be offered your Covid-19 vaccine at one of the following settings:

  • Hospital Hubs - including Queen Mary's, Queen Elizabeth and Darent Valley 
  • Local Vaccine Services – provided by GPs and pharmacies
  • National Vaccination Centres - the first seven opened on 11 January 2021 

Teams are also now visiting local care homes to vaccinate residents and staff. 

National Vaccination Centres

You may receive an invitation to book an appointment at a national vaccination centre, such as the Excel Centre, London. But if you are unable or don't want to go there, you can choose to wait.

Your GP-led service will be in touch soon to invite you to an appointment closer to home.

Local vaccination services

There are now GP-led local vaccination services covering all of the Bexley borough. And many more local residents are being contacted to book their appointments.

The local NHS is updating its website with information about vaccination sites as they open. They also answer some of your frequently asked questions, such as 'Is the vaccine vegetarian / vegan friendly?' and 'Will the vaccine work with the new strain?'

Find Out More

How long between my first and second dose of the vaccine?

You will receive your second dose 12 weeks after the first, regardless of the vaccine type. The second dose completes the course and is important for longer term protection. 

Are there any side effects?

Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short-term, and not everyone gets them.  Further information on what to expect after your Covid-19 vaccination can be found on the Government website.


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.

I'm pregnant, can I still get the vaccine?

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.

Click here to find out more

Protect yourself from fraud

In England, the COVID-19 vaccines will only be available via the NHS. You can be contacted by the NHS, your employer, a GP surgery or pharmacy local to you, to receive your vaccine.

Remember, the vaccine is free of charge. At no point will you be asked to pay.

  • The NHS will never ask you for your bank account or card details.
  • The NHS will never ask you for your PIN or banking password.
  • The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.
  • The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving license, bills or pay slips.  

Find out more and report fraud

Information About Coronavirus

Our coronavirus information page has information on how to stay safe.

Read More


Have you had your vaccine yet? Are you concerned about your vaccine?

Get in touch with us, we'd love to hear from you. By sharing your story, we can make sure the vaccine programme works as well as possible for everyone.

Call us for free anytime on 07506 910968 or 0208 304 9344

Alternatively, you could share your feedback here.

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