COVID-19 vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective. It gives you the best protection against coronavirus.

View up to date vaccine information on the NHS website. You can also find information about the Wandsworth COVID-19 vaccination programme via South West London CCG.

Vaccine information and questions

Who can get the COVID-19 vaccine

The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people aged 12 and over.

You can book online for an appointment through the NHS if you are:

Age 12-15: Children aged 12 to 15 in England are being offered one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Healthy children will primarily receive their COVID-19 vaccination in their school with alternative provision for those who are home schooled, in secure services or specialist mental health settings. During the October half term the NHS is running local vaccination centres for 12-15 year olds so that they can book an appointment and come along with their parents if they wish

Age 16-17: People within three months of turning 18 can now book their vaccine appointment online through the National Booking system. For all other 16 and 17 year olds, please wait until you are invited to have your vaccine by your local GP, or visit your local walk-in vaccination centre.

Age 18+: If you are aged 18 or over and have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19, you can contact the NHS to arrange a jab. The easiest way to arrange a vaccination is through the national booking Anyone unable to book online can call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week. You can also visit a local local walk-in vaccination centre.

If a suitable and convenient slot is not available people can also call their GP practice.

Register with a GP

You will need to be registered with a GP surgery in England. You can register with a GP if you do not have one.

How can 16 and 17 year olds have the vaccine?

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that all 16 and 17 year olds should receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. People within three months of turning 18 can now book their vaccine appointment online through the National booking system. All other 16 and 17 year olds should wait until they are invited to have their vaccine by their local GP or attend a walk-in session.

How can 12 to 15 year olds have the vaccine?

People aged 12 to 15 in England will be offered one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, following advice from the 4 UK Chief Medical Officers (CMOs).

In line with the recommendation of the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the Government sought the views of the 4 UK CMOs on the wider issues that are relevant to the health of children.

The NHS is delivering a schools-based vaccination programme, which is the successful model used for vaccinations including for HPV and Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (DTP), supported by GPs and community pharmacies. Invitations for vaccination will begin shortly. We will update this website with further information when it is known.

Parental, guardian or carer consent will be sought by vaccination healthcare staff prior to vaccination in line with existing school vaccination programmes.

Healthy school-aged children aged 12 to 15 will primarily receive their COVID-19 vaccination in their school with alternative provision for those who are home schooled, in secure services or specialist mental health settings.

During the October half term the NHS is running local vaccination centres for 12-15 year olds so that they can book an appointment and come along with their parents if they wish

What about the booster vaccination?

The Government has announced an autumn booster programme is about to commence, with a single jab given at least six months after a person has had their second dose. Those eligible include; care home residents, health and social care workers, people aged over 50, those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19, adult carers, and adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals.

The NHS will let you know when it's your turn to have a booster dose. It's important not to contact the NHS for one before then. Find out more.

Is the vaccine safe?

Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines are now available. Both vaccines have been shown to be safe and offer high levels of protection and have been given regulatory approval by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Any coronavirus 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.

So far, thousands of people have been given a COVID-19 vaccine and no serious side effects or complications have been reported.

Find out more about regulatory approval of the vaccine.

Are there concerns about the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine?

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is safe, effective and has already saved thousands of lives. The MHRA (UK regulator) has undertaken a thorough review into UK reports of a very rare and unlikely to occur specific type of blood clot in the brain, following vaccination with the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. Up to and including 31 March 2021, the MHRA had received 79 UK reports of blood clotting cases alongside low levels of platelets following the use of the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca.

Following a review, the MHRA – the UK’s independent regulator and the JCVI have said the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks for the vast majority of adults.

Everybody who has already had a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine should receive a second dose of the same brand, irrespective of age, except for the very small number of people who experienced blood clots with low platelet counts from their first vaccination.

The Government has also sets out that, as a precaution, it is preferable for people under the age of 30 with no underlying health conditions to be offered an alternative vaccine where possible once they are eligible.

When people are called forward, they should get their jab. Vaccines are the best way out of this pandemic and provide strong protection against COVID-19.

I am worried about having my second dose of AstraZeneca

Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short-term, and not everyone gets them. It is important that you get your 2 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to give you the best protection. View further information from the NHS and Public Health England.

How effective are the vaccines? 

The MHRA have said these vaccines are highly effective, but to get full protection people need to come back for the second dose – this is really important.

To ensure as many people are vaccinated as quickly as possible, the Department for Health and Social Care now advise that the second dose of both the OxfordAstraZeneca and the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine should be scheduled up to 12 weeks apart.

Full protection kicks in around a week or two after that second dose, which is why it’s also important that when you do get invited, you act on that and get yourself booked in as soon as possible. Even those who have received a vaccine still need to follow social distancing and other guidance.

Will the vaccines work with the new strains? 

There is no evidence currently that the new strains will be resistant to the vaccines we have, so the NHS are continuing to vaccinate people as normal. Scientists are looking now in detail at the characteristics of the virus in relation to the vaccines. Viruses, such as the winter flu virus, often branch into different strains but these small variations rarely render vaccines ineffective.

Can I get tested for antibodies after vaccination?

The tests our local lab offers for COVID antibodies only show if a patient has had a previous infection. They do not confirm if a patient has developed antibodies following a vaccination.

Can I choose which vaccine I get? 

Any vaccines that the NHS provides has passed strict tests on their safety and effectiveness. However, the JCVI has advised that for adults under age 40 without underlying health conditions should receive an alternative to the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine – where available and only if this does not cause substantial delays in being vaccinated. 

Does the vaccine have any side effects?

These are important details which the MHRA always consider when assessing candidate vaccines for use. For these vaccines, like lots of others, they have identified that some people might feel slightly unwell, but they report that no significant side effects have been observed in the tens of thousands of people involved in trials.

All patients will be provided with information on the vaccine they have received, how to look out for any side effects, and what to do if they do occur, including reporting them to the MHRA. Find out more about the side effects.

Does the vaccine include any parts from foetal or animal origin?

There is no material of foetal or animal origin in either vaccine. All ingredients are published in healthcare information on the MHRA’s website.

Do I need to have the vaccine if I have already had COVID-19?

Yes. Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection with COVID-19 is possible, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19 infection.

Do I have to follow the COVID-19 public health guidance, if I have received the vaccine?  

Yes. The vaccine remains one of the main ways the country will reduce the impact of the virus on people’s health and on our healthcare services. Experts know the vaccine reduces the chance of people suffering from COVID-19, and while they do not yet know if it will stop people catching or passing on the virus, they expect it will reduce this risk. 

Therefore, there is a small chance you might still get or spread coronavirus even if you have had the vaccine. Therefore, those who have been vaccinated must follow the same public health guidance of hands, face, space, and limiting social mixing as they did before. This includes getting tested if you display COVID-19 symptoms.

Do I still need to self-isolate if I have had the COVID-19 vaccine?

From Monday 16 August, people who are double jabbed (with the COVID-19 vaccination) or aged under 18 will no longer be legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case. Instead, if they have been identified as close contacts by NHS Test and Trace, they will be advised to take a PCR test as soon as possible to check if they have the virus and for variants of concern.

As double jabbed people identified as close contacts are still at risk of being infected, people are advised to consider other precautions such as wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces, and limit contact with other people, especially with anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable.

Anyone who tests positive following the PCR test will still be legally required to self-isolate, irrespective of their vaccination status or age in order to break onwards chains of transmission.

How can I get my COVID vaccination status for travel?

If you’re planning to travel abroad, you can get proof that you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 via the NHS appNHS website, or by calling 119. Please do not contact your GP about your vaccination status as GPs cannot provide letters showing your vaccine record. 

Some countries may also require a negative COVID-19 test result. Always check the entry requirements for the country you are visiting before you book your travel. Step-by-step travel advice can be found on GOV.UK.

What is the advice if you are of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding?

If you are pregnant, you should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine when you are eligible for it. It's preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine because they have been more widely used during pregnancy in other countries and have not caused any safety issues. You can also have the COVID-19 vaccine if you are breastfeeding. Speak to a healthcare professional before you have the vaccination. They will discuss the benefits and risks with you. There's no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine has any effect on your chances of becoming pregnant. There's no need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination. The vaccine cannot give you or your baby COVID-19.

Read the latest COVID-19 vaccine advice if you are pregnant, may get pregnant or are breastfeeding on GOV.UK

Read the latest Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Royal College of Midwives statement on the COVID-19 vaccine and fertility

Can Muslims have the vaccine under Islamic law?

Yes, after discussion with experts, the British Islamic Medical Association encourages individuals to take the COVID vaccine as advised by their medical practitioner.

Could the vaccine be less effective for Black people and other minority groups?

No, there is not any evidence that either of the vaccines will work differently among different ethnic groups. Around 10% of the Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine trial participants were Black or African.

Video: COVID-19 Vaccination Information Event

Other information about the vaccine

Vaccine information in easy-read format

Vaccine information in other languages