COVID vaccinations: questions and answers
Who should I contact to arrange a vaccination?
You don’t have to do anything. You will be contacted by the NHS and invited for a vaccine when the time comes. No-one will be left out. The invitation may be from your local GP surgery or a mass vaccination centre. You may receive an invitation from both – chose which is best for you. The nearest vaccination centre in our region is at York Askham Bar, Park and Ride. If you receive an invitation to Askham Bar you can choose to book an appointment there or, if this is not possible, you can wait to be invited to an appointment by your GP.
When will I get vaccinated?
There is a priority list setting out which people will be invited for a vaccination in which order. The initial priority groups to receive the vaccine (cohorts 1 to 4) are:
- residents in care homes, and their carers
- people over 80 and frontline health and social care workers
- people 75 and over
- people 70 and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
You can learn more about who may be clinically extremely vulnerable here.
The priority list for vaccinations has been developed and is kept under review by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
Revised January guidance for vaccinators provides that where there is vaccine supply and deployment capacity, flexibility allows a pragmatic operational approach that enables opportunistic vaccination within cohorts 1-4, such as vaccinating partners of similar age from cohorts 3 & 4 who attend together, or those living in multigenerational households where the 1-4 cohort criteria applies. In applying this approach decisions will be clinically lead, prioritise those cohorts identified most at risk (as set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations) and take into account vaccination supply.
Do I need a second dose of the vaccine?
Yes. It is important that you receive the second dose of the vaccine when invited. This ‘booster’ is an important part of the vaccination process and is common with many vaccines. The timing of second doses will be in line with the standard operating procedure for each vaccine, normally around 12 weeks after your first dose. We will arrange your second dose with you, there is no need to call your GP to arrange.
How soon after my vaccination will I be protected?
You will have increased protection from serious illness caused by the Covid-19 between two and three weeks after your first dose of the vaccination. However it is important everyone, including those who have received a vaccination, continues to comply with government guidance, including social distancing, face coverings and hand washing guidance even after they have received a jab.
Where will I get vaccinated?
There are three types of vaccination sites operating at the moment: local vaccination centres which are run by GP practices through their primary care networks, hospital hubs which are currently focusing on health and care staff, and mass vaccination centres.
The nearest mass vaccination centre is at Askham Bar near York.
As of 3 February 2021, there are currently 13 local vaccination sites across North Yorkshire and York:-
- The Forum, Northallerton
- Tennants Auction House, Leyburn
- The Pavillions, Harrogate
- Whitby Pavillion
- Scarborough Rugby Club
- Filey Surgery
- Derwent Practice, Malton
- Pickering Medical Practice
- Posterngate Surgery, Selby
- Tadcaster Health Centre
- Haxby Health Centre
- Nimbuscare Mass Vaccination Hub, Askham Bar
- Ripon Racecourse
The hospital hubs vaccinating in North Yorkshire and York are:-
- Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust
- York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (York and Scarborough)
We also expect additional locations will be developed. Your vaccination site will be clearly indicated when you receive your invitation from the NHS for your vaccination appointment.
Is help to travel available to attend my vaccination appointment?
People should access their vaccination appointment in the same way they would access any other medical appointment using existing services. In addition, if needed, there may be volunteer drivers available, charities are offering their support and patients who meet the criteria for patient transport for medical appointments may also be able to use that service.
I am housebound; can I be vaccinated at home?
We strongly encourage everyone who can to attend a vaccination site when invited. We are working through the best ways to bring the vaccine to those who are unable to leave their home as a healthcare system. How this will best be achieved is shaped by the characteristics of the vaccines available.
About the vaccine
Is the vaccine safe?
Each of the three vaccines now approved has undergone rigorous assessment by the UK regulators (the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency). In subsequent research, it has found the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines currently in widespread use are extremely safe, with some mild expected side effects.
What vaccines are available and how are they different?
Three vaccines have now been approved in the UK: Pfizer-BioNTech, Oxford AstraZeneca, and Moderna. Currently the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines are being administered with doses of the Moderna vaccine expected in Spring. These vaccines have unique characteristics which influence when and how they are administered; for instance the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine must be kept at much lower temperatures than the others.
Can I choose what vaccine I receive?
No. The vaccine administered at each appointment will be influenced by the national distribution pattern, the facilities at each vaccination site and the supply currently available. If it is your second dose it will be the same vaccine as the first.
Are the vaccination sites safe?
Each vaccination site has been carefully selected against a set of comprehensive criteria which ensure that social distancing can be maintained the site is easy to access and the one way systems can be maintained where needed. We have only selected sites where we are able to comply with government guidance to ensure that each vaccination is administered safely.
Coronavirus vaccines explained in five South Asian languages
For more information in English, check out this explainer.
Coronavirus vaccine Q&A in five South Asian languages
There have been some concerns and reluctance about taking the vaccine among ethnic minorities. Research from the Royal Society for Public Health suggests that 76% of the UK public would take the vaccine if advised to do so, but that number fell to 57% amongst black, Asian and people from minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds.
Asians were the least likely to say yes, with vaccine confidence falling to 55%. The BBC's Asian Network asked listeners to send in their questions about the vaccine to have them answered by experts. Listeners' concerns ranged from the vaccine's long-term effects to whether the ingredients are halal or vegetarian-friendly.
Vaccine conspiracies debunked in South Asian languages
The South Asian community has one of the highest levels of vaccine hesitancy in the UK, surveys suggest.
More than 40% of Pakistani and Bangladeshi people say they are unlikely to get the jab, while more than 20% of Indian people do not want to be vaccinated, according to a document from the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).
Some doctors believe fake news could be causing some people to reject the Covid vaccine. Some of these myths include claims the vaccine contains animal products and is not halal, or that it causes infertility.
Another is false information around the scale of the pandemic, with claims that hospitals are empty, when in fact many are overwhelmed.
Coronavirus vaccination scams
As coronavirus vaccines are being rolled out across the UK, fraudsters are using this as an opportunity to scam people. The NHS is warning everyone to be vigilant about fake vaccination invitations.
These scam emails, calls or texts often ask for personal and financial information, but the vaccine is free and the NHS would never ask for bank details. The National Cyber Security Centre and Action Fraud have asked anyone who receives a suspicious email or text to report it.