COVID-19 Vaccination Programme
Updated 7 April 2022
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JVCI) has advised that children aged 5 - 11 be offered the COVID-19 vaccine, which has been approved by the UK’s medicines regulator, to boost immunity and increase their protection against any future waves of COVID-19. The NHS wants to support families to make an informed choice, and to make things convenient and child-friendly for those who do decide to get the vaccination. There is more information for Oxfordshire parents and guardians on our website.
The COVID-19 vaccine is already making a big difference to help protect us all. The vaccine does not remove the virus, but research and experience in countries around the world shows it can prevent the worst effects of COVID-19 and reduce the risk of infection to children and those around them.
The NHS has given more than 141 million doses of the vaccine in England, including more than 38 million booster and third doses. More than four in five eligible adults have received their booster dose, and around nine out of 10 of eligible people aged 40 and over.
In February, the JCVI advised a Spring dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for:
- adults aged 75 years and over
- residents in care homes for older adults
- individuals aged 12 years and over who have a weakened immune system.
The NHS is contacting hose who are eligible to make a spring booster appointment and giving priority to those whose clinical need is greatest, as it has throughout, starting with those who have had a bigger gap since their last dose, then working through the cohort to invite others who have waited less time. Everyone who is eligible will be offered a top up between three and six months over the Spring and early Summer.
Evergreen primary and booster offer
At the same time, the NHS continues to encourage those who have yet to come forward for their first, second or booster dose, to do so at a time and place that is convenient for them. COVID-19 is still very active, and the vaccine offers the best protection against becoming seriously unwell, staying out of hospital and passing the virus on to others. You can find details of all Oxfordshire walk-in vaccinations clinics here and other options at www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine or by calling 119 free of charge (translators are available on request).
Those who have recently recovered from COVID or have had a positive COVID test should still come forward for their vaccination, as having had the virus does not give the same levels of protection. But please note you will need to wait before getting any dose of the vaccine depending on age and circumstances. Please check on the NHS website.
Vaccination figures are updated daily on the NHS England website and there is also a site finder for vaccine walk-in centres across England which is updated regularly and shows which doses are offered at each location and to which age groups.
GP practices are very busy at the moment and are not routinely arranging COVID-19 vaccine appointments via their switchboard. Please do not contact your GP surgery about vaccinations unless you have been specifically asked to.
Please check the Oxford Health NHS FT web page for information for parents and young people about the COVID-19 vaccination.
Who is eligible for the COVID-19 booster?
In line with guidance set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JVCI), the NHS vaccination programme is now inviting eligible people, who had their second COVID jab at least three months ago, for a top up.
- those living in residential care homes for older adults
- anyone aged 16 years or over
- frontline health and social care workers
- all those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19, and adult carers
- adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals
This advice is separate from JCVI advice on a third primary dose for people who are severely immunosuppressed. The JCVI will review whether this group requires a further booster at a later date, following completion of their three dose primary course.
The booster vaccine will be offered at least six months (182 days) after a second vaccination and the NHS will contact people directly to let them know when it is their turn to get their booster vaccine.
What vaccine will the COVID-19 booster be?
People will be offered either a booster dose of Pfizer or Moderna, following scientific evidence showing that both provide a strong booster response. This will be regardless of which vaccine the individual previously had.
Where neither can be offered, for example for those who have an allergy to either vaccine, the JCVI advise that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine can be used for those who received this vaccine for their first and second doses.
COVID Vaccination Record Queries
If you believe you have missing or incorrect COVID-19 vaccination data on your NHS app or on your GP record, call 119 and ask the agent to make a referral to the Vaccine Data Resolution Service (VDRS). The service has been set up to resolve missing or incorrect vaccination records for people vaccinated in England who have a current NHS number and are registered with a GP practice in England.
The VDRS team will call you back within five working days to discuss your records.
However, please note 119 and VDRS call agents do not provide clinical advice and cannot help at this time with queries related to vaccinations received overseas. If your query is about personal information which is incorrect on the patient record (e.g. name, address), this will still need to be resolved by your GP practice.
Vaccines approved to date for use in the UK:
- Pfizer/BioNTech (Germany) vaccine: approved 2 December 2020
- Oxford University and AstraZeneca (UK) vaccine: approved 30 December 2020
- Moderna vaccine (US): approved 8 January 2021
- Janssen (US): approved 28 May 2021
The vaccines are allocated nationally and local centres do not have any influence over which they receive. In Oxfordshire, we have been allocated Pfizer and AstraZeneca.
Use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine
There have been reports of an extremely rare condition involving the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots.
As a precautionary measure, the JCVI has advised that it is preferable for adults aged aged 39 and under, who don’t have underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease, to be offered an alternative vaccine when it is their turn to be vaccinated.
For those in this age group who have had already their first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and had no adverse reactions, they should still come forward for their second dose when invited.
For further information go to GOV.UK website
Reasons To Get Vaccinated
Getting vaccinated is your best defence against the virus and will help protect you, your family and those you care for.
It’s not just about protecting you. Some people have conditions preventing them from developing an effective immune response to vaccination, which makes them highly vulnerable to COVID-19.
We do not know the extent to which the COVID-19 vaccines will prevent individuals from being able to transmit the virus. However, since they protect individuals from disease, we can be reasonably sure they reduce the likelihood of disease transmission.
The COVID-19 vaccine is helping to reduce the rates of serious illness and save lives, it will therefore reduce pressure on the NHS and social care services.
Why Get Vaccinated? – Arun Joseph & Sandy Hayes
The vaccines approved for use in the UK have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Any 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.
Millions of people have now been given a COVID-19 vaccine and reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions, have been very rare. No long-term complications have been reported. The vaccine cannot give you coronavirus.
If you would like to hear more about common questions around the COVID-19 vaccine and its safety, then watch the 'Facts about COVID Vaccines Webinar' below, run by Imam Monawar Hussein from Oxford University Hospitals.
Facts about COVID vaccines - Webinar
Frequently Asked Questions About the COVID-19 Vaccine
How do you receive the vaccine?
- The vaccine is given as an injection into your upper arm.
- While the injection can be given very quickly, patients receiving the Pfizer vaccine must wait on site for 15 minutes afterwards to check they do not experience a severe reaction.
- Patients are also urged not to arrive too early, to avoid queuing outside for too long.
Are there any known or anticipated side effects?
- Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short-term, and not everyone gets them. Even if you do have symptoms after the first dose, you still need to have the second dose. You may not be protected until at least seven days after your second dose of the vaccine.
- Common side effects include:
- Having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection. This tends to be worst around 1-2 days after the vaccine
- Feeling tired
- General aches, or mild flu like symptoms
Do the vaccines contain animal products?
No, none in any of the vaccines approved contain any components of animal origin.
I’m currently ill with COVID-19, can I get the vaccine?
People currently unwell and experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine until they have recovered.
Do people who have already had COVID-19 get vaccinated?
Yes, they should get vaccinated. There is no evidence of any safety concerns from vaccinating individuals with a past history of COVID-19 infection, or with detectable COVID-19 antibody.
I have had my flu vaccine, do I need the COVID-19 vaccine as well?
The flu vaccine does not protect you from COVID-19. As you are eligible for both vaccines you should have them both, but separated by at least seven days.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine protect me from flu?
No, the COVID-19 vaccine will not protect you against the flu. If you have been offered a flu vaccine, please try to have this as soon as possible to help protect you, your family and patients from flu this winter.
Should I still go to my vaccination appointment in lockdown?
Leaving the house for medical reasons, including a COVID-19 vaccination appointment, is allowed. So if you are contacted by the NHS to book a vaccination appointment, it’s crucial that you attend. Each service is carefully planned with strict safety measures in place.
If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to get pregnant
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, think you may be pregnant, or are planning to have a baby, tell your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. Pregnant women are now advised to have the vaccine. It's preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine as they've been more widely used during pregnancy in other countries and no safety concerns have been identified. Your doctor, pharmacist or nurse will discuss with you when you can be given the vaccine. Please watch the short video below for more information.
Will the vaccine effect my fertility?
There is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines will affect fertility. Claims of any effect of COVID-19 vaccination on fertility are speculative and not supported by any data. There is no biologically plausible mechanism by which current vaccines would cause any impact to fertility. Please watch the short video below for further information.
Once you’ve had your vaccine:
Please remember that you must still stick to the social distancing and hands, face space rules as this will go a long way to preventing the spread of the virus.
Patient information is available on the GOV.uk website:
- Information for eligible adults on COVID-19 vaccination see here
- Information for people who have had their first COVID-19 vaccination see here
- Information about COVID-19 eligibility and vaccine supplies - 'why are you being asked to wait?' see here
- Help and advice for women of childbearing age who are currently pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding see here
- Link to ICS level vax data stats see here
- Public Health England - Vaccination Guide - what to expect see here
- COVID-19 vaccination: guide for healthcare workers
- COVID-19 vaccination: guide for older adults
- COVID-19 vaccination: what to expect after vaccination
- COVID-19 vaccination: a guide for social care staff
- COVID-19 vaccination: why you are being asked to wait
Useful Translated Videos
- Why Get Vaccinated? – Arun Joseph (Tamil)
Extra leaflets can be ordered from the Publications line at: https://healthpublications.gov.uk/