Questions (and Answers) Of The Week

Is the vaccine safe for children and young people, those aged 16-17?

Any Covid-19 vaccine that is approved for use in the UK, must meet strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) have advised that all 16 and 17 year olds should receive their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

The vaccination can cause some side effects, but not everyone gets them. Typically side effects for individuals aged 12 to 17 years are injection site pain, fever and headache. These reactions are generally mild and short-lived, typically lasting 1-2 days.

Extremely rare side effects, which usually occur within a few days of the second dose include; myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the membrane around the heart).

Can 16 to 17-year-olds have a vaccination without  parental consent?

Any 16 and 17-year-olds considering taking the Covid-19 vaccine will not need parental consent to do so. Current UK guidance states that at 16 years of age a young person is presumed in law to have the capacity to consent, so young people aged 16 or 17 years should consent to their own medical treatment.

Do we need proof of ID/age to receive a vaccination? What can we use as proof of ID?

At some vaccination clinics you might be asked to provide proof of age, particularly if a vaccination clinic is only vaccinating a specific age group.

Please take along a record of your NHS number. Staff at the vaccination clinic will use this to pull up your record and confirm your age.

If you don’t have your NHS number to hand, you can bring along a proof of identification. For example:

  • Passport
  • Driving licence/Provisional licence
  • PASS card from the national Proof of Age Standards Scheme

Is the vaccine safe for pregnant women?

The JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) have advised that all pregnant women should be offered the Covid-19 vaccine at the same time as the rest of the population.

The JCVI also advise that it is preferable for the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna mRNA vaccines to be offered to pregnant women in the UK, where available. COVID-19 vaccines available in the UK, do not contain live coronavirus or any ingredients that are known to be harmful to pregnant women or to developing babies.

The vaccine is considered to be safe and effective at any stage of pregnancy. Women may wish to discuss having the vaccine with their healthcare professional and reach a joint decision based on individual circumstances.

If you have had coronavirus, do you still need the vaccine?

If you have had Covid-19 then your body may have built up some natural immunity to the virus, however we don’t know how long this immunity lasts or if it fully protects you from catching Covid-19 again. It is likely that natural immunity won’t last as long as the immunity given to you by a vaccine. So, it is still very important to take up the offer of a Covid-19 vaccine when it becomes available to you.

When can I get my second dose of the vaccine?

If you are over 18, you’ll need to book a second dose for 8 to 12 weeks after your first dose.

  • If you book online, you’ll be asked to book appointments for both doses. You can manage your Covid-19 vaccination appointments, rebooking if you need to: |
  • If you have your first dose at a walk-in vaccination site, you can [book your second COVID-19 vaccination appointment online: www.nhs.ukbook-coronavirus-vaccination. You’ll need to wait 24 hours after your first dose before you can book.
  • If you have your first dose through your GP surgery, you’ll be contacted when it’s time to book your second dose.