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Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines

NHS information about coronavirus vaccines, including who can get a vaccine, how to book and how well the vaccines work.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines are safe and effective. They give you the best protection against COVID-19.

COVID-19 booster vaccine

Booster vaccine doses will be available on the NHS for people most at risk from COVID-19 who have already had 2 doses of a vaccine.

The NHS will let you know when it's your turn to have one.

Find out more about the COVID-19 booster vaccine

COVID-19 vaccines are available for everyone aged 12 or over.

Find out more about who can get a COVID-19 vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccines currently available are given in 2 doses. You usually have the 2nd dose 8 to 12 weeks after the 1st dose.

If you're aged 18 or over (or will turn 18 within 3 months) you can:

If you cannot book appointments online, you can call 119 free of charge. You can speak to a translator if you need to.

If you have difficulties communicating or hearing, or are a British Sign Language (BSL) user, you can use textphone 18001 119 or the NHS 119 BSL interpreter service.

You'll usually need to book a 2nd dose for 8 to 12 weeks after your 1st 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're 18 or over and have your 1st dose at a walk-in vaccination site, you can book your 2nd COVID-19 vaccination appointment online. You'll need to wait 24 hours after your 1st dose before you can book.
  • If you have your 1st dose through your GP surgery, you'll be contacted when it's time to book your 2nd dose.

Young people aged 16 and 17 will be contacted by a local NHS service such as a GP surgery to book their 1st dose of the vaccine.

Some walk-in COVID-19 vaccination sites are offering the vaccine to people aged 16 and 17. You can check if a site is available near you.

All children aged 12 to 15 will be offered a 1st dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Parents and guardians will get a letter with information about when the vaccine will be offered.

Most children will be given their vaccine at school.

The COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use in the UK are:

  • Moderna vaccine
  • Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine
  • Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
  • Janssen vaccine (available later this year)

Which vaccine will I get?

You cannot usually choose which vaccine you have. When you book, you'll only be offered appointments for vaccines that are suitable for you.

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 should have the same vaccine for both doses, unless you had serious side effects (such as a serious allergic reaction) after your 1st dose.

Anyone who gets COVID-19 can become seriously ill or have long-term effects (long COVID). The COVID-19 vaccines are the best way to protect yourself and others.

Research has shown the vaccines help:

  • reduce your risk of getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19
  • reduce your risk of catching or spreading COVID-19
  • protect against COVID-19 variants

The 1st dose should give you some protection from 3 or 4 weeks after you've had it. But you need 2 doses for stronger and longer-lasting protection.

There is a chance you might still get or spread COVID-19 even if you have a vaccine, so it's important to follow advice about how to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19.

The COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the UK have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.

They can cause some side effects, but not everyone gets them.

Any side effects are usually mild and should not last longer than a week, such as:

  • a sore arm from the injection
  • feeling tired
  • a headache
  • feeling achy
  • feeling or being sick

More serious side effects, such as allergic reactions or blood clotting, are very rare.

Find out more about COVID-19 vaccines side effects and safety

You can get vaccinated against COVID-19 if you're aged 16 or over and:

  • you're pregnant or think you might be
  • you're breastfeeding
  • you're trying for a baby or might get pregnant in the future

The vaccines you'll be offered depends if you're pregnant and how old you are. The vaccines cannot give you or your baby COVID-19.

Find out more about pregnancy, breastfeeding, fertility and COVID-19 vaccination

The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain egg or animal products.

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine contains a tiny amount of alcohol, but this is less than in some everyday foods like bread.

The vaccines are suitable for people of all faiths.

You can find out about the ingredients in the vaccines currently available in the UK:

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