MORE than three million doses of protective Covid vaccine have been given to defend the UK’s most vulnerable.
“Jab by jab, we will win this fight against Covid,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson has declared.
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Protective coronavirus inoculations are being delivered across the UKCredit: Reuters
Can I pass on Covid to anyone after having the vaccine?
It’s still unclear whether those who have a good level of protection against coronavirus are able to spread it to loved ones.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “What we don’t yet know – and are following very closely – is how much you might transmit Covid even if you don’t suffer from the disease, after you’ve had the vaccine.
“It’s something we’re monitoring and testing people for after they’ve had the vaccine.”
However, you can’t get coronavirus from the jabs.
The vaccines would not have been approved for use in the UK if they could give you the disease they are supposed to protect you from.
The Pfizer/BioNTech jab does not contain any live virus, and nor does the Moderna vaccine.
The Oxford jab contains a harmless form of a different virus, which has been altered so it cannot cause an illness.
Millions of Brits will eventually be inoculated by summer 2021
Not only does the vaccine not infect you with coronavirus, two doses “will reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill,” says the government.
It adds that “we do not yet know whether it will stop you from catching and passing on the virus.
“It may take a week or two for your body to build up some protection from the first dose of vaccine.
“Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective – some people may still get Covid despite having a vaccination, but this should be less severe.”
Although you cannot get coronavirus from the jab, it is possible to have caught Covid prior to inoculation, and not realise you have the symptoms until after your vaccination, says the government.
The most common symptoms of Covid are fever, dry cough, and tiredness.
Other symptoms that are less common and may affect some patients include loss of taste or smell; aches and pains; headache; sore throat; nasal congestion or a runny nose; red eyes; diarrhoea, or a skin rash.
Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms.
Symptoms to be aware of during the worldwide Covid pandemic
Can I mix with people who haven’t had the vaccine?
If you are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, it’s advised that you still shield even if you’ve received the jab.
This is because you are one of the people at greatest risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus.
However, having the vaccine means you are much less likely to become ill from Covid, which can cause serious illness and death.
Having the jab could also benefit those around you, writes the British Heart Foundation.
Although it doesn’t mean you can’t spread the virus, it may make it less likely.
And if more people are inoculated, this also reduces the potential for the virus to form new variants that might stop a vaccine from working in future.
Margaret Austin, 87, receives her Covid-19 vaccine
But, it may be possible for you to pass the virus on even if you’ve been vaccinated.
The foundation recommends that even if you’ve been inoculated, it’s really important to follow guidelines around social distancing, hand washing and other guidance to stop the spread of coronavirus.
You’ll still need to self-isolate if you have symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has.
The Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford jabs both need to be given in two doses.
Your immune system needs to generate a response, so generally the protection from the virus starts after about seven-ten days.
Boris Johnson visits a vaccination centre in Bristol
The second dose will be given three to 12 weeks after the first, for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine; or four to 12 weeks after the first dose for the Oxford jab.
You will have a good level of protection after the first dose, but the second jab is more important for longer-lasting defence.
No vaccine is approved unless it is considered safe for people with long-term conditions, such as heart and circulatory problems – including older people.
Three vaccines have now been approved for use in the UK by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA), and two of them are currently available.
People in St Albans, Herts, get their jabs under the chandelier at Batchwood nightclubCredit: Reuters
When will I get the vaccine?
Britain is aiming to give a first vaccine dose to all over-70s, care home residents and staff, health workers and people shielding – around 15 million people – by mid-February.
One way the UK is speeding up getting first doses to people is by delaying giving the second, top-up dose.
The NHS is currently offering Covid jabs to those at highest risk of getting the disease, and of suffering serious complications if they get infected.
This includes older adults, frontline health and social care workers, care home residents and staff, and those with certain clinical conditions.
In a bid to inoculate the most vulnerable against Covid, Britain is rapidly rolling out its jab programme, initially targeting nine groups.
Phase I Covid vaccinations
The NHS is targeting these nine priority groups in the initial phase of Covid jabs:
- Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
- All those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
- Everyone aged 75 years and over
- All those 70 years of age and over, plus clinically extremely vulnerable people
- Everyone 65 years of age and over
- All those aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
- Everyone aged 60 years and over
- All those 55 years of age and over
- All those 50 years of age and over
It has so far issued more than three million doses as part of a drive to vaccinate the four groups of most vulnerable people by the middle of February, and every adult by autumn.
More than 32million over-50s could be vaccinated by the end of March under new Government plans to ramp up the jab roll-out.
More than 800,000 medical staff and volunteers will work from 2,700 vaccination centres set up across the UK to deliver the vaccine.
If the ambitious timeline goes to plan, it means there will be two million jabs given out every week.
Thousands of Brits have signed up to be vaccination volunteers and help with the roll out through The Sun’s Jabs Army campaign.
Vaccine centres will be set up within ten miles of residents by the end of the month, the government has promised.
Brits will be able to get a Covid jab 24/7, Boris Johnson has vowed.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has echoed experts advising that Brits are “highly likely” to need a Covid vaccination every year for the foreseeable future.