COVID-19 vaccine

You must wait to be contacted

The NHS will let you know when it's your turn to have the vaccine. It is important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then, unless you are aged 70 or over and have not yet received your vaccination.

The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. It gives you the best protection against coronavirus.

View up to date vaccine information on the NHS website. You can also find information about the Wandsworth COVID-19 vaccination programme via South West London CCG.

Vaccine information and questions

Who can get the COVID-19 vaccine

The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus.

In England, the vaccine is being offered in some hospitals and pharmacies, at hundreds of local vaccination centres run by GPs and at larger vaccination centres. More centres are opening all the time.

It's being given to:

  • People aged 60 and over
  • 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
  • Frontline health and social care workers
  • People who get Carer's Allowance

People aged 70 and over who have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19 are being asked to contact the NHS to arrange a jab.

Please contact the NHS for an appointment:

  • Online
  • Or call 119 free of charge any time between 7am to 11pm, seven days a week

Patients shielding or who are clinically vulnerable

More people in South West London and across the country are being asked to shield against coronavirus following the development of a new national Covid risk assessment.

  • People who have now been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable will shortly receive a letter from the NHS telling them to begin shielding until at least 31 March. 
  • People who are already shielding will also receive an updated letter from the NHS telling them to extend shielding to 31 March.
  • Previously, shielding has been based on health conditions and age, but the new method also takes account of factors including ethnicity, homelessness, deprivation, age, and body mass index. 
  • Those within this group who are over 70 will have already been invited for a vaccination, those within the group who are 19 – 69 years will now be fast-tracked for a vaccination and will be contacted as soon as possible for a vaccine, if they have not already been invited.
  • People who have been identified in this new shielded cohort do not need to proactively contact their GP to arrange a vaccine.

Register with a GP

You will need to be registered with a GP surgery in England. You can register with a GP if you do not have one.

When will I be vaccinated?

The order in which people will be offered the vaccine is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

The NHS will let you know when it's your turn to have the vaccine. It is important NOT to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then. When it is the right time for you to receive your vaccination, you will receive an invitation to come forward. This may be via the phone, or through a letter either from your GP or the national booking system. This letter will include all the information you will need to book appointments, including your NHS number. Please do not contact the NHS to get an appointment until you get this letter.

I am 90 and the NHS hasn’t contacted me yet, but it has contacted my friend who is 80, when will it be my turn?

If you are over 80, you are in a priority group. At this time, the vaccine is being offered to:

  • Care home residents and people who work in care homes
  • People aged 80 and over
  • Health and care workers

We expect the majority of over 80s to have been offered the vaccine by the end of January 2021, though over 80s will be able to come forward and receive the vaccine throughout the COVID-19 vaccination programme.

Not all vaccination sites went live at the same time so some over 80s will not yet have been contacted.

Please do not worry, if you are over 80 and have not been offered an appointment yet, the NHS will offer you one soon.

Vaccine safety

Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines are now available. 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).

Any coronavirus vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through. The MHRA follows international standards of safety.

Other vaccines are being developed. They will only be available on the NHS once they have been thoroughly tested to make sure they are safe and effective.

So far, thousands of people have been given a COVID-19 vaccine and no serious side effects or complications have been reported.

Find out more about regulatory approval of the vaccine.

How effective are the vaccines? 

The MHRA have said these vaccines are highly effective, but to get full protection people need to come back for the second dose – this is really important.

To ensure as many people are vaccinated as quickly as possible, the Department for Health and Social Care now advise that the second dose of both the OxfordAstraZeneca and the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine should be scheduled up to 12 weeks apart.

Full protection kicks in around a week or two after that second dose, which is why it’s also important that when you do get invited, you act on that and get yourself booked in as soon as possible. Even those who have received a vaccine still need to follow social distancing and other guidance.

Will the vaccines work with the new strains? 

There is no evidence currently that the new strains will be resistant to the vaccines we have, so the NHS are continuing to vaccinate people as normal. Scientists are looking now in detail at the characteristics of the virus in relation to the vaccines. Viruses, such as the winter flu virus, often branch into different strains but these small variations rarely render vaccines ineffective.

Can people pick what vaccine they want? 

Any vaccines that the NHS will provide will have been approved because they pass the MHRA’s tests on safety and efficacy, so people should be assured that whatever vaccine they get, it is worth their while.

What about the Moderna vaccine?

The MHRA have now decided – after extensive assessment – that the Moderna vaccines are safe and effective. The Government provisionally ordered several million doses of this vaccine ahead of it being approved, but we don’t expect Moderna to be able to make these available until spring 2021.

Does the vaccine have any side effects?

These are important details which the MHRA always consider when assessing candidate vaccines for use. For these vaccines, like lots of others, they have identified that some people might feel slightly unwell, but they report that no significant side effects have been observed in the tens of thousands of people involved in trials.

All patients will be provided with information on the vaccine they have received, how to look out for any side effects, and what to do if they do occur, including reporting them to the MHRA. Find out more about the side effects.

Does the vaccine include any parts from foetal or animal origin?

There is no material of foetal or animal origin in either vaccine. All ingredients are published in healthcare information on the MHRA’s website.

Do I need to have the vaccine if I have already had COVID-19?

Yes. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection with COVID-19 is possible, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 infection.

Can Muslims have the vaccine under Islamic law?

Yes, after discussion with experts, the British Islamic Medical Association encourages individuals to take the COVID vaccine as advised by their medical practitioner.

Could the vaccine be less effective for Black people and other minority groups?

No, there is not any evidence that either of the vaccines will work differently among different ethnic groups. Around 10% of the Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine trial participants were Black or African.

Other information about the vaccine

Vaccine information in easy-read format

Vaccine information in other languages