Below are responses to our frequently asked questions.
Who is currently being offered the vaccine and how will I be invited?
Unless you are over 70 or on the shielded patient list, and have not yet received your vaccine, please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you when it is the right time.
Across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight our residents will be invited in one of the following ways to have a vaccination:
- Using a local GP service: GP practices are working together across the county to vaccinate as many people as possible. Residents may be contacted by a different surgery to the one they usually go to.
- Local hospital services: Patients may be contacted to have the vaccination as an inpatient or outpatient.
- At a vaccination centre: These are now available across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. If a person lives within 30 to 45 minutes of a vaccination centre, and hasn’t already been vaccinated, they may receive a letter asking them to book an appointment at a vaccination centre through the national booking service online at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination. If they can’t access the NHS website they can call 119 free. If a person would prefer to be vaccinated by their local GP practice or vaccination centre, as explained in the letter, they can wait to be contacted by their GP or try the website again later as sites are being added as they become available.
- At a local pharmacy: NHS England is also arranging for some local pharmacies to provide the vaccination on an appointment basis. Details of pharmacies will be added to the national booking system as they go live so individuals will be able to book an appointment with them once they have received their letter, if that is their choice. We will be continuing to add details of pharmacies in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to the list of sites and online map as they go live.
In line with this guidance, those eligible for the vaccine are now:
- people aged 60 and over
- people who are at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable)
- people who are at moderate risk from coronavirus (clinically vulnerable)
- people who live or work in care homes
- health and social care workers
- people who get Carer's Allowance
Invites to those aged 65 and over or on the shielded patients list (people listed as clinically extremely vulnerable) have now been delivered, and the NHS has been following up directly with those we haven’t heard from yet, as well as going out to housebound patients.
If you are in that group, or you are a frontline health or social care worker, and you haven’t had your vaccine yet for whatever reason, it’s not too late to come forward. You can book quickly and simply at nhs.uk/covidvaccination, or by phoning 119 if you can’t use the internet. If you can’t find a suitable slot through the national booking service, please contact your GP.
You can support your local NHS by:
- Making sure you are registered with a GP practice.
- Ensuring your GP practice has up-to-date contact details for you – especially a mobile phone number if you have one. This makes it quicker and easier for us to make contact. There is no need to call us with this information – it can be updated online through the GP practice website.
- Continuing to follow the government guidelines to keep yourselves and others safe by complying with lockdown rules, washing your hands, covering your face, and giving other people space when you are out. This is really important even once you’ve had the vaccine.
If you would prefer to be vaccinated by your local GP practice please wait to be contacted by your GP practice.
Cohort four includes those who are clinically extremely vulnerable, so all of the GP practices across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are now inviting adults with Down Syndrome to be vaccinated.
In addition we are also vaccinating adults with severe learning disabilities who live in residential care homes who are also clinically extremely vulnerable. This will include vaccinating the staff in the care homes who are considered to be frontline health and social care staff.
We are working to ensure these individuals receive their vaccination by mid-February as required.
If you have received a letter and live with someone who is also eligible but has not received a letter, it is likely that theirs will follow shortly. If you like you can wait and book at the same time.
You can find your NHS number on the NHS App or at www.nhs.uk/find-nhs-number.
If you have never registered with a GP or haven’t been to a GP for a number of years, we would recommend speaking with your local practice about registering.
As well as getting access to COVID-19 vaccines, being registered with a GP also means you are invited to important health checks such as for cancer or heart disease, and can access care easier when you need it.
More information on registering with a GP is available at nhs.uk/nhs-services/gps/how-to-register-with-a-gp-surgery.
We understand that many people are very keen to be vaccinated as soon as possible, and we are continuing to work our way through the priority groups, as identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
Unless you are over 65 or on the shielded patient list (clinically extremely vulnerable), and have not yet received your vaccine, please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you when it is the right time. You can also find out more about why you are being asked to wait.
Queries about your vaccine appointment and guidance after vaccination
If you have had your first dose and have not yet been offered an appointment for your second dose, you will be contacted with an appointment for your second vaccination in due course. You will be contacted by the team you received your first dose of the vaccine from. If you have chosen to be vaccinated in one of the vaccination centres, it may be possible to book both the first and second vaccinations at the same time when you book online.
Getting both doses remains important so we would urge people to return for their second dose when invited.
The place that you choose to have your vaccine will keep you safe from COVID-19 through a range of measures including cleaning and disinfecting and having social distancing in waiting areas. Please also wear a face covering to your appointment. You should also take the usual steps to minimise your risk as you travel to your appointment.
Coronavirus vaccines are only available on the NHS. You can be contacted by the NHS, your employer, or a GP surgery local to you, to receive your vaccine. Remember, the vaccine is free of charge. At no point will you be asked to pay.
- The NHS will never ask you for your bank account or card details.
- The NHS will never ask you for your PIN or banking password.
- The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.
- The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.
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 the victim is vulnerable, and particularly if you are worried that someone has or might come to your house, report it to the Police online or by calling 101.
Find out more about how you will be contacted on the NHS website.
Here we will be highlighting the transport support available to help people safely get to their vaccination appointments. We will continue to keep this section updated and more information will be added on the support available in all our communities as and when it becomes available.
- The Connect to Support Hampshire website has links and contact details for community transport support available across our communities. Find out more.
- Community First are able to provide a safe, accessible and COVID-secure transport option for people in need of transport to a vaccine appointment in areas such as Basingstoke, Fareham, Gosport, Havant, Winchester, the New Forest and East Hampshire. For more information and enquiries, please contact your local team.
- In Southampton, RadioTaxis are offering some free transport offers to vaccination appointments. Find out more.
- HIVE Portsmouth are able to assist with transport to vaccination appointments for Portsmouth residents who don't have any other means to get there. Contact them on 023 9261 6709.
Once you have received your vaccination it is still really important that you continue to follow the current guidance to stay at home as much as possible, continue to follow social distancing, wear a face covering and regularly wash your hands.
Find out more guidance about what to expect after your COVID-19 vaccination in this information leaflet (the link also includes a large print version, translated versions and a British Sign Language video).
Questions about the vaccines currently in use, including vaccine safety and ingredients
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the official UK regulator, have said that both of these vaccines 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 continued monitoring once it has been authorised and is being used in the wider population. The NHS website has more information about safety of the vaccine.
- For the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulatory-approval-of-pfizer-biontech-vaccine-for-covid-19
- For the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulatory-approval-of-covid-19-vaccine-astrazeneca
- The British Islamic Medical Association have also produced a helpful guide for the Muslim community which can be found at https://britishima.org/pfizer-biontech-covid19-vaccine.
The MHRA, the official UK regulator, have updated their guidance to say that pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding can have the vaccine but should discuss it with a clinician to ensure that the benefits outweigh any potential risks. Find out more about the guidance for women of childbearing age, who are currently pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding.
The NHS has already vaccinated more than a million people in the highest priority groups and has planned extensively to ensure that we can continue to ramp up the programme based on the number of doses that are available to us. The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is easier to transport and store, and is available in larger quantities, so it is likely that most people will receive this vaccine.
We are not able to confirm which vaccine you will receive as this is dependent on supply of the vaccine. Though the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is easier to transport and store, and is available in larger quantities, so it is likely that most people will receive this vaccine.
Please be assured that the vaccine you will be offered is available because it has been assessed and approved by experts as being safe and effective.
The Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has updated its advice to recommend you may be able to have the vaccine if you're pregnant and:
- at high risk of getting coronavirus because of where you work
- have a health condition that means you're at high risk of serious complications of coronavirus.
- If you are pregnant and are in one of the above groups, you should discuss the vaccination with a healthcare professional.
This is primarily done through each service operating a reserve list of eligible people – including health and social care workers, but also members of the public in the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) priority groups currently being vaccinated – who can be called at short notice to receive a dose where otherwise it might be wasted.
I would like to support the COVID-19 vaccination programme
If you have already contacted us your offer will be passed to our planning team, along with your contact details, and they will be in touch should they require any more information from you. We are receiving a large number of offers of help and support, and the team will not be able to respond to each offer individually.