COVID-19 vaccination FAQs – Sefton

 

Below you will find some frequently asked questions that we are receiving in Sefton regarding the COVID-19 vaccinations.

You can also access COVID-19 vaccination information, updates and guides in different languages and formats here.

Who is currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine?

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

The vaccine programme has now moved into phase two. You can check who is currently eligible for their vaccine on the NHS website here.

 

When and how will I be contacted?

When you become eligible you will be contacted, either by text message, letter or by phone. This may come from your GP practice or from the national booking service and it will explain how to book your appointment.

If you are not yet eligible please wait to be contacted by the NHS.

 

Where will I get the vaccine?

In Sefton we have GP led vaccination services that offer appointments at four sites – Bootle, Maghull, Ainsdale and Southport. This service is concentrating on giving first and second doses to those in priority groups 1-9:

  • People aged 50 or over
  • Care home residents and staff
  • Frontline health and social care workers
  • Clinically vulnerable people who are more at risk
  • All those 75 years of age and over

Appointments will also be offered to those who are eligible at local participating community pharmacies in Sefton, as well as larger vaccination centres, via the national booking service.

If you are eligible you will be able to book your vaccination online or by phone:

If you have been invited for the vaccine whether it be your first or second dose, please use the booking information you were sent to arrange this as soon as possible. Second doses will be offered at the same place you had the first dose and we would encourage you to attend the same site.

In a very small number of cases we may need to arrange for you to have your second dose in a different location to your first. When you are contacted this will be explained to you and arranged.

 

I am eligible for a vaccination, but haven’t been invited to book?

Everyone in priority groups 1-9 should have been invited to book their first vaccination. Anyone in these groups who hasn’t been contacted should call the national vaccination booking service on 119, anytime between 7am -11pm, seven days a week (free of charge).

I’m not registered with a GP – how do I get my vaccine?

You do not have to be registered with a GP surgery to book your COVID-19 vaccination. You can still book your vaccination when you are eligible, either online or by phone:

It is preferable for you to be registered with a GP surgery, as this means you will automatically receive a call or a letter for you to book your vaccination when you become eligible. Anyone in England can register with a GP surgery and you do not need proof of address or immigration status, ID or an NHS number.

You can find some useful information on how to register with a GP practice here.

I’ve not received an appointment for my second dose, why not?

Don’t worry if you haven’t got your date for your second dose. We will be in contact to arrange this with you once there has been enough time between doses to arrange this.

Why are we not getting our second dose for 12 weeks?

The UK Chief Medical Officers have agreed a longer timeframe between first and second doses so that more people can get their first dose quickly, and because the evidence shows that one dose still offers a high level of protection after two weeks – 89% for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and 74% for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. This decision will allow us to get the maximum benefit for the most people in the shortest possible time and will help save lives.

Getting both doses remains important so we would urge you to return for it at the right time, this will be around 12 weeks after your first dose and you will be contacted when this needs to be arranged. You will get a good level of protection from the first dose but will not get maximum protection until at least 7 to 14 days after your second dose of vaccine.

 

Why are the sites not closer to where I live?

There are strict medical and logistical criteria about which premises are suitable to become vaccination sites to keep you and our staff as safe as possible. In addition, there are restrictions on where the vaccination can be delivered along with how it needs to be stored. This is why the vaccine might not be being delivered in your own GP practice or nearer to where you live. If booking via the national booking service you can chose the site most convenient for you.

 

I can’t get to my vaccination centre – how will you help me?

People who are housebound will be contacted by their GP practice about alternative ways to get vaccinated. The NHS will follow up with people that haven’t booked their appointment, as a reminder.

  

When I do get my appointment, should I get there early?

Please don’t come early, we are asking people to come as close to their appointment time as possible. This is to ensure that we don’t have too many people in the waiting area at one time and that we keep you all safe adhering to social distancing guidelines.

 

Can I have the vaccine if I am immuno-supressed?

Yes, severely immunosuppressed patients should already have been invited for a vaccine either as someone who was advised to shield, or who has an underlying health condition.

From 31 March 2021, those who live with people who are severely immunosuppressed are also being prioritised for a vaccine and should contact their GP practice to request a vaccine appointment. This is because people who are severely immunosuppressed may have a less effective response from the vaccine, so the inclusion of household members is intended to increase their protection.

This applies to immunosuppressed patients over 16 only as there is not the same evidence regarding children.

Household members are defined as “individuals who expect to share living accommodation on most days... and therefore for whom continuing close contact is unavoidable”. Members of ‘bubbles’ that do not live with an immunosuppressed person for the majority of the week are not eligible.

You can find further information and advice on this here.

 

I am pregnant and plan to breastfeed, should I get the vaccine?

If you're pregnant, you should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine when you're eligible for it.

It's preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine because they've been more widely used during pregnancy in other countries and have not caused any safety issues.

You can also have the COVID-19 vaccine if you're breastfeeding. Speak to a healthcare professional before you have the vaccination. They will discuss the benefits and risks with you.

The vaccine cannot give you or your baby COVID-19.

Read the latest COVID-19 vaccine advice if you're pregnant, may get pregnant or are breastfeeding on GOV.UK

Two experts from Liverpool Women’s Hospital have also put the following short video together to provide some reassurance on issues relating to fertility and pregnancy. You can hear from Alice Bird (Consultant Obstetrician) and Andrew Drakeley (Consultant Gynaecologist and Clinical Director for the Hewitt Fertility Centre) in a short 3 minute video here.

Does the vaccine affect my fertility?

There's no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine has any effect on your chances of becoming pregnant. There's no need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination.

Advice for women trying to become pregnant can be found on the GOV.UK website here.

If you are concerned about the impact of the vaccine on fertility, please click here to see the latest advice from the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

For advice to people currently undergoing or considering fertility treatment please see the following advice from the local Hewitt Fertility Centre here.

You can see a short video that provide some reassurance on issues relating to fertility and pregnancy from two experts from Liverpool Women’s Hospital - Alice Bird (Consultant Obstetrician) and Andrew Drakeley (Consultant Gynaecologist and Clinical Director for the Hewitt Fertility Centre) - here.

Click here for government guidance on COVID-19 vaccination for women of childbearing age, currently pregnant or breastfeeding.

 

What are the vaccines I might be vaccinated with?

There are now three vaccines available, they are Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and the Moderna vaccine. All vaccines have been shown to be safe and offer high levels of protection and have been given regulatory approval by the MHRA.

The Government has in principle secured access to seven different vaccine candidates, across four different vaccine types, totalling over 357 million doses. This includes: 40 million doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine 100m doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and 17 million doses of the Moderna vaccine, which is now approved by the MHRA and started to be delivered on 13 April 2021.

 

Should I be worried about the recent news on the AstraZeneca vaccine causing blood clots?

So far millions of people have been safely vaccinated against COVID-19.

Recent reports of very rare blood clots and unusual bleeding after vaccination are being carefully reviewed. Around four people develop this extremely rare condition for every million doses of AstraZeneca (AZ) given.

Scientific regulators and advisors from the MHRA and JCVI continue to advocate the use of all available COVID-19 vaccines as part of the national programme. Currently the JCVI advises that it is preferable for those aged under 30 to have a different vaccine to AZ as a precaution. They may still have the AZ after considering the low risks and benefits.

This rare blood clotting condition can also occur naturally, and more importantly clotting problems are a common complication of having COVID-19.

For the most up to date information please click here.

Are all the vaccine safe?

The NHS will not offer any COVID-19 vaccinations to the public until independent experts have signed off that it is safe to do so.   

The MHRA, the official UK regulator, has said the vaccines it has approved so far have good safety profiles and offer a high level of protection, and we have full confidence in their expert judgement and processes.     

As with any medicine, vaccines are highly regulated products. There are checks at every stage in the development and manufacturing process, and there is continued monitoring once it has been authorised and is being used in the wider population.

 

I am Muslim, can I take the vaccine?

British Islamic Medical Council statement on COVID-19 vaccine

The British Islamic Medical Council has made a statement recommending that the Muslim community take the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccination when offered. There is no content of animal origin (i.e. no gelatine) in the vaccination. Click here to read the full statement.

 

Can I choose which vaccine to have? 

You cannot choose which COVID-19 vaccine you are given unless there is a clear medical reason for doing so – such as a history of allergic reaction to one of the ingredients. If this is the case, please discuss this with health professional to ensure you get a suitable vaccine.

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.

You will have to have two doses of the same vaccine, as per official guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Although you can’t choose which vaccine you are given JCVI has advised that it is preferable for people under 30 to have a vaccine other than AZ. If you do 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.

I’m a bit worried about scams I’m hearing about, can you tell me how to avoid these?

There are some SMS / text message and email SCAMS taking place related to COVID-19 and more information and example of how these may look can be found here. Please be careful if you do receive a text message, don’t click on a link until you are sure that this is not a scam. Be careful with anything that relates to:

  • A URL link claiming to link to GOV.UK to claim supposed COVID-19 related payments
  • Lockdown fines suggesting you have breached lockdown
  • Offers of health supplements that will prevent you becoming infected
  • Financial support offers that appear to be from your bank

If you are worried that any text message is a scam please don’t respond, report the SMS Scam to Action Fraud by forwarding the message to 7726.

Avoiding fraud

To protect yourself and your family members from fraud, please remember the following points:

  • The NHS will never ask for bank details, PIN numbers or passwords when contacting you about a vaccination. You will never be charged for the vaccine.
  • Any communication which claims to be from the NHS but asks for payment, or bank details, is fraudulent and can be ignored. If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up.
  • If you believe you have been the victim of fraud or identity theft you should report this directly to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
  • Where a victim is vulnerable, and particularly if you are worried that someone has or might come to your house, report it to the Police either online or by calling 101.

For more information about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, please visit the NHS website.

Click here to watch informative videos about COVID-19 vaccine scams in five South Asian languages (UrduPunjabiSylhetiTamil and Gujarati.)