Everything you want to know about the Covid vaccination (Picture: Getty)
Your turn to receive an invitation for the Covid vaccine is getting closer.
Maybe your grandparents have already had it, or even your parents. And with more high street roll outs of vaccinations imminent, it could be time for your jab sooner than you think.
Boots will start delivering Covid vaccinations in a further seven stores across England as of today.
The pharmacies in Liverpool, Bristol, Taunton, Southport, Southampton, Chester and Chatham are currently administering the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, operating from specially designed facilities in store.
To help customers to feel more reassured, pharmacists have revealed the most commonly asked questions that they have been asked by those that have already had their vaccine.
From how best to prepare for the vaccine, to potential side-effects, Boots Chief Pharmacist Marc Donovan is here to help:
Is the vaccination just as effective for those from a BAME background?
‘We know that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities are disproportionately affected by Covid-19, with this group at greater risk of becoming very sick from the virus,’ says Marc.
‘It is important that those from a BAME background take up the opportunity to receive the vaccine when it’s offered.
‘There is no evidence that it is any less effective at protecting them from Covid-19 compared to people from other backgrounds.’
Is the vaccine safe and are there any long-term effects of the vaccine?
Marc says that some people may experience side-effects after getting the Covid-19 vaccine.
‘These are usually mild and common ones include tenderness, swelling and/or redness in your arm, headaches and tiredness,’ he explains.
‘Despite the speed at which the vaccine has been developed and made available to the public, it has still been through thorough checks by the regulators to make sure it is safe, with no long-term complications reported from trials.
‘It is critical in the fight against Covid-19 and I encourage everyone to take up the opportunity of the vaccination.’
Why do I need to get both doses of Covid-19 vaccinations?
The fact that you have to get two jabs for an effective Covid vaccine seems quite confusing – but Marc says there’s a simple reason for it.
‘You won’t receive the maximum protection against Covid-19 unless you receive both doses, so it is really important to have your second vaccination,’ he says.
‘The first dose helps the body begin to build immunity against the virus (SARS-CoV-2) and it can take a week or two for your body to build up some protection from the first vaccine.
‘The second dose further boosts the immune response to ensure longer term protection.
‘No vaccine is 100% effective, but it will help reduce hospital admissions and ease the pressure on the NHS.’
Do I need to keep wearing a mask and social distancing after I’ve received my vaccination?
‘Yes, you need to continue to follow the latest government guidance on social distancing and wearing a mask where required,’ says Marc.
‘Not enough information is currently available to say when we can stop taking these precautions, as scientists need to understand more about the protection that the Covid-19 vaccines provide and how it affects transmission before making a decision.
‘Even if you have had your second vaccination, no vaccine is 100% effective and it is important to continue to protect those around you too.’
If I’ve had Covid, do I still need the vaccination, as I may have antibodies still?
Marc says that due to the health risks associated with Covid-19 and the fact that reinfection is possible, you should still have the vaccine – even if you have previously tested positive.
‘But,’ he adds, ‘you’ll need to leave a gap between your positive test and getting the vaccine.
‘Experts do not know how long someone is protected for after recovering from Covid-19, as immunity varies from person to person.
‘Early evidence suggests natural immunity from Covid-19 may not last very long, and the vaccination should provide longer immunity, but more studies are needed to better understand this, and they are currently underway.’
Will the Covid-19 vaccine give me coronavirus?
‘No, the vaccine will not give you Covid-19,’ says Marc.
‘Any similar symptoms you experience following the jab are likely to be the result of mild side-effects from the vaccine.’
Can I still get the Covid-19 vaccine if I’m pregnant?
‘At the moment there is no indication that the vaccine could cause harm to pregnancy, but as the vaccine is still in the early stages of the roll-out there is insufficient data to recommend routine Covid-19 vaccines during pregnancy,’ says Marc.
‘If you are pregnant and fall within the “clinically vulnerable” category as outlined by the NHS, then you should speak to your GP about the risks and benefits of having the vaccine.
‘Your GP will support you with making a decision that is right for you and your baby.’
How can I prepare for my vaccine appointment?
‘On the day of your vaccine, wear practical clothing so that it’s easy to access your upper arm and remember to wear a face covering while travelling to, from and during your appointment,’ suggests Marc.
‘If you feel nervous about the jab, try to stay calm – it will take a few minutes and the person carrying out the vaccination will be able to support you and answer any questions.’
When it’s time for your jab, you will be invited directly by the NHS to book your Covid-19 vaccination appointment.
And now, you’ll be as informed as possible before that day comes.
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