This information addresses some of the most asked questions and concerns about the Covid-19 vaccine, including the booster, so that you can feel safe and assured when getting your jab.
Staying up-to-date with your Covid-19 vaccination will significantly reduce your risk of developing severe Covid-19. It's safe, effective and gives you the best protection against the virus.
I want to know more about the vaccine
I am worried about the side-effects of the vaccine.
Covid-19 vaccines currently being used in the UK have gone through a rigorous process to ensure they are safe and effective. It is normal for some patients to experience mild side-effects such as pain at the injection site, feeling tired, headache, aches and chills. If required, you can treat these symptoms with painkillers, such as paracetamol (always follow the dosing instructions in the packaging).
Can I trust the vaccine?
The Covid-19 vaccines have had to meet all of the expected clinical safety tests and follow rigorous steps throughout the vaccine development process. All the vaccines licensed within the UK have passed strict approval processes.
NHS England has produced a short video explaining what is in the vaccine and how it works to offer you protection against the virus.
Does catching Covid-19 give you better immunity than the vaccine?
No – the vaccine provides the best possible protection for you and your family against the virus. It also reduces the risk of developing ‘Long Covid’ symptoms.
If Covid-19 is going away, do I need the vaccine?
Yes – Covid-19 and the Omicron variant is still infecting lots of people. It is still really important to get your vaccinations and keep them up-to-date.
Is the vaccine available/right for me?
I'm pregnant, is the vaccine safe for me and my baby?
Yes, getting your Covid-19 vaccine is the best way to protect you and your baby from the virus, and significantly reduces your risk of getting critically ill if you do get Covid-19.
There is no evidence to suggest that the Covid-19 vaccines used in England are unsafe for those who are pregnant, or that the vaccine will cause any problems for those planning to get pregnant in future.
Can people who practice their religion get vaccinated?
Covid-19 vaccination has been supported by many faith bodies; Churches, Imams, Rabbis and scholars of other faith have advised people to get vaccinated. The Covid-19 vaccines used in England do not contain any animal products, and the amount of ethanol (a type of alcohol) used is less than what you would find in bread.
Can I get vaccinated against Covid-19 if I don't have a GP or ID?
Yes, the NHS wants to help protect everyone against the virus so the vaccine is free to everyone who is eligible. You do not need proof of address, ID or an NHS number, and your details will not be shared for immigration purposes.
I have had Covid-19, should I get vaccinated?
Yes – we do not know how long immunity acquired by the infection lasts and it reduces over time. Vaccination provides a safe and effective boost to your immunity.
My immunity is high, do I need the Covid-19 booster?
Levels of protection from vaccination may reduce over time. The booster dose will help extend the protection you gained from your primary doses and give you longer term protection and will help to reduce the risk of you needing admission to hospital due to Covid-19 infection this winter. The booster gives you the best possible protection against the Omicron variant of the virus.
Why do I need a booster if there is still a chance I could get Covid-19?
While it is still possible to catch Covid-19 after having a booster dose, your risk is significantly reduced. Getting the booster will also reduce your risk of becoming seriously unwell, and possibly hospitalised, if you do catch the virus, as well as offering you longer-lasting protection.
If I get my booster will it show up on a PCR test / I want to go on holiday?
No – the booster will not affect a PCR test result. You will only test positive on a PCR test if you have Covid-19.
Should I delay getting my booster as there is evidence that the efficacy reduces over time?
Please do not delay getting your booster if three months have passed since your second vaccine. The booster increases your overall protection and with high levels of the virus circulating, it is really important to ensure levels of protection are high.
I don't know if I'm eligible for the Covid-19 booster.
There are very few people over the age of 16 who should not have the booster. People aged 12 and over with a severely weakened immune system who have had a third primary dose, or who are at increased risk of getting seriously ill from the virus are also eligible.
If you are unsure of your eligibility or had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine you should discuss this with your GP.
What do I do if I'm not offered the same vaccine for my booster?
You will be offered the right vaccine for you, which may be the same or different from the vaccines that you had before. You will be given a booster dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.