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Covid vaccine - FAQs

Last updated: 13 January 2021 12.19

What is the latest news on the vaccine?

We have compiled the latest details about the COVID-19 vaccine to answer your most common queries.

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When will we be able to have the vaccine?

With the roll-out of vaccines now firmly underway, there are many questions around who will be prioritised and when. In December the vaccination programme started, with those considered most at risk being contacted first including those aged over 80, those living in care homes, and frontline health and social care staff. 

Where do I stand?

The JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) has included unpaid carers on the vaccination priority list (UK wide) group 6. Many carers will be in a group higher up the list due to age if they are over 65. You can find the list of groups here. You may also be interested in reading our latest press release.

In Scotland, this letter from the Chief Medical Officer also provides a recent update. The roll-out programme for each nation will be different and we will look to provide more specific guidance as it is released. For now, please see 'What are the details of the vaccination programme where I live?'

By autumn, it is hoped that everyone will have been offered the opportunity to receive the vaccine.

As supplies will be limited initially, elderly people who are already attending hospital as an outpatient, as well as those who are being discharged after a hospital stay, will be among the first to receive the jab. Those aged 80 and older will also be invited to hospital to receive the injection, whilst care home providers will be asked to book their staff into vaccination clinics.

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What can I do as a carer?

Register as a carer

We would encourage you to visit the website of your GP initially to register as a carer, as many have a simple form enabling you to do so. Given the current circumstances, your GP surgery is likely to be very busy, so it may be necessary to be very patient if contacting them directly to register if it is not possible to do so online. GPs can record if someone is a carer on their patient record. Find out more here.

Seek the information you need

If you have any questions about the vaccine, it may be helpful to look at reputable sources such as the NHS and sites and make a few notes in advance of your appointment so that you can gain clarity in advance. You may wish to provide extra reassurance to the person you care for about the protection the vaccine will offer them, using positive language to frame the experience of having one. 

Watch out for scams

A false NHS text message has been circulating requesting that you click on a link to apply for a vaccine. It then takes you through to a false NHS website platform requesting more information. For further details on how to spot this, see this helpful link from Which: We would also urge you to spread the word among friends and family.

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Will I need to pay and how will I be notified?

You will not need to pay for the vaccine. It will be rolled out through the NHS and you will be notified about the process of getting one. It is advisable to be wary of any schemes suggesting that paying is necessary which are likely to be scams.

When it's your turn, you will be contacted by the NHS. You may be contacted by your GP practice by phone, email or text so it's a good idea to keep checking all your channels.

You may be asked to go:
- to hospital
- to a vaccination centre
- or special arrangements will be made if you are unable to travel.

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Will the Covid vaccine be safe?

The vaccines cannot be approved by the UK regulator (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency - MHRA) until they have been rigorously tested to meet the highest safety standards. Therefore, at this stage of public roll out, we can be assured that they have met these standards.

The UK Government has indicated that there will be enough vaccines for everyone in the UK, but this will take time. Limited amounts will only be available to start with and the roll-out programme will be gradual, prioritising those who are deemed most vulnerable.

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How will this work alongside the flu vaccine? Will we need to leave a gap?

The current recommendation is that there should be a gap of at least seven days in between the vaccines according to the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation).

You will be contacted directly when it is possible for you, or those you care for, to receive the vaccine and it is important to discuss any concerns you might have with a medical professional.

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Where do private carers (paid care workers), who are employed via a direct payment, sit within the priority list?

Personal Assistants or private carers are covered in the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) list under priority 2 – you can find out more here.

Local authorities should be communicating with direct payment (or personal budget) employers and assisting with information as well as covering costs to enable that worker to attend an appointment.

If you have a private carer and would like more information, we would suggest you contact your direct payment lead at the local authority for guidance.  

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What are the details of the vaccination programme where I live?

The roll-out of the programme may differ slightly across the nations. You can read the information specific to where you are based here:

England      Scotland     Wales     Northern Ireland

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Will I lose my appointment if I can't reach a vaccination centre?

A number of new vaccination centres have recently opened to assist with the roll-out of the vaccines. Some people are concerned that they cannot travel easily and worry they may miss out.

If you are unable to travel to a vaccination centre – for example if you are assisting someone you care for who is too vulnerable – we would suggest that you contact your local GP to explain your circumstances and ask what alternative arrangements can be set up for you. You should not lose your priority position because of this and you/ the person you care for will still be able to receive the vaccine.

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