The facts about the Covid-19 vaccines, how safe it is, how it was developed so quickly, how to get there if you don’t have transport and what you need to do afterwards. You can also find out how to access information in other formats and languages.
For many of us, the hope of a Covid vaccine has been the light at the end of a very dark tunnel. And now it is here, and the NHS are working tirelessly (yet again) not only to look after those in hospital, but to vaccinate as many people as they can as quickly as possible. The vaccine is available from more than thirteen locations across the county as well as two national vaccination centres, one in Eastbourne and one in Brighton.
But we know some people want more information about the jab. We want to convince you it’s a good idea, answer some of questions people may have and clear up some of the misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccines.
Vaccination is the most important thing we can do to protect ourselves against ill health.
Vaccinations prevent up to 3 million deaths worldwide every year. Since vaccines were introduced in the UK, diseases like smallpox, polio and tetanus that used to kill or disable millions of people are either gone or seen very rarely and other diseases like measles and diphtheria have been reduced by up to 99.9% since their vaccines were introduced. However, if people stop having vaccines, it’s possible for infectious diseases to quickly spread again.
Getting your COVID-19 vaccination is one of the best defences against the virus. It should help reduce the rates of serious illness, reduce pressure on the NHS and social care services, and above all, save lives.
You must continue to social distance, wear a face covering and follow other restrictions after having the vaccine
Once you have had the vaccine, there is still a chance you might get or spread coronavirus. If you do catch Covid after receiving the vaccine it is more likely to be mild and less likely to lead to hospitalisation. As it will be some time yet before everyone has received the vaccine it is vital that you keep following the current lockdown restrictions and rules about social distancing and face coverings.
The Covid-19 vaccine is free
Despite what some scammers would have you believe, the Covid-19 vaccine is completely free and available to everyone living or working in the UK. There are some unscrupulous scammers out there asking people to pay for the vaccine. The NHS will never ask you to pay.
Find out more about how you will be invited to receive the Covid-19 vaccine and how to spot a vaccine scam on the NHS website.
The Covid-19 vaccines are safe
The speed of approval of the COVID-19 vaccination was mainly due to cutting red tape rather than cutting corners. There has been worldwide scientific collaboration and funding to create the COVID-19 vaccine. This global effort has allowed scientists to work at record speed, and complete years of work in months. Any coronavirus vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through. So, although the Covid-19 vaccines were developed at pace they have still been rigorously tested to high standards.
Hear more from Dr Mary Ramsay on how they were able to develop a Covid-19 vaccine so quickly.
It is safe to get your vaccine if you are vulnerable
If you have been shielding, we understand you may be nervous about leaving your home to get the Covid-19 vaccine. All places offering the vaccination have clear procedures in place to help keep you safe from COVID-19. This includes regular cleaning, social distancing, hand sanitising and face masks.
You can ask a friend or family member to take you if you don’t have transport of your own
If you have been invited to receive the vaccine and you don’t have transport of your own you can ask a family member, friend or neighbour to take you. During the current restrictions, family and friends of elderly patients are permitted to take them to their COVID-19 vaccine appointment under the exemption of ‘providing care for the vulnerable’. If this is not possible, then you may be able to access community transport. Other options are also being explored to support residents travelling to their vaccination appointment if they cannot ask a friend or family member for help. Please ask at the time of booking what local arrangements are in place.
The Covid-19 vaccine will not affect your fertility
There is no evidence to suggest that Covid-19 vaccines will affect fertility. Claims of any effect of Covid-19 vaccination on fertility are speculative and not supported by any data.
Listen to this short video by Dr. Gayatri Amirthalingam, a consultant in the National Immunisation team at Public Health England as she explains how the vaccine works and how there is no biologically plausible mechanism by which current vaccines would cause any impact on women’s fertility.
You should speak to your GP before having the vaccine GP if you are pregnant
The Covid-19 vaccines have not yet been tested specifically on people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, but there is some evidence to suggest that Covid-19 itself may be more harmful to your health if you are pregnant. You should speak to your GP before you have the vaccine to discuss the risks and benefits.
The Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have also released this statement on the misinformation circulating about the Covid-19 vaccine including an Covid-19 vaccine information sheet to help you make an informed decision.
The Covid-19 vaccines available in the UK don’t contain egg
There is no material of foetal or animal origin in any of the vaccines available in the UK. All ingredients are published in the healthcare information on the MHRA’s website.
To find out more about the vaccines approved in the UK, see:
GOV.UK: Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 approved by MHRA
GOV.UK: Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 approved by MHRA
GOV.UK: Moderna vaccine for COVID-19 approved by MHRA
Find out when and where you will get your jab
Everything you need to know about the roll out of the vaccine in Sussex can be found on the Sussex Health and Care Partnership website. Through their vaccination campaign they will address questions such as ‘When will I get my jab?’ ‘Where will I get my jab?’ ‘Why should I get my jab?’ and ‘What happens after my jab?’.
Vaccinations are currently available via:
- GP-led vaccination services – These services involve groups of GP practices working together to provide the vaccination to their collective patients at one location. This means that you may not receive the vaccination at your local GP; you may be invited to a different location nearby.
- Hospital hubs – these are currently being used to vaccinate health and care staff only.
- Roving service – the vaccine is being taken into care homes and into people’s own homes if they cannot attend a vaccination site.
- Large vaccination centres – East Sussex residents can access the vaccination centres in Eastbourne and Brighton.
Read more about vaccination services in East Sussex.
On the Sussex Health and Care Partnership website you can also find the answers to lots more questions about the vaccine and see exactly what is happening with the vaccine roll out in East Sussex.
There are also a number of translated resources with more being added all the time.