The following will answer some of the most common queries after having the first dose.

You are required to have two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, 12 weeks apart or earlier as new guidance is requiring the second dose to be brought forward earlier for certain age groups, due to the different variant strains. 

The vaccines that have been approved for use are classed as highly effective, even from just the first dose.

After one dose, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been estimated to offer 89% effectiveness from two weeks after it is given. The Oxford/AstraZeneca has been estimated to offer 74% effectiveness from two weeks after it is given.

Clinical trials showed the Moderna vaccine was 94% effective after two doses.

It is important to note that all vaccines approved for use in the UK are highly effective and offer the best protection against coronavirus.

It is expected that the vaccine will be effective for at least a year. This will continually be monitored.

There is no evidence currently that the new strain will be resistant to the vaccine 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 vaccine.

Viruses, such as the winter flu virus, often branch into different strains but these small variations rarely render vaccines ineffective.

The British Medical Journal has said that all UK-approved vaccines are effective against the most common new strains, however stress that they are most effective after the second dose.

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No. Both vaccines have been authorised on the basis of two doses, because the evidence from the clinical trials shows that this gives the maximum level of protection. No vaccine is completely effective and it will take a few weeks for your body to build up protection.

Two doses will reduce your chances of being hospitalised and becoming seriously ill. It is important that anyone who has had the vaccine continues to follow government guidance on social distancing and wearing a mask as well as the additional measures in place where they live.

To ensure as many people are vaccinated as quickly as possible, the Department for Health and Social Care advised that the second dose of both the Oxford/AstraZeneca and the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine should be scheduled with an eight week gap between doses.

Because of the differing variant strains, the second dose is being scheduled earlier.



The second dose is essential to ensure the best effect of the vaccine, and in particular to maximise protection against new variants.

You should have the same vaccine for both doses, unless you had serious side effects (such as a serious allergic reaction) after your first dose. 


Yes, you should be able to work as long as you feel well. If your arm is particularly sore, you may find heavy lifting difficult. If you feel unwell or very tired you should rest and avoid operating machinery or driving. The vaccine cannot give you Covid-19 infection and two doses will reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill. However, you will need to continue to follow the guidance in your workplace, including wearing the correct personal protection equipment and taking part in any screening programmes.

When patients are vaccinated, they are likely to receive a vaccine record card that notes the date of their vaccination, the suggested date for their second dose and details of the vaccine type and batch.

You can also download the NHS App to view and share proof of your COVID-19 status for travel purposes.

This is a vaccine record card, similar to those given to patients for other NHS vaccinations as a note of when they received their vaccine. All vaccinations are recorded on the patient’s record with their GP.

You can also download the NHS App to view and share proof of your COVID-19 status for travel purposes. 

If you've already had a first dose of the Astra Zeneca (AZ vaccine without suffering any serious side effects you should complete the course and have the second dose on time as you may still be at high risk of the complications of COVID-19. Having the second dose will give you higher and longer lasting protection.
This includes people aged 18 to 29 years who are health and social care workers, unpaid carers and family members of those who are immunosuppressed. 
It is expected that the first dose of the vaccine will have given you some protection, particularly against severe disease. 
(Source: Public Health England)