COVID-19 vaccination FAQs – Sefton

 

Below you will find some frequently asked questions that we are receiving in Sefton regarding the COVID-19 vaccinations.

You can also access COVID-19 vaccination information, updates and guides in different languages and formats here.

Who is currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine?

Everyone aged over 12 is now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

People aged 16 and over can get their vaccine at a walk-in site or by booking by phone or online:

 

Children aged 12 to 15

The school immunisation services is now offering COVID-19 vaccinations in secondary schools. You can find out more about this on the Mersey Care website here. If you have any questions or need any support you can contact your local immunisation team at: 0151 247 6130. 12-15 year olds can now also book their COVID-19 vaccine using the national booking page here: uk/covid-vaccination. Please note that 12-15 year olds are not able to attend walk-in sites for their vaccine.

For information about the COVID-19 vaccine on the NHS website, click here.

Find guidance for eligible children and young people on the government website here.

 

When and how will I be contacted?

If you are aged 16 or over you no longer need to wait to be contacted in order to book your vaccination. If you are a Sefton resident and over 16 you can book an appointment now using the national booking service, by visiting the Aintree Hospital Hub or by calling 119 anytime between 7am-11pm, seven days a week. You can also use a local walk-in site - you can find the latest times and locations on the NHS website.

People aged 16 and over may also be invited by the NHS, via text and letter, to book their appointments through GPs or via walk-in centres.

 

Children aged 12 to 15

The school immunisation services is now offering COVID-19 vaccinations in secondary schools for children aged 12-15. You can find out more about this on the Mersey Care website here. 12-15 year olds can now also book their COVID-19 vaccine using the national booking page here: uk/covid-vaccination

For information about the COVID-19 vaccine on the NHS website, click here.

 

Where will I get the vaccine?

Several pharmacies are offering COVID-19 vaccination appointments in Sefton. These are based in Ainsdale, Bootle, Formby, Litherland, Seaforth, Southport and Waterloo. You can book these online through the national booking centre at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or call 119 anytime between 7am -11pm, seven days a week (free of charge).

There is a hospital hub at Aintree, which you can book online here.

There are also a range of walk-in vaccination sites in Sefton – you can find the latest times and locations on the NHS website.

Appointments at other regional and national vaccination centres can also be booked at http://www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination.

 

Children aged 12 to 15

The school immunisation services is now offering COVID-19 vaccinations in secondary schools for children aged 12-15. You can find out more about this on the Mersey Care website here. 12-15 year olds can now also book their COVID-19 vaccine using the national booking page here: uk/covid-vaccination

 

I am eligible for a vaccination, but haven’t been invited to book?

If you are aged 16 or over, you no longer need to wait to be contacted in order to book your vaccination. If you are a Sefton resident and over 16 you can book an appointment now using the national booking service, by visiting the Aintree Hospital Hub or by calling 119 anytime between 7am-11pm, seven days a week. You can also use a local walk-in site - find the latest information on walk-in clinics for vaccinations in Sefton and beyond using the NHS website here.

People aged 16 and over may also be invited by the NHS, via text and letter, to book their appointments through GPs or via walk-in centres.

The school immunisation services is now offering COVID-19 vaccinations in secondary schools for children aged 12-15. You can find out more about this on the Mersey Care website here. 12-15 year olds can now also book their COVID-19 vaccine using the national booking page here: uk/covid-vaccination

For information about the COVID-19 vaccine on the NHS website, click here.

 

What is the COVID-19 booster vaccine programme?

A booster vaccine is an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine which is being offered to some people to help improve the protection given from the first 2 doses of the vaccine.

Booster vaccine doses will be available on the NHS for people most at risk from COVID-19 who have had a 2nd dose of a vaccine at least 6 months ago. You can read more about who is eligible here.

You will only be able to book your booster appointment six months, or 26 weeks, after you had your second jab. It's important not to contact the NHS before then.

COVID-19 booster vaccines for health and social care workers

The National Vaccination Booking Service is open for health and social care workers to book their booster jabs, which will be available six months or 26 weeks after they have had their second jab. There won’t be any invitations sent to health and social care works, proof of employment may be required.

 

Why are some people getting third primary doses of the COVID-19 vaccine?

Some people are eligible for a third primary dose of the COVID-19 vaccine because they are immunosuppressed, either because of an underlying health condition or a long-term chronic condition where medication affects their immunity. This third primary dose is different from a booster as set out above.

Clinicians are identifying patients who may need a third dose because they are immunosuppressed. Many people will also have received a direct letter from the NHS advising that they may be eligible, which they can use to discuss options with their GP or consultant if they have not done so already.

Patients who have not yet been contacted but think they are eligible should speak to their consultant or GP. 

 

I’m not registered with a GP – how do I get my vaccine?

You do not have to be registered with a GP surgery to book your COVID-19 vaccination. You can either use a local walk-in site or book your vaccination by phone or online:

It is preferable for you to be registered with a GP surgery, as this means you will automatically receive a call or a letter for you to book your vaccination when you become eligible. Anyone in England can register with a GP surgery and you do not need proof of address or immigration status, ID or an NHS number.

You can find some useful information on how to register with a GP practice here.

 

What is the gap between first and second doses?

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is currently recommending an interval of 8 weeks between doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

 

Why are we not getting our second dose for several weeks?

The UK Chief Medical Officers have agreed an eight week timeframe between first and second doses so that more people can get their first dose quickly, and because the evidence shows that one dose still offers a high level of protection after two weeks – 89% for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and 74% for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. This decision will allow us to get the maximum benefit for the most people in the shortest possible time and will help save lives.

Getting both doses remains important so we would urge you to return for it at the right time. For everybody this will be around 8 weeks after your first dose and you can book this in the same way you booked your first vaccine. If this was with your GP practice they will contact you to arrange this. You will get a good level of protection from the first dose but will not get maximum protection until at least 7 to 14 days after your second dose of vaccine.

 

I’ve not received an appointment for my second dose, why not?

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 to view your appointments and rebook 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. 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.


I had my first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, should I have it again for my second dose?

The current advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is:

Those who have received their first dose of AZ vaccine without suffering any serious side effects should continue to be offered the second dose to complete the course. This includes individuals who are aged 39 years or younger.

Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short-term, and not everyone gets them. The AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine causes far fewer side effects after the second dose. Find out more on the government website here.

 

Why are the sites not closer to where I live?

There are strict medical and logistical criteria about which premises are suitable to become vaccination sites to keep you and our staff as safe as possible. In addition, there are restrictions on where the vaccination can be delivered along with how it needs to be stored. This is why the vaccine might not be being delivered in your own GP practice or nearer to where you live. If booking via the national booking service, or searching for a walk-in vaccination site, you can choose the site most convenient for you.

 

I can’t get to my vaccination centre – how will you help me?

People who are housebound will be contacted by their GP practice about alternative ways to get vaccinated. The NHS will follow up with people that haven’t booked their appointment, as a reminder.

  

When I do get my appointment, should I get there early?

Please don’t come early, we are asking people to come as close to their appointment time as possible. This is to ensure that we don’t have too many people in the waiting area at one time and that we keep you all safe adhering to social distancing guidelines.

 

Can I have the vaccine if I am immuno-supressed?

Yes, severely immunosuppressed patients should already have been invited for a vaccine either as someone who was advised to shield, or who has an underlying health condition.

From 31 March 2021, those who live with people who are severely immunosuppressed are also being prioritised for a vaccine and should contact their GP practice to request a vaccine appointment. This is because people who are severely immunosuppressed may have a less effective response from the vaccine, so the inclusion of household members is intended to increase their protection.

This applies to immunosuppressed patients over 16 only as there is not the same evidence regarding children.

Household members are defined as “individuals who expect to share living accommodation on most days... and therefore for whom continuing close contact is unavoidable”. Members of ‘bubbles’ that do not live with an immunosuppressed person for the majority of the week are not eligible.

You can find further information and advice on this here.

 

I am pregnant and plan to breastfeed, should I get the vaccine?

If you're pregnant, you should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine when you're eligible for it.

It's preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine because they've 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're breastfeeding. Speak to a healthcare professional before you have the vaccination. They will discuss the benefits and risks with you.

The vaccine cannot give you or your baby COVID-19.

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

Two experts from Liverpool Women’s Hospital have also put the following short video together to provide some reassurance on issues relating to fertility and pregnancy. You can hear from Alice Bird (Consultant Obstetrician) and Andrew Drakeley (Consultant Gynaecologist and Clinical Director for the Hewitt Fertility Centre) in a short 3 minute video here.

Dr Alice Bird, a Consultant Obstetrician at Liverpool Women’s, talks about the COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy in this short video.

Does the vaccine affect my fertility?

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.

Advice for women trying to become pregnant can be found on the GOV.UK website here.

If you are concerned about the impact of the vaccine on fertility, please click here to see the latest advice from the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

For advice to people currently undergoing or considering fertility treatment please see the following advice from the local Hewitt Fertility Centre here.

You can see a short video that provide some reassurance on issues relating to fertility and pregnancy from two experts from Liverpool Women’s Hospital - Alice Bird (Consultant Obstetrician) and Andrew Drakeley (Consultant Gynaecologist and Clinical Director for the Hewitt Fertility Centre) - here.

Click here for government guidance on COVID-19 vaccination for women of childbearing age, currently pregnant or breastfeeding.

 

What are the vaccines I might be vaccinated with?

There are three vaccines currently available, they are Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and the Moderna vaccine. All vaccines have been shown to be safe and offer high levels of protection and have been given regulatory approval by the MHRA.

Most people can have any of the COVID-19 vaccines, but some people are only offered certain vaccines. For example:

  • if you're pregnant or under 40 you'll usually be offered appointments for the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines
  • if you're under 18, you'll only be offered the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine

You can read more about this on the NHS website here.

 

Should I be worried about the recent news on the AstraZeneca vaccine causing blood clots?

So far millions of people have been safely vaccinated against COVID-19.

Recent reports of very rare blood clots and unusual bleeding after vaccination are being carefully reviewed. Around four people develop this extremely rare condition for every million doses of AstraZeneca (AZ) given.

Scientific regulators and advisors from the MHRA and JCVI continue to advocate the use of all available COVID-19 vaccines as part of the national programme. Currently the JCVI advises that, where available, it is preferable for those under the age of 40 with no underlying health conditions to be given alternative to the AZ vaccine, if it does not cause substantial delays or difficulties in being vaccinated. They may still have the AZ after considering the low risks and benefits.

All those who were offered the first dose of the AZ vaccine, without experiencing these very rare side effects, should continue to be offered the second dose, no matter their age.

This rare blood clotting condition can also occur naturally, and more importantly clotting problems are a common complication of having COVID-19.

For the most up to date information please click here.

Are all the vaccine safe?

The NHS will not offer any COVID-19 vaccinations to the public until independent experts have signed off that it is safe to do so.   

The MHRA, the official UK regulator, has said the vaccines it has approved so far have good safety profiles and offer a high level of protection, and we have full confidence in their expert judgement and processes.     

As with any medicine, vaccines are highly regulated products. There are checks at every stage in the development and manufacturing process, and there is continued monitoring once it has been authorised and is being used in the wider population.

 

I am Muslim, can I take the vaccine?

British Islamic Medical Council statement on COVID-19 vaccine

The British Islamic Medical Council has made a statement recommending that the Muslim community take the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccination when offered. There is no content of animal origin (i.e. no gelatine) in the vaccination. Click here to read the full statement.

 

Can I choose which vaccine to have? 

You cannot choose which COVID-19 vaccine you are given unless there is a clear medical reason for doing so – such as a history of allergic reaction to one of the ingredients. If this is the case, please discuss this with health professional to ensure you get a suitable vaccine.

Any vaccines that the NHS will provide will have been approved because they pass the MHRA’s tests on safety and efficacy, so people should be assured that whatever vaccine they get, it is worth their while.

You will have to have two doses of the same vaccine, as per official guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Although you can’t choose which vaccine you are given JCVI has advised that it is preferable for people under 40 with no underlying health conditions to be given the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

If you're under 18, you'll only be offered the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

You can read more about this on the NHS website here.

 

I’m a bit worried about scams I’m hearing about, can you tell me how to avoid these?

There are some SMS / text message and email SCAMS taking place related to COVID-19 and more information and example of how these may look can be found here. Please be careful if you do receive a text message, don’t click on a link until you are sure that this is not a scam. Be careful with anything that relates to:

  • A URL link claiming to link to GOV.UK to claim supposed COVID-19 related payments
  • Lockdown fines suggesting you have breached lockdown
  • Offers of health supplements that will prevent you becoming infected
  • Financial support offers that appear to be from your bank

If you are worried that any text message is a scam please don’t respond, report the SMS Scam to Action Fraud by forwarding the message to 7726.

Avoiding fraud

To protect yourself and your family members from fraud, please remember the following points:

  • The NHS will never ask for bank details, PIN numbers or passwords when contacting you about a vaccination. You will never be charged for the vaccine.
  • Any communication which claims to be from the NHS but asks for payment, or bank details, is fraudulent and can be ignored. If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up.
  • If you believe you have been the victim of fraud or identity theft you should report this directly to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
  • Where a victim is vulnerable, and particularly if you are worried that someone has or might come to your house, report it to the Police either online or by calling 101.

For more information about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, please visit the NHS website.

Click here to watch informative videos about COVID-19 vaccine scams in five South Asian languages (UrduPunjabiSylhetiTamil and Gujarati.)