Covid-19 vaccination

The Covid-19 vaccination programme is underway now in BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire. If you have a question about the vaccination programme, please check our live Q&As below for an answer. 

The NHS England website publishes the latest Government data regarding the number of people who have been vaccinated and Public Health England have a 'What you need to know' blog with similar FAQs. 

General questions

Who can get the vaccine?

Updated: 5 May 2021

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

It's being given to:

  • people aged 40 or over
  • people who will turn 40 before 1 July 2021
  • 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
  • health and social care workers

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

Further details about vaccine eligibility are available online through the NHS website

You can book a vaccine appointment through the National Booking service, by calling 119 or after hearing from your GP with an invitation to book.

If you are not eligible yet, please wait to be contacted. The NHS will let you know when it's your turn to have the vaccine. Please do not attend a vaccine clinic or large-scale centre without first being invited and also having a booked appointment, you will be turned away if this is the case.

Why should I have the vaccine?

Catching Covid-19 can be serious and may lead to long term complications. You can have Covid-19 without any symptoms and pass it on to family, friends and patients, including those who may be at greater risk of being seriously ill from Covid-19.

The latest government research suggests that just one dose of a coronavirus vaccine is enough to reduce the risk of serious Covid-related illness by 80 per cent, which is why we strongly urge you to consider having it to protect yourself and others and help stop the spread of Covid-19.

I'm eligible for a vaccination but the National Booking Service won't let me book an appointment online. What should I do?

The vaccination rollout programme across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire continues to make great progress. 

As the programme moves down through different age groups as well as continues to provide second doses, more people are becoming eligible to book an appointment. If you have received an invitation to book an appointment, but are struggling to find a slot, we ask that you are patient. Appointments are becoming available all the time, as vaccine supply allows. 

The National vaccine Booking System webpage lists who is currently eligible to book and gives information about what you'll need to do when you book, including making sure you:

  • have 2 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine at 2 appointments
  • book both appointments at the same time
  • get the 2nd dose 11 to 12 weeks after getting your 1st dose

Please note that we are unable to book appointments via the National Booking System on your behalf.

When will I receive my second dose?

As per Government guidance based on the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) the gap between the first and second doses will be 11-12 weeks. When you book your vaccinations via the National Booking System, you will be asked to book your second dose at the same time as the first. 

I'm planning to be abroad at the time of my second dose, what shall I do?

Updated: 6 May

At present, it is illegal to travel abroad for holidays. On 17 May 2021, a full charter specifying what is required of passengers if travelling abroad after that date will come into effect. 

We are currently unable to offer second dose appointments earlier than the 11/12-week gap after the first dose. 

Why am I having to wait to receive the vaccine?

People who have been identified as most at-risk to the effects of coronavirus are being invited to receive the vaccine first.

This is in line with the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

Once this stage of the vaccine programme is complete, the rollout will be extended to the next at-risk group, and so on until all vulnerable people have been protected.

I’m in an eligible group but haven’t received any communication about having the vaccine. Have I been forgotten?

The NHS is undertaking the largest vaccination programme in its history and working through the priority groups according to the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

People who are in the current cohort for vaccination but who have not yet received a letter or phone call to book an appointment should not worry about being forgotten as, provided they are registered with a GP practice, they will be invited to an appointment in due course.

Any person who is not currently registered with a GP practice is advised to do so as quickly as possible and you can do this online via the NHS website.

What's the link between the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine and blood clots?

Updated: 8 April

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has issued guidance after reports of extremely rare adverse events (blood clots and low platelet count) associated with the first dose of AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine.

The Committee has weighed the balance of benefits and risks and advises that prompt vaccination with AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine far outweighs the risks of adverse events for people aged 30 years and over and those with underlying health conditions that put them at greater risk of severe Covid-19 disease.

It recommends that people aged under 30 years are offered an alternative vaccine where possible, but states that individuals may wish to make an informed decision to take up the offer of an AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine to receive earlier protection.

The JCVI recommends that everyone who has had a first dose of AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine should still be offered and have a second dose, irrespective of their age.

For more information about blood clotting and the Covid-19 vaccination, Public Health England have produced a patient leaflet

 

Is the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine effective in older people?

The Chief Executive of the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency – the agency that is responsible for ensuring that medicines and medical devices work and are acceptably safe – has said that the available data shows the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine produces a strong immune response in the over-65s and that it is safe.

The latest government research (2 March 2021) suggests that just one dose of either coronavirus vaccine is enough to reduce the risk of serious Covid-related illness by 80 per cent in people aged over 80 years.

No EU country or regulator is disputing the safety of the vaccine.

I have received a text inviting me for a vaccination - is it real?

The NHS will contact you by letter and also possibly by text to invite you to book a vaccination. If you have received a text, you can wait for your letter, which will confirm the text's legitimacy.

Please note that the NHS will never ask for:

  • Your bank account or card details (the Covid-19 vaccine is free of charge)
  • Your pin or banking password
  • Copies of personal documents to prove your identity such as your passport, driving licence, utility bills or payslips

Why have I received a phone call?

If you have received a letter but not booked an appointment you may get a phone call from the NHS Immunisation Management Service. This call will be from 0300 561 0240.

This will be a reminder to book your Covid-19 vaccination appointments.

The person you speak to will see if you need any help and support.

They will not call you to book appointments over the phone.

I’m a carer. Will I be prioritised for the vaccine?

Updated 1 March 2021:

Unpaid carers

Across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire, unpaid carers aged between 16 and 64 are now being invited for a Covid-19 vaccination.

Unpaid carers are defined by the Care Act as: people who look after family members, friends, neighbours or others because of long-term physical or mental ill health or disability, or care needs related to old age. This does not include any activities as part of paid employment.  

If you are registered as an unpaid carer with your GP practice, or you are known to your local authority or carer organisation, you will be contacted by your GP service to make appointment for a vaccination.

If you are not registered with your GP as an unpaid carer, but you care for an older or Clinically Extremely Vulnerable person and feel that you meet the criteria as defined in the Care Act, please contact your GP practice to register. If you do not register, or do not consider yourself an unpaid carer, please remember we won’t leave anyone behind and all adults will be offered a first dose vaccination by the 31t July 2021.

Carers in receipt of Carer Allowance

If you receive the Carer Allowance, you can now make an appointment via the National Booking Service at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or call 119 free of charge, between 7am and 11pm, seven days  per week. You will be contacted by your GP if you do not make an appointment with the National Booking Service.   

Paid carers

Eligible paid carers are able to book their vaccination appointments in a vaccination centre or community pharmacy through the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service.

You can book online at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination but if this is not possible, you can phone 119 free of charge, 7am to 11pm, 7 days a week. As part of the booking process, eligible carers need to self-declare they are a health or social care worker.

Futher information, including details of who is considered eligible as a carer, is available on the NHS England website

 

 



I work in a health and social care setting. When will I be receiving the vaccine?

We understand that health and social care staff provide an invaluable service to the local community, and their protection against coronavirus is extremely important.

Although many staff have already been vaccinated, and staff vaccinations continue to take place, the CCG is now writing to health and social care employers across the region to ensure that any staff who have not yet had the vaccine can receive an invitation as quickly as possible. 

If you are a member of staff, a locum GP or an agency worker, please contact your employer for further information.

It is likely that most staff will be invited to receive their vaccine at one of the region’s hospital hubs, however each employer will receive specific details of where and when their teams will be able to be vaccinated.

Please read our dedicated health and social care worker Q&As for more information. 

Is having the Covid-19 vaccination mandatory?

The COVID-19 vaccine is not mandatory. We will be working hard to ensure that as many people as possible are able to get vaccinated here at the Bath large vaccination site. We believe that the vast majority of the community will choose to protect themselves and their families.

I have a specific question about the vaccine. Is there a way of getting this answered?

Information about the vaccine is available online from www.nhs.uk and also www.gov.uk.

Our FAQs are updated regularly and contain responses to everything we have had enquiries about from members of the public. Please check back regularly. 

Can I still be vaccinated if I am not currently registered with a GP practice? For example, if I am a foreign national or member of the traveller community.

Yes, however each person who would like to receive a vaccine must register with their nearest GP practice as a temporary resident as soon as possible.

A temporary registration will last for approximately three months. After this time, a new temporary registration may be required. 

Vaccination centres

Where are the vaccination clinics in BSW?

NEWEST BSW map of vaccine sites with site names incl Mar 2021

Where is my nearest vaccine centre?

There are several vaccine centres in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire.

Some are based within the region’s three large hospitals – the Great Western Hospital in Swindon, the Royal United Hospital in Bath and Salisbury District – and some are located within the community, at venues such as GP practices, sports centres and community halls.

Large vaccination centres, which are designed to provide the vaccine on a much bigger scale to that of the other vaccine venues, are also available in our region.

It is important to remember that people are not permitted to attend any of the local venues without an appointment.

I have received a letter inviting me to have the vaccine at large vaccination centre, which is a long way from my home. What should I do?

In order for the vaccination programme to be a success, it is important for as many people as possible to attend their vaccine appointments.

However, it is recognised that out-of-area travel at this current time is not ideal for most people, especially those who are older or living with a mobility-limiting condition.

As such, any person who has been invited to attend a large vaccination centre at Salisbury City Hall, Bath Racecourse or another venue, such as the Kassam Stadium in Oxford, but is unable to or comfortable with travelling, can choose to wait to receive a vaccine appointment from their local GP practice.

There may, however, be a short wait for this appointment letter to arrive, but it is expected that all people in the top four priority groups will have had the opportunity to have the vaccine by the middle of February.

Is it possible for transport to be arranged to take me to and from my vaccine appointment?

There are around 20 vaccination sites located across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire, with all of the community-based venues providing the vaccine to those people living in the immediate local area.

It is hoped that most people will be able to attend a site that is close to their home, and for which travel time should be minimal.

Although social distancing restrictions remain in place, friends and family can still provide people lifts to and from the vaccine centres for people with no means of alternative transport. 

Please remember to wear a face covering when in a car with anyone from outside your home or care bubble.

For those unable to secure such support, public transport is still operating locally, with many of the vaccine sites situated on, or very near to, major bus routes. 

Is there disabled access at the vaccine centres?

Yes. All of the vaccine sites across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire are accessible to people in wheelchairs or with a mobility-limiting condition.

If you need additional assistance at the vaccine centre, please share this at the point of booking your appointment and speak to a member of staff upon arrival.

Is transport available to and from the Large Vaccination Centre at Bath Racecourse?

First West of England is providing a bus service to and from the large vaccination centre at Bath Racecourse. 

More information on this route, including ticket prices and timetables, can be found online at www.firstgroup.com/bristol-bath-and-west or by clicking here

I can't attend my vaccination appointment. Who do I need to inform?

Although every effort should be made to attend appointments, it is understood that there may be some occasions in which a cancellation is necessary.

Appointments for the large vaccination centres at Bath Racecourse and Salisbury City Hall can be amended by using the national booking service, details of which are included in the original appointment letter. 

Appointments for GP-led vaccine clinics can be amended by contacting the GP practice directly, or by calling the number listed on the booking letter. 

Please give as much notice as possible when cancelling appointments, as these slots can then be given to another person. 

Post vaccination

Are there any side effects to the vaccination?

Like all vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccine can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them. Staff administering the vaccine are trained to deal with allergic reactions and treat them immediately.

Most side effects are mild or moderate and go away within a few days of appearing. If side effects such as pain and/or fever are troublesome, they can be treated by medicines for pain and fever such as paracetamol.

If you experience a temperature it is essential that you self-isolate and contact arrange a COVID-19 test as soon as possible.

Side effects may occur with following frequencies:

Very common: may affect more than 1 in 10 people

  • Pain at injection site
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Joint pain
  • Fever

Common: may affect up to 1 in 10 people

  • Injection site swelling
  • Redness at injection site
  • Nausea

Uncommon: may affect up to 1 in 100 people

  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Feeling unwell

Reporting of side effects

If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This includes any possible side effects not listed here. It is essential to report side effects that may be Covid-19 symptoms, as such by self-isolating immediately and getting a test.

You can also report side effects directly via the Coronavirus Yellow Card reporting site or search for MHRA Yellow Card in the Google Play or Apple App Store and include the vaccine brand and batch/Lot number if available. By reporting side effects, you can help provide more information on the safety of the vaccine.

Do I need to continue wearing a face covering and practicing social distancing after having the vaccine?

Yes.

Although the Covid-19 vaccine is the best way to stop somebody from getting seriously ill with coronavirus, scientists say that it takes around two weeks from the day of vaccination for a good level of protection to build up. 

All people, regardless of whether they have had the vaccine or not, must continue to follow the current government guidelines on face coverings and social distancing. 

More information on this can be found at www.gov.uk/coronavirus

If I develop COVID-19 symptoms but I’ve had the vaccine do I still need to self-isolate or take a test?

Yes. The vaccine does not provide instant immunity from the virus - immunity starts around 3 weeks after the first dose of vaccination but, as we have seen, the virus can mutate and it’s important that we continue to monitor the COVID-19-status of those who have received a vaccination. If you develop symptoms you must self-isolate and arrange to have a test.

Will I still need to self-isolate if someone in my household has symptoms or if I’ve been contacted by Test and Trace?

Yes. You must still self-isolate if you are required to, even after you have been vaccinated.

Health and Wellbeing

What are the ingredients of each of the vaccines that have been approved for use in the UK?

The Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) provides detailed information about the ingredients of each of the three vaccines which have been approved for use in the UK on the gov.uk website. 

None of the ingredients for any of the vaccines contain components of animal origin. 

Click the links below to find out more:

Can I have the vaccine if I have food allergies or carry an epipen?

Any person with a previous history of allergic reactions to the ingredients of the vaccine should not receive it.

However, people with other allergies, such as food allergies or those that require you to carry an Epipen, can have the vaccine. 

Can I be vaccinated if I take anticoagulant medication (blood thinners) or have a bleeding disorder?

If you take anticoagulant medication (such as apixaban, edoxoban, rivaroxaban or warfarin) you can still have the vaccination provided your therapy is stable. If you are taking warfarin make sure you are up to date with INR testing and your latest INR was below the upper threshold of your therapeutic range. Please inform the member of staff undertaking clinical assessment at the vaccination site that you are taking an anticoagulant. You will be at higher risk of bruising at the injection site.

If you have a bleeding disorder please seek advice from your GP or specialist before booking your appointment.

Can I still get my vaccine if I am currently unwell?

If you currently have a severe infection with a high temperature (over 38°C) please cancel your appointment and wait until you have fully recovered. Minor illnesses such as a cold are not reasons to delay vaccination.

How long does it take for me to become immune after having the vaccinations?

The protection against Covid-19 may not be effective until at least 21 days after the first dose.

How long will my vaccine be effective for?

We are awaiting further clinical evidence on how long the protection lasts.

If I've had a vaccine for something else in the last week can I still have my Covid-19 vaccination?

You should not receive your COVID-19 vaccination if you have received any other injected immunisation within the last seven days.

Will I be prioritised for the vaccine if I am awaiting surgery?

Patients who are due to have surgery that requires an overnight stay within the next four weeks will be prioritised and offered a vaccine ahead of their admission to hospital.

Any person with questions should contact their GP practice. 

Is the vaccine safe, and can I choose which of the vaccines I receive?

All coronavirus vaccines have been tested extensively in thousands of people in countries across the globe.

The data from these trials has been independently verified by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, which has approved the use of all vaccines currently being given in the UK.

People cannot choose which vaccine they receive, all are highly effective in providing protection against coronavirus and we are unable to find out or share with you which vaccine will be on offer at the vaccination clinic you book into.

Those patients who are allergic to a specific vaccine will be able to receive an alternative. 

I’m unable to leave my home. Will I still be able to receive the vaccine?

If your GP knows you are housebound and you are in the top four priority groups as set by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, you will be contacted to book your vaccination at home.

Any person who has not yet received their vaccination and has recently become housebound should contact their GP practice to ensure records are up-to-date. 

Fertility

If I am pregnant, trying for a baby, or breastfeeding, what are the guidelines?

If you are planning to become pregnant, you are still able to have the vaccination. You do not need to avoid becoming pregnant afterwards.

You can have the vaccination if you are breastfeeding. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has advised there is no known risk associated with this.

In addition, the JCVI has advised that women who are currently pregnant should be offered Covid-19 vaccines at the same time as people of the same age or risk group. However, the committee has said that pregnant women should only receive the vaccines that have been produced by either Pfizer or Moderna. 

More information regarding the coronavirus vaccine during pregnancy can be found by clicking here

Press releases and stakeholder briefings about the Covid-19 vaccine

We have been issuing a steady stream of updates as the vaccination programme progresses, you can read everything here:

Press releases and stakeholder briefings

Vaccination sites in BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire

The following community-based, GP-led vaccine sites have been in operation since December:

  • Steam Museum, Swindon
  • Corn Exchange, Devizes
  • Rowden Surgery, Chippenham
  • Combe Down Surgery, near Bath
  • The White Horse Health Centre, Westbury
  • Ramsbury Surgery, Marlborough
  • Spencer Sport and Social Club, Melksham

The following sites have been used since January 2021 (note: some no longer in operation - May 2021):

  • Wingfield Surgery, Trowbridge
  • Michael Herbert Centre, Wilton
  • Tidworth Leisure Centre, Tidworth
  • Malmesbury Primary Care Centre, Malmesbury
  • Batheaston Medical Centre, Batheaston
  • Somer Centre, Midsomer Norton
  • Northlands Surgery, Calne
  • The Pavilion, Bath
  • Larkhill Medical Centre
  • Salisbury Cathedral
  • West View Surgery, Keynsham
  • Pewsey Surgery

You can find a list of all vaccine sites in our FAQs.

Covid-19 vaccine fraud alert

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