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. 

Walk-in centres

Where are the current Covid-19 vaccine walk-in clinics in BSW?

The NHS England website offers a 'Find my nearest walk-in vaccination' service using postcodes to search your nearest clinics. 

You can also find this website by searching 'Grab a jab' in any internet search engine.



Do I need to book an appointment to attend a walk-in clinic?

No. You do not need to book an appointment for a walk-in clinic, you can just turn up during the opening times. Please make sure you are aware of which vaccines are being offered at the clinic before you arrive.

People who attend a walk-in clinic for their first dose will have their vaccination record updated online and will then be able to book in their second dose appointment using the national booking system. Second jabs are also available at the walk-ins, if it has been at least eight weeks since your first dose.

Please remember to bring a face mask with you, unless you’re exempt, and have something to eat and drink before you leave home.

I'm 16 or 17 years old, can I attend a walk-in clinic?

Yes, City Hall in Salisbury and Bath Racecourse are offering first dose vaccinations to 16 and 17 year-olds. For opening times, visit the 'Find my nearest walk-in vaccination' online service.

Do I need to be registered with a GP to attend a walk-in clinic?

You do not need to be registered with a GP to attend a walk-in clinic.

However, you do need to be registered with a GP to book, amend or cancel any appointments through the National Booking System, so please register with your local GP if possible.

Can I have my second vaccine earlier than eight weeks from my first?

The UK is following The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and NHS England guidance of a minimum eight-week gap between doses, unless there is a clinical exemption (such as cancer treatments or pregnancy). This guidance prohibits the CCG from accepting requests for an earlier dose outside of the clinical exemptions, so we will not accept requests for exceptions to this rule. Walk-in centres will also only vaccinate people who are at the eight-week or more marker.

General questions

Who can get the vaccine?

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

It's being offered to to:

  • children aged 12 to 15 years old with underlying health conditions or who live with someone who is more likely to get infections (see separate FAQ for more information)
  • children aged 12 to 15 years old (to be given in schools by Virgin Care's Immunisation Service team)
  • people aged 16 and 17 years, who cannot book via the National Booking System but can attend some walk-in clinics (see walk-in FAQ for more information)
  • people aged 18 or over and people who are aged 17 and 9 months or more (i.e. within 3 months of their 18th birthday)
  • 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 or by calling 119 after you have been invited by text or letter from the NHS.

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.

Are children eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine?

All children aged between 12 and 15-years-old will be offered the chance to have the coronavirus vaccine at their school. 

The vaccine will be administered by a member of Virgin Care's Immunisation Service team, and both child and parent consent will be required before vaccination can take place.

Click here for more information. 

Some children aged 12 to 15 years old with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe Covid-19 may have alread received a Covid-19 vaccination. The range of underlying health conditions that apply has recently been expanded. They can get vaccinated against Covid-19 if either:

  • they live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)
  • they have a condition that means they're at high risk from Covid-19

Conditions that mean your child may be at high risk and can get vaccinated are:

  • a severe problem with the brain or nerves, including cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy and muscular dystrophy
  • Down's syndrome
  • severe or multiple learning disabilities (or they're on the learning disability register)
  • a condition that means they're more likely to get infections (such as some genetic conditions or types of cancer)
  • respiratory disease, Including those with poorly controlled asthma and cystic fibrosis
  • heart conditions including congenital heart disease
  • chronic kidney, liver or some digestive conditions
  • type 1 diabetes mellitus
  • Immunosuppression due to disease or treatment, including:
  • those undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy, solid organ transplant recipients, bone marrow or stem cell transplant recipients
  • genetic disorders affecting the immune system
  • those with blood cancer, including leukaemia and lymphoma
  • those receiving immunosuppressive or biological therapy, high or moderate dose corticosteroids,
  • those with auto-immune diseases who may require long term immunosuppressive treatments
  • diseases of the spleen including sickle cell disease
  • serious genetic abnormalities that affect several of the body’s organs

If your child is eligible for vaccination, you'll be contacted by a local NHS service to arrange their appointments.

Find out more about COVID-19 vaccination for children and young people on GOV.UK

Am I eligible for a booster vaccine?

It has been announced that booster vaccines are to be made available for care home residents, health and social care workers, people aged over 50, those aged 16 to 49-years-old with underlying health conditions, adult carers, and adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals.

People eligible for a booster vaccination will be contacted directly by the NHS approximately six months after their last Covid-19 vaccine was given, with those who received their second dose early at four weeks being called first.  

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

As the vaccination 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 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 separate appointments
  • book both appointments at the same time
  • get the 2nd dose 8 weeks after getting your 1st dose

Please note that we are unable to book or change appointments made using the National Booking System.

Can I choose which vaccine I have?

All vaccines approved for use are clinically effective and appointments will be offered according to vaccine supply and clinical eligibility. We are unable to advise which vaccine is being given on any particular day in any of the vaccine clinics and you are unable to choose in advance which vaccine you will be offered at your first appointment.

When you book your second appointment, the national booking site will identify from your records which vaccine you had for your first appointment, and will only offer appointments for the same vaccine in line with national guidance.

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

If you need to change your second dose appointment, you can do this via the National Booking System or by calling 119.

Please note: you will not be able to arrange a second dose for less than 8 weeks after your first. This is to ensure you receive maximum protection against coronavirus. Scheduled travel abroad is not considered to be an acceptable reason to seek your second dose before 8 weeks after your first.

If you are planning on being abroad for work at the time of your second dose, please discuss your travel arrangements with your employer.

How can I prove I've had my vaccinations, for example, for international travel?

People in England who have been fully vaccinated (two doses of any approved vaccine) against Covid-19 can demonstrate their vaccination status for international travel using:

  • the NHS App, which you can download from app stores 

It may take more than a week for your identity to be checked and verified so you can use this service.

If you cannot access this online service, and you have had both vaccine doses, you can request a paper letter from the NHS by calling 119. Only call 119 if you are due to travel abroad in the near future and had your second dose more than five working days ago. It may take seven working days for the letter to arrive.

When you're planning your travel, check the latest information on demonstrating your Covid-19 status when travelling abroad on the gov.uk website.

Make sure there is time to get proof of your vaccination status before you leave.

I'm having problems with the National Booking System - who can help?

If you are experiencing problems with the National Booking System website e.g. cancelled appointments; lack of booking reference number; error codes; not being recognised; please call 119 in all instances.

The CCG is not the responsible organisation for this service and cannot answer queries relating to it.

I had my first vaccine dose in another country and need to book my second, what shall I do?

If you had your first dose vaccine in a country other than England (including other countries in the UK) and now need to book your second dose here, please contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) to arrange this directly as the National Booking System will not recognise that you have already received your first dose.

Our PALS team will be able to make a local booking arrangement with one of our vaccine centres for you.

Contact PALS by email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone on 0300 561 0250.

I had one of my vaccination doses abroad, how do I get this to show in the NHS App ?

Your GP practice has guidance about what sort of documentation can be used to verify that you have received an approved vaccine dose abroad. They can then arrange for this to be added to your medical records.

However, the vaccine dose you received abroad will not show on the “certification section” of the NHS App as the app can currently only show vaccines received in the UK.

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. 

Why should I have the vaccine?

Catching Covid-19 can be serious at any age and can lead to long term health complications including extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, problems with memory and sleep and ear problems. You can have Covid-19 without any symptoms and still pass it on to family and friends including those who may be at greater risk of being seriously ill from Covid-19.

Government research suggests that just one dose of a coronavirus vaccine is enough to reduce the risk of developing serious Covid-related illness by 80 per cent. Furthermore, even one dose of a coronavirus vaccine reduces the risk of Covid-19 transmission to members of your household by up to 49 per cent compared with having no doses.

This is why we strongly urge you to consider having the vaccine to protect yourself and others and help stop the spread of Covid-19.

How do I book a vaccine?

Please contact the National Booking Service to make an appointment - not your GP practice. 

All local sites are now available through the NBS online or by calling 119 and it's the best way to get an appointment for both your first and second doses if you don’t have an appointment already. 

Please don't hesitate, when it's your turn to be vaccinated please do so as soon as possible.  The NHS appreciates that at times the system can be busy but be assured we will make sure everyone is offered the opportunity to be immunised so please keep trying.  New clinics are being set up all the time at various locations including some community pharmacies so your patience is appreciated.  

Will I have to wear a face covering to my appointment after 19 July 2021?

Social distancing measures will remain in place at health and care settings across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire after Monday 19 July. This means that you will continue to be asked to wear a face covering, as well as to observe the one-metre-plus rule when interacting with others indoors - including at Covid-19 vaccination clinics.

How do I move my second appointment forward from 12 weeks to 8 weeks?

Everyone is now able to move their second vaccine dose forward to 8 weeks after the first. Please do this via the National Booking System or by calling 119.

The national booking site will identify from your records which Covid-19 vaccine you had for your first appointment, and will only offer appointments for the same vaccine in line with national guidance.

I've tested positive for Covid-19, when can I have my first or second dose vaccination?

If you have tested positive for Covid-19 following a PCR test, you must wait 28 days before having either your first or second dose of the vaccine.

If you already have an appointment booked for either dose within 28 days of testing positive, please use the National Booking System to re-arrange the appointment to leave a longer gap. You can also re-arrange by calling 119.

When will I receive my second dose?

You'll need to book a 2nd dose for 8 weeks after your 1st dose. This allows for maximum protection against coronavirus.

  • If you book online via the National Booking System, you'll be asked to book appointments for both doses
  • If you have your 1st dose at a walk-in vaccination site, you can book your 2nd Covid-19 vaccination appointment online
  • You'll need to wait 24 hours after your 1st dose before you can book
  • If you have your 1st dose through your GP surgery, you'll be contacted when it's time to book your 2nd dose

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.

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 across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire.

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. 

Vaccination centres

Where are the vaccination clinics in BSW?

BSW vaccine map May 2021

Where is my nearest vaccine centre?

There are over 20 vaccination sites across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire.

They are located at a variety of venues including large sites (e.g. Bath Racecourse and Salisbury City Hall), community locations (e.g. Devizes Corn Exchange) and pharmacies.The large sites are designed to offer the highest volume of vaccinations at a time.

Please book an appointment as soon as you are eligible, all of the sites offering the vaccination are listed on the National Booking System and if your preferred site isn't available when you try to book, keep checking back as appointments are made available all the time as supply allows.

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?

Update 6 July 2021:

The number 32 First West of England bus runs from Bath city centre to Bath racecourse every hour, on the hour, and it is free to anyone who can show a booked vaccine appointment.

The bus returns from the racecourse back to the town centre every hour, at 15 minutes past the hour. 

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.

If you need to cancel or change you appointment, you can do this via the National Booking System. Please note that you will have to first cancel aqn appointment before you can change it.

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 the use of 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.

How can I make sure I stay well after my vaccination?

We recommend having something small to eat before your appointment. Fainting after vaccination is mostly due to anxiety or low blood sugar levels, so eating something small is a good precaution to take.

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.

It’s important that you have a conversation with your GP if you are concerned.

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.

The vaccines are highly effective in providing protection against coronavirus and you cannot choose which vaccine you receive unless you have a medical condition that means a certain vaccine is inappropriate.

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. 

Are the Covid-19 vaccines suitable for vegans?

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

The Vegan Society has stated:

‘The definition of veganism recognises that it is not always possible or practicable for vegans to avoid participating in animal use, which is particularly relevant to medical situations.

In the case of Covid-19, vaccination will play a fundamental role in tackling the pandemic and saving lives. As there is currently a legal requirement that all vaccines are tested on animals, at this point in time it is impossible to have a vaccine that has been created without animal use.

The Vegan Society encourages vegans to look after their health and that of others, in order to continue to be effective advocates for veganism and other animals.’

Do I need to do anything to prepare for my appointment?

We recommend having something small to eat before your appointment. Fainting after vaccination is mostly due to anxiety or low blood sugar levels, so eating something small is a good precaution to take.

Fertility and Pregnancy

Can any of the Covid-19 vaccines affect fertility?

No. There is absolutely no evidence, and no theoretical reason why any of the vaccines can affect the fertility of women or men.

Find out more about the Covid-19 vaccines and fertility through the British Fertility Society.

Should people of reproductive age receive a Covid-19 vaccine?

Yes. People of reproductive age are advised to have the vaccine when they receive their invitation for vaccination.

This includes those who are actively trying to have a baby as well as those who are thinking about having a baby, whether that is in the near future or in a few years’ time.

Find out more about the Covid-19 vaccines and fertility through the British Fertility Society.

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

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has advised that women who are currently pregnant or think they could be 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.

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.

More information regarding the coronavirus vaccine during pregnancy is provided by Public Health England.

Further advice, including facts and more FAQs is provided by the Royal College of Midwives.

How do I specify that I'm pregnant when I use the National Booking System?

The booking system will only offer you appointments with a vaccine that is appropriate based on your age.

I.e. if you are under 40 years, it will only offer appointments with an alternative to the AstraZeneca (Oxford) vaccine. 

If you are 40 years or above, the system will ask you if you are pregnant before offering you an appropriate appointment. 

Students

Which vaccine will I be given?

Currently, vaccine centres in our region are offering the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation  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 in younger people.

It therefore recommends that people aged up to 39 years are offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine where possible, but states that individuals may wish to make an informed decision to take up the offer of an AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine if it means receiving a vaccination sooner.

The National Booking Service will offer appointments for a vaccine that is appropriate for your age. You cannot choose which vaccine you have.

Will students be prioritised for the vaccine?

Current evidence strongly indicates that the single greatest risk of mortality from Covid-19 is increasing age and that the risk increases exponentially with age.

Invitations to book a vaccination are being sent out according to priority groups set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. These are age-based and can be found on the gov.uk website.

A person’s age and level of clinical vulnerability will determine their invitation date for a vaccine, not their student status.

Will vaccinations be compulsory to attend university from September 2021?

Updated: 27 May 2021.

Current guidance does not indicate that Covid-19 vaccination is compulsory, in order to be admitted to a university in England.

If I have my first dose whilst I’m at uni but then I move out of my accommodation, where will I have my second dose?

When you are invited to book your vaccination, you will do so through the National Booking Service. The system will prompt you to book both your first and second doses at the same time. However, you do not need to book them in the same area. You can book both doses wherever is going to be the most accessible to you, at the time of the appointment.

For example, you could book your first dose in Bath, and your second dose at your local vaccination centre in your hometown.

If your plans change, you can amend your vaccination booking through the National Booking Service at any time. Please note that if you need to change either dose appointment, you need to cancel that appointment first.

If I have my first dose while I’m in my hometown and then I move to university accommodation, where will I have my second dose?

When you are invited to book your vaccination, you will do so through the National Booking Service. The system will prompt you to book both your first and second doses at the same time. However, you do not need to book them in the same area. You can book both doses wherever is going to be the most accessible to you, at the time of the appointment.

For example, you could book your first dose at your local vaccination centre in your hometown, and your second dose in Bath.

If your plans change, you can amend your vaccination booking through the National Booking Service at any time. Please note that if you need to change either dose appointment, you need to cancel that appointment first.

I’m an international student. Will I be able to get the vaccine in the UK?

International students who are registered with a GP in the UK will be invited for a Covid-19 vaccination in the same way as everyone else.

This includes older international students or those with underlying medical conditions who fall into other priority categories.

Students not currently registered with a GP in the UK who would like to receive a vaccine here 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.

International students can book their vaccination appointments via the National Booking Service with their NHS number if they have previously received NHS treatment. You can also find an NHS number using this tool.

Will international students be prioritised for a vaccine if they have travel booked?

You will not be able to arrange a second dose for less than 8 weeks after your first. This is to ensure you receive maximum protection against coronavirus. Scheduled travel abroad is not considered to be an acceptable reason to seek your second dose before 8 weeks after your first.

Do international students need to pay for the vaccine?

Nobody in England has to pay for the COVID-19 vaccination. The COVID-19 vaccination is free of charge and does not count as the kind of care that requires payment. International students or anyone seeing requests for payment should report this activity to their university institution and to Action Fraud. More information on COVID-19 vaccine scams is on the Action Fraud website here.

What should an international student do if they’ve received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination abroad, and it is not a vaccine that is being offered in England?

If a person has received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine overseas that is also available in the UK, they should receive the same vaccine for their second dose. If the vaccine they received for their first dose is not available in the UK, the most similar alternative should be offered as per the advice here (see sections on vaccine interchangeability guidance). The student should contact a GP to ensure they receive an appropriate vaccine for their second dose

How can students obtain a COVID vaccine certificate?

People in England who have been fully vaccinated (two doses of any approved vaccine) against Covid-19 can demonstrate their vaccination status using the NHS App, which you can download from app stores 

It may take more than a week for your identity to be checked and verified so you can use this service.

If you cannot access this online service, and you have had both vaccine doses, you can request a paper letter from the NHS by calling 119. Only call 119 if you are due to travel abroad in the near future and had your second dose more than five working days ago. It may take seven working days for the letter to arrive.

When you're planning your travel, check the latest information on demonstrating your Covid-19 status when travelling abroad on the gov.uk website.

Make sure there is time to get proof of your vaccination status before you leave.

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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