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.
NHS Covid Vaccine banner
Updated 7th June 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 Bexley.

And the Moderna vaccine is now being given to local people. This is in addition to the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines.

All three 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).

Vaccines are the best way to protect people from coronavirus and will save thousands of lives.

New research

New research shows that both the Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines are highly effective in reducing COVID-19 infections among older people aged 70 years and over.

In the over 80s, data suggest that a single dose of either vaccine is more than 80% effective at preventing hospitalisation, around 3 to 4 weeks after the jab.

The first dose of both vaccines offer good levels of protection, but to get maximum protection everyone will need to get a second dose.

Read more here

Now vaccinating people aged 25+

The NHS are now offering vaccinations to:

  • People aged 25+ and over.
  • people who get Carer's Allowance
  • people who are at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable)
  • people who are at moderate risk from coronavirus (clinically vulnerable)
  • people who live or work in care homes
  • health and social care workers
  • People who are on their GP's learning disability register
  • Unpaid carers who get a carer's allowance or if you are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of serious disease or death from Covid-19.
  • People aged 16+ who live with an adult who is immunosuppressed.

They aim to offer a first vaccination to everyone aged 18 and over by 31 July as part of phase two of the roll out.

Second vaccinations

The NHS is currently working hard to offer second doses to people. And everyone will be offered their second vaccination no more than 12 weeks after their first dose.

If you booked your first vaccine through the national booking system - you will already have booked your second appointment. 

But if you got your vaccine from a GP led vaccination centre, you need to wait for your practice to contact you directly. You need to go back to the same centre for your second jab.

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

Read the JCVI guidance for phase one here  (Updated 30 December 2020)

Read the JCVI interim statement for phase two here

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

Reporting serious side effects

Like all medicines, Covid-19 vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short- term, and not everyone gets them. Even if you do have symptoms after the first dose, you still need to have the second dose.

Very common side effects include: 

  • a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection
  • feeling tired
  • a headache
  • general aches, or mild flu like symptoms

Feeling feverish is not uncommon for two to three days, but a high temperature is unusual and may indicate you have Covid-19 or another infection. 

You can report suspected side effects to the MHRA via their via the official yellow card reporting scheme. 

Report side effects

When can I get the Covid-19 vaccine?

If you are aged 25+ or in any of the JCVI cohorts one to nine listed above and have not yet received your vaccine, but would like one, please book now.

You can book your appointment:


or by calling 119

If you are under 25

If you are under 25 years old and not in the top nine cohorts, please wait.  You will be told 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. 

If you are 16+ and live with an adult who is immunosuppressed

The JCVI has advised the government to prioritise people for the coronavirus vaccine who are over 16 and living with adults who have weakened immune systems, such as those with blood cancer, HIV or those on immunosuppressive treatment including chemotherapy.

Find out more

What if I am housebound?

You will be contacted by your local GP-led vaccination centre to arrange for a district nurse to give you your vaccination at home.

If you have not heard anything yet, please contact your GP as soon as possible to check that you are listed as housebound.

Are carers able to get a Covid-19 vaccination?

If you are in receipt of a carer's allowance or are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk serious disease or death from Covid-19, you are now eligible to get a vaccination.

This also includes the carers of children with severe neuro-disabilities.

If you are not in receipt of a carer's allowance - you can check that you are flagged as a carer on your GP record. They can update your record so that you are invited at the right time. 

Help for carers

If you need help getting to your Covid vaccination appointment, or to get the person you care for to theirs, Caring Together can help.

Call 0345 241 0954



I have been added to the shielded patients' list

Some people are being added to the shielded patients' list. If you have been added - this is because you have been identified  as being at high risk of serious illness if you catch Covid 19. 

The NHS will contact you as soon as possible to offer you a Covid-19 vaccination. 

You can find out more about this on the local NHS website. 

Find out more

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

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.

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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