Can I have the vaccine if I’m pregnant?
The Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has updated its guidance to say that pregnant women can have the vaccine if they are at high risk of catching Covid- 19 or have clinical conditions that put them at greater risk but they should discuss it with a doctor first.
Can I have the vaccine if I am breastfeeding?
The JCVI has recommended that the vaccines can be given to women who are breastfeeding as there are no known risks to them or their baby. This is in line with recommendations from the World Health Organisation.
Is it safe to try to get pregnant after having the vaccine?
There is no need for women to delay pregnancy after having the vaccination.
How many doses of the vaccine do I need and when?
Both vaccines require two doses to give the maximum amount of protection. The latest advice is that the second dose is given 10-12 weeks after your first dose of the vaccine.
Why do I need two vaccinations?
The evidence from the clinical trials showed that people build up better protection against COVID-19 symptoms when the vaccine is given in two, smaller doses, with an interval between them. If you don’t have your second dose there is no risk to you but you will not be as well protected as you could be.
How effective are the COVID-19 vaccines?
Both vaccines have been shown to be highly effective at stopping people from becoming seriously ill from Covid-19.
Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective – some people may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, but the symptoms should be a lot less severe.
Having the vaccine prevents you becoming seriously ill from Covid-19 but you may still be able to spread it to others so it is very important to keep following the guidance – in particular, wearing a mask, washing your hands and keeping two metres apart.
How long do the vaccines take to work?
Protection starts around seven days after your first dose. To get the maximum amount of protection, people need to have their second dose. Full protection takes effect around a week or two after the second dose.
Will the vaccines work with the new strains?
There is currently no evidence that the new strains will be resistant to the vaccines we have, so we are continuing to vaccinate people as normal. Scientists are looking now in detail at the characteristics of the virus in relation to the vaccines. Viruses, such as the winter flu virus, often branch into different strains but these small variations rarely render vaccines ineffective.
How long will my vaccine be effective for?
We expect these vaccines to work for at least a year – if not longer – but this will be constantly monitored.
Which vaccine will I get?
The UK is currently using both the PfizerBioNTech and the OxfordAstraZeneca vaccines. We will have more doses of the OxfordAstraZeneca vaccines so expect this is the one most people will receive.