Vaccination – your questions answered

Getting vaccinated

How do we know if the vaccine has worked, is there a test afterwards?

There are no tests that people can take after vaccination to indicate its effectiveness. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is reported to be up to 95% effective in preventing severe Covid-19 infection. The Moderna vaccine is reported to be 94.1% effective, and the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is reported to be 70% effective. These are all extremely high for vaccinations, and all have been shown to drastically reduce severe illness and death.

What happens if someone refuses the second jab?

The vaccine is delivered in two doses, so it would not be as effective, and protection may not last as long, if someone only has one dose.

Is having the vaccine mandatory?

The vaccine is not mandatory for domiciliary care workers. Following a recent six-week consultation care home providers, caring for older adults,  must only deploy workers who have received their COVID-19 vaccination. A similar consultation on whether to extend this requirement to all health and social care workers is expected in the near future.

Will GPs make sure everyone is suitable for the vaccine, for example, the people giving the vaccine might not have their medical records?

There are very few medical reasons which would make someone unsuitable for the vaccine. If there is any concern about an individual staff member’s suitability consult their GP.

The MHRA guidance is that anyone with a previous history of allergic reactions to the ingredients of the vaccine should not receive it, but those with any other allergies such as a food allergy can now have the vaccine. As a precaution, the MHRA has stated that administration of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca in people of any age who are at higher risk of blood clots because of certain medical conditions should be considered only if benefits from the protection from COVID-19 infection outweigh potential risks.

How is the vaccine given?

Will agency staff get the vaccine?

Yes, agency staff are included as social care workers. Please do include agency staff in your local vaccine discussions.

Will district nurses be able to deliver the vaccine?

There will be local decisions made on workforce (who is giving the vaccine). This could include district nurses. People giving the vaccine will have the training that they need.

Will pharmacists be delivering the vaccine?

Yes, pharmacists are delivering the vaccine in their community pharmacies, and many have also been involved with the local vaccination sites run by GPs. Domiciliary care staff can drop into a local pharmacy (with their staff ID) and can be vaccinated without an appointment.

Will staff delivering the vaccine have anaphylaxis training?

The staff administering the vaccine will have had anaphylaxis training.

Will staff delivering the vaccine have epi pens?

The staff delivering the vaccine will have any emergency drugs necessary.

Vaccine Passports

Are people going to get vaccine passports so they can go to busy indoor locations such as night clubs or access sporting events and travel abroad?

Demonstrating your COVID-19 vaccination status allows you to show others that you’ve had a full course of the COVID-19 vaccine when travelling abroad to some countries or territories. A full course is currently two doses of any approved vaccine. COVID-19 vaccination status is available to people who live in England, and will be available in digital or paper format. The service went live on 17 May.

What you can use it for?

You may be able to show your COVID-19 vaccination status as proof of your status when travelling abroad. There are not many countries that currently accept proof of vaccination. So for the time being most people will still need to follow other rules when travelling abroad – like getting a negative pre-departure test.

Night Clubs and other large indoor venues? The Government recently announced that from end of September Nightclubs and other large venues will be legally required to ensure customers are fully vaccinated as a condition of entry.

Do not contact your GP surgery about your COVID-19 vaccination status. GPs cannot provide letters showing your COVID-19 vaccination status.

More questions and answers

Can people with allergies have the vaccine?

The MHRA has released updated guidance stating that anyone with a previous history of allergic reactions to the ingredients of the vaccine should not receive it, but those with any other allergies such as a food allergy can have the vaccine. You can find more information here.

Does the vaccine contain animal products or blood product?

The Pfizer/Biotech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines do not contain any:

  • Meat derivatives, porcine or squalene (from sharks) products
  • Blood products

If, and when, further vaccines are approved we will publish information about known allergens or ingredients that are important for certain faiths, cultures and beliefs.

The flu vaccine is also available as a nasal spray – Will it be possible to have the COVID-19 vaccine as a nasal spray as well?

The COVID-19 vaccine is delivered by an injection.

Do we need to have the vaccine if we have already had COVID-19 and if we have antibodies?

Yes, we would recommend still getting the vaccine. The vaccine may offer longer protection then natural protection.

Will there be more antibody tests considered for people who already have antibodies, to find out when they will need the vaccine?

We are not aware of any further plans for antibody tests. We would recommend getting the vaccine whether or not someone has antibodies, as the vaccine may offer longer protection.

How long will the vaccine last for, will we need another one in a year?

The UK is constantly monitoring the need or timing of booster doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, and is now looking to roll out a Covid-19 booster vaccine at the beginning of autumn in order to protect the most vulnerable ahead of winter. We will provide more information when available.

What is an acceptable level of compliance for the vaccine to be successful?

Experts on the social care working group of SAGE advise 80% of staff and 90% of clients need to be vaccinated to provide a minimum level of protection against outbreaks of COVID-19.

From what age can people be vaccinated?

The MHRA have recently approved the Pfizer vaccination for children over the age of 12. We are awaiting further guidance on the roll-out to this cohort.

Can people have the vaccine if they currently have COVID-19?

Provisional guidance from Public Health England says that vaccination should be delayed in those with confirmed infection to avoid confusing any symptoms. They recommend the vaccination should be delayed until the person has recovered, and at least four weeks after symptoms or a positive test.

How long do you have to wait between the flu jab and COVID vaccine?

Provisional guidance from Public Health England recommends that there should be at least seven days between another vaccine and the COVID vaccine, although this is under review.

Is the vaccine a one-off dose?

The Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines all require two doses.


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