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The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine is safe and effective, and it gives you the best protection against coronavirus. Browse the sections below for more information.

The vaccine works by making a protein from the virus that is important for creating protection. 

The protein works in the same way they do for other vaccines by stimulating the immune system to make antibodies and cells to fight the infection. 

Vaccination is the most important thing we can do to protect ourselves and our children against ill-health. They prevent up to three million deaths worldwide every year.

Since vaccines were introduced in the UK, diseases like smallpox, polio and tetanus that used to kill or disable millions of people are either gone or seen very rarely.

Other diseases like measles and diphtheria have been reduced by up to 99.9% since their vaccines were introduced.

However, if people stop having vaccines, it's possible for infectious diseases to quickly spread again.

A detailed review of the vaccines and their ingredients have been provided by the MHRA: 

For the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine information - Regulatory approval of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) 

For the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine information - Regulatory approval of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) 

The British Islamic Medical Association have produced a helpful guide for the Muslim community which can be found at https://britishima.org/pfizer-biontech-covid19-vaccine/ 

Is the vaccine vegan/vegetarian friendly? 

Yes, the vaccines do not contain any meat derivatives or porcine products. If, and when, further vaccines are approved we will publish information about known

These 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. 

Any person with a history of immediate-onset anaphylaxis to the ingredients contained in the vaccines should not receive them. A second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine should not be given to those who have experienced anaphylaxis to the first dose of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccination. 

Everybody will also be screened for potential allergic reactions before getting vaccinated. All vaccinators will have the training they need to deal with any rare cases of adverse reactions, and all venues will be equipped to care for people who need it – just like with any other vaccine. 

We expect these vaccines to work for at least a year – if not longer. This will be constantly monitored. 

The flu vaccine does not protect you from COVID-19. If you are eligible for the flu vaccine you should have them both, but normally separated by at least a week. 

People with history of a severe allergy to the ingredients of the vaccines should not be vaccinated. Clinicians will discuss this with people before vaccinating them.

For both vaccines, trial participants included a range of those from various ages, immune-compromised and those with underlying health conditions, and both found the efficacy of the vaccine translates through all the subgroups. Details of trial participants for both vaccines are published online.

For the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulatory-approval-of-pfizer-biontech-vaccine-for-covid-19.

For the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulatory-approval-of-covid-19-vaccine-astrazeneca 

We know there are a few concerns about the safety of the vaccine.  We have gathered a lot of questions from people and now have a dedicated section to answer all of these. So please visit this page to assure you and your family that the vaccine is safe

The vaccines are not currently approved for children under 16. Further trials and studies are needed to ensure that the vaccine is safe and effective for children. However, there has been some further clarification from NHS England on which children aged 12-16 years on the clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) shielding list could be called. Practices will contact families where this applies. 

Yes. The Government have decided that there should be no charges for coronavirus (COVID-19) testing, treatment and vaccination.

Overseas visitors to England, including anyone living in the UK without permission, will not be charged for:

  • Testing for COVID-19 (even if the test shows they do not have COVID-19)
  • Treatment for COVID-19, including for a related problem called multisystem inflammatory syndrome that affects some children
  • Vaccination against COVID-19

No immigration checks are needed for overseas visitors if they are only tested, treated or vaccinated for COVID-19.

Vaccination services are under strict instructions to keep the number of wasted doses to an absolute minimum. Any spare vaccines due to missed or unfilled appointments, or the ability to draw additional full doses from a vial, should be used wherever possible.

This is primarily done through each service operating a reserve list of eligible people – including health and social care workers, but also members of the public in the JCVI priority groups currently being vaccinated – who can be called at short notice to receive a dose where otherwise it might be wasted.

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 shortly after the first dose of the AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine. Around 4 people develop this condition for every million doses of AZ vaccine doses given.
 
This is seen slightly more often in younger people and tends to occur between 4 days and 2 weeks following vaccination.

This condition can also occur naturally, and clotting problems are a common complication of COVID-19 infection. An increased risk has not yet been seen after other COVID-19 vaccines but is being carefully monitored.

The MHRA and the JCVI continue to monitor the benefits and safety of the AZ vaccine in younger people. You should carefully consider the risk to both you and your family and friends of COVID-19 before making a decision.

Currently, JCVI has advised that it is preferable for people under 30 to have a vaccine other than AZ. If you choose to have another COVID-19 vaccine you may have to wait to be protected. You may wish to go ahead with the AZ vaccination after you have considered all the risks and benefits for you.

(Source: Public Health England)

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