In this current climate, we at The Aspire Wellbeing Centre know that there are many questions surrounding the introduction of vaccinations, especially if you or someone you care for, come under the category of being vulnerable. So to answer some of the most commonly asked questions we receive, we have produced a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) in the hope that it helps to answer some of those queries and misunderstandings.
This is just a general guide and if you are still in doubt or need specialised advice please speak to your GP or Medical Practitioner.
Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for people with learning disabilities?
Yes. Contact your GP for advice on individual illnesses as advice may vary depending on individual circumstances.
When will it be my turn to get vaccinated?
When it is the right time, you will receive an invitation to come forward. For most people in south east London this will be in the form of a letter, phone call or text message from the NHS or a call either from their GP, a local hospital or the national booking system. Whatever the method, it will include all the information you need – including your NHS number.
Services are finding ways to ensure contact is made with all patients in the 1-4 priority groups, through phone calls (mobile or landline), texts, letters or via emergency contacts from a patient’s records.
However, those people aged 70 and over (priority groups 1-4) who have not yet been vaccinated against COVID and who would like to be are now able to contact the NHS to arrange a jab. The easiest way for people aged 70 and over to arrange a vaccination is through the national booking service which can be accessed at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination
When you book your first dose, you may be asked to book your second too. For most people this will be within three months of your first dose. The UK Chief Medical Officers have agreed this longer timeframe so that more people can get their first dose quickly, and because the evidence shows that one dose offers a high level of protection. Getting both doses remains important, so we would urge people to return for it at the right time.
We know many of you are eager to get protected but we are asking you not to contact the NHS or your GP practice (unless you are over 70) to get an appointment until you are contacted to do so. We have not forgotten about you and when it is your turn the NHS will contact you. The NHS is working hard to make sure those at greatest risk are offered the vaccine first.
It is important to note that you may not necessarily receive your vaccine at your usual GP practice but could be asked to attend at another NHS site or vaccination centre.
If Ade has already had COVID-19 and recovered, does he still need to get vaccinated?
Yes, if he is in a priority group identified by The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
The MHRA have looked at this and decided that getting vaccinated is just as important for you, even if you have already had COVID-19 . If you’ve recently tested positive for coronavirus – even if you have no symptoms – you should wait until 4 weeks after the date you were tested before getting the vaccine. Where you are suffering significant ongoing complications from COVID-19 you should discuss whether or not to have a vaccine now with a clinician.
Can vaccines be mixed? After receiving my first dose, does the 2nd dose have to be the same vaccine or can I get a different one?
“JCVI advises that he second vaccine dose should be with the same vaccine as the first dose. Switching between vaccines or missing the second dose is not advised as this may affect the duration of protection.” https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/priority-groups-for-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-advice-from-the-jcvi-30-december-2020/joint-committee-on-vaccination-and-immunisation-advice-on-priority-groups-for-covid-19-vaccination-30-december-2020
Is there any truth in meat being in these vaccines?
Both the two currently rolled out COVID-19 vaccines do not contain foetal, animal products, mercury or egg and are therefore suitable for vegetarians and vegans. All ingredients are published in healthcare information on the MHRA’s website.
Read about the approved Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 by MHRA on GOV.UK
Read about the approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 by MHRA on GOV.UK
The British Islamic Medical Association have produced a helpful guide for the Muslim community which can be found at www.britishima.org/pfizer-biontech-covid19-vaccine
If someone has sickle cell can they take the vaccine?
If you have sickle cell disease you may be at higher risk for some COVID-19 complications. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. It gives you the best protection against coronavirus. In partnership with the National Haemoglobinopathy Panel, the UK Forum on Haemoglobin Disorders and the UK Thalassaemia Society as well as the Sickle Cell Society have issued a statement along with information specific to the COVID-19 vaccination in patients with haemoglobinopathies and rare inherited anaemias (including sickle cell disorder) – https://www.sicklecellsociety.org/coronavirus-and-scd/.
How long does the vaccine last? Will I need a further booster dose after the first two doses?
We expect these vaccines to work for at least a year – if not longer. This will be constantly monitored. More evidence is needed to understand whether a seasonal vaccination or booster dose might be needed.
Do we have a choice in which vaccine we have?
No. Any vaccines that are available will have been approved because they pass the MHRA’s rigorous tests on safety and efficacy, so you should be assured that whatever vaccine you get, it will be safe and effective.
Can I get COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as another vaccine?
Information currently available is specifically regarding Covid-19 and Flu vaccinations:
You should wait 7 days between the two vaccines – Flu and COVID-19. If you need further advice please speak with your GP or Medical Practitioner
Is it safe for me to get a vaccine if I have an underlying medical condition?
Yes, 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 effectiveness of the vaccine is high throughout all the groups.
Contact your GP for advice on individual illnesses as advice may vary depending on individual circumstances
Is there risk of an allergic reaction if I receive the vaccine and which vaccine should I have if I have an allergy?
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.
A second dose of the vaccine should not be given to those who have experienced anaphylaxis to the first dose of vaccine.
It is very rare for anyone to have a serious reaction to the vaccine (anaphylaxis). If this does happen, it usually happens within minutes of receiving the vaccine where trained clinical professionals are on hand to attend to you immediately.
Anyone with a previous history of extreme allergic reactions will be issued the vaccine in a highly controlled environment such as a hospital site. If you have a history of anaphylaxis reactions, please discuss this with your GP when they contact you for your vaccine appointment and they will refer you to a more appropriate site.
After receiving your vaccine, you will be asked to wait in an observation area for a period of time before leaving.
My brother who I care for is over 70, has a learning disability and is also on medication for epilepsy. I am anxious about agreeing for him to have the vaccination – should I be? Were the vaccines tested on high-risk groups?
Yes, 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 effectiveness of the vaccine is high through all the groups.
Individuals over 70 are considered clinically vulnerable to Covid-19 and are in the priority groups to receive a vaccine.
Contact your GP for advice on individual illnesses as advice may vary depending on individual circumstances.