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Covid vaccine: When will you be eligible? Covid vaccine: When will you be eligible?
(2 days later)
Margaret Keenan, aged 90, became the first person in the world to be vaccinatedMargaret Keenan, aged 90, became the first person in the world to be vaccinated
The NHS has begun the biggest mass vaccination campaign in its history, with a jab that protects against Covid-19. The NHS has begun the biggest mass vaccination campaign in its history to protect people against Covid-19.
So far, two vaccines have been approved in the UK. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was the first to be approved for mass use in over-16s.So far, two vaccines have been approved in the UK. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was the first to be approved for mass use in over-16s.
More than 600,000 people in the UK have been vaccinated since Margaret Keenan became the first in the world to get that jab outside of a clinical trial. More than one million people in the UK have been vaccinated since Margaret Keenan became the first in the world to get that jab outside of a clinical trial.
Four weeks later, a vaccine developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca was also judged to be safe, and roll out of this second vaccine will now begin alongside the Pfizer jab. Four weeks later, a vaccine developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca was also judged to be safe, and roll-out started in the UK on 4 January.
Who will get the vaccine first?Who will get the vaccine first?
Broadly, vaccines are being given to the most vulnerable first, as set out in a list of nine high-priority groups, covering about a quarter of the UK population. Broadly, vaccines are being given to the most vulnerable first, as set out in a list of nine high-priority groups, covering around 30 million people.
They are thought to represent 90-99% of those at risk of dying from Covid-19.They are thought to represent 90-99% of those at risk of dying from Covid-19.
Residents in care homes for older adults and their carersResidents in care homes for older adults and their carers
80-year-olds and over and frontline health and social care workers80-year-olds and over and frontline health and social care workers
75-year-olds and over75-year-olds and over
70-year-olds and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals70-year-olds and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
65-year-olds and over65-year-olds and over
16- to 64-year-olds with serious underlying health conditions16- to 64-year-olds with serious underlying health conditions
60-year-olds and over60-year-olds and over
55-year-olds and over55-year-olds and over
50-year-olds and over50-year-olds and over
People aged over 80 in hospital, frontline health staff and care home workers have been the first to get the Pfizer jab at 70 designated hospitals hubs across the UK. People aged over 80 in hospital, frontline health staff and care home workers have been the first to get the Pfizer jab at designated hospitals hubs across the UK.
Vaccination has now begun in care homes, which the government announced on 23 December. The first Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccinations are being carried out in hospitals before supplies will be sent out to hundreds of GPs surgeries and care homes.
Vaccinating care home residents is far easier with the Oxford jab because it can be stored and transported at standard fridge temperatures.
How effective is the Oxford vaccine?
This first stage of the vaccination programme covering the nine priority groups is likely to last until at least Easter.
The second phase of vaccination will focus on the rest of the population, mainly the under-50s, who are much less likely to be ill with Covid-19.The second phase of vaccination will focus on the rest of the population, mainly the under-50s, who are much less likely to be ill with Covid-19.
Teachers, transport workers and the military could be prioritised at that point, but more data on how well the vaccines are working will be needed before that decision is made.Teachers, transport workers and the military could be prioritised at that point, but more data on how well the vaccines are working will be needed before that decision is made.
It could be well into 2021 before this phase begins.
What about the two dose policy?What about the two dose policy?
Both the Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines require two doses to provide the best possible protection.Both the Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines require two doses to provide the best possible protection.
Initially, the strategy for the Pfizer vaccine was to offer people the second dose 21 days after their initial jab - full immunity starts seven days after the second dose.Initially, the strategy for the Pfizer vaccine was to offer people the second dose 21 days after their initial jab - full immunity starts seven days after the second dose.
But when approval was announced for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on 30 December, it was also announced that the policy would now change - the new priority would be to give as many people a first shot of either vaccine, rather than providing the required two doses in as short a time as possible.But when approval was announced for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on 30 December, it was also announced that the policy would now change - the new priority would be to give as many people a first shot of either vaccine, rather than providing the required two doses in as short a time as possible.
Everyone will still receive their second dose, but this will now be within 12 weeks of their first.Everyone will still receive their second dose, but this will now be within 12 weeks of their first.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca second dose should be given between four and 12 weeks after the first, while the interval between the first and second Pfizer doses should be three to 12 weeks.The Oxford-AstraZeneca second dose should be given between four and 12 weeks after the first, while the interval between the first and second Pfizer doses should be three to 12 weeks.
Can different vaccines be mixed and matched?Can different vaccines be mixed and matched?
The official guidance states that every person should get the same vaccine for both doses.The official guidance states that every person should get the same vaccine for both doses.
Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisations at PHE, said: "We do not recommend mixing the Covid-19 vaccines - if your first dose is the Pfizer vaccine you should not be given the AstraZeneca vaccine for your second dose and vice versa."Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisations at PHE, said: "We do not recommend mixing the Covid-19 vaccines - if your first dose is the Pfizer vaccine you should not be given the AstraZeneca vaccine for your second dose and vice versa."
However, in the very rare circumstance in which only one vaccine is available at a vaccination site or it's unknown which product an individual received for their first dose, Public Health England says a different vaccine could be administered.However, in the very rare circumstance in which only one vaccine is available at a vaccination site or it's unknown which product an individual received for their first dose, Public Health England says a different vaccine could be administered.
But this advice does stress "this option is preferred if the individual is likely to be at immediate high risk or is considered unlikely to attend again".But this advice does stress "this option is preferred if the individual is likely to be at immediate high risk or is considered unlikely to attend again".
"There may be extremely rare occasions where the same vaccine is not available, or where it is not known what vaccine the patient received," Dr Ramsay said. "Every effort should be made to give them the same vaccine, but where this is not possible it is better to give a second dose of another vaccine than not at all.""There may be extremely rare occasions where the same vaccine is not available, or where it is not known what vaccine the patient received," Dr Ramsay said. "Every effort should be made to give them the same vaccine, but where this is not possible it is better to give a second dose of another vaccine than not at all."
How many vaccine doses are there?How many vaccine doses are there?
The UK received an initial delivery of 800,000 doses of the Pfizer jab which were shared out fairly across the four UK nations. Around one million people in the UK have now had their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
Although the UK was planning to have 10 million doses of the Pfizer jab before the end of the year, it is likely to receive just four million. However, in total it has 30 million doses on order. According to the NHS, this includes more than one in five people over the age of 80.
The UK has ordered 100 million doses of the British-made Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine - enough to vaccinate 50 million people. There are 530,000 doses of the Oxford jab available this week, with a similar number of Pfizer ones also ready to go.
In total, the UK has ordered 100 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and 30 million of the Pfizer vaccine, which will be shared out fairly among the four nations.
They will be delivered in batches over the coming weeks and months once they have been quality checked by the regulator, the MHRA.
Where will I get a vaccine?Where will I get a vaccine?
You'll be invited to book an appointment to get a vaccine as soon as it's your turn, probably by letter. You'll be invited to book an appointment to get a vaccine as soon as it's your turn, probably by phone or letter.
Vaccinations will take place:Vaccinations will take place:
in hospital hubs - about 70 have been set up across the UK so far in hospital hubs for NHS staff, care staff and older patients
in care homes, when the logistics are confirmed in thousands of GP surgeries to the over-80s initially
in thousands of GP surgeries as stocks become available in care homes to workers and residents
in sports stadiums and conference centres acting as major vaccination hubs next year in sports stadiums and conference centres acting as major vaccination hubs for the wider population
The NHS is recruiting 30,000 volunteers to help with the rollout, including lifeguards, airline staff and students - who will be trained to give the jabs.The NHS is recruiting 30,000 volunteers to help with the rollout, including lifeguards, airline staff and students - who will be trained to give the jabs.
About 200 GP surgeries will offer vaccinations to the over-80s first. Around 700 vaccination sites are currently in operation, including hospitals and GP surgeries. This will be expanded to more than 1,000 - with each local area having a designated site.
The programme will then be expanded out to more than 1,000 surgeries - with each local area having a designated site. GPs and local vaccination services have been asked to ensure every care home resident in their local area is vaccinated by the end of January.
How will the new Pfizer vaccine work?How will the new Pfizer vaccine work?
Will everyone be vaccinated?Will everyone be vaccinated?
The eventual aim is that as many people as possible over the age of 16 receive a Covid-19 vaccine.The eventual aim is that as many people as possible over the age of 16 receive a Covid-19 vaccine.
It won't be compulsory, though - no other vaccines in the UK are - as experts say this wouldn't help create confidence in the vaccine.It won't be compulsory, though - no other vaccines in the UK are - as experts say this wouldn't help create confidence in the vaccine.
The government has so far ordered seven different types of vaccine and expects to receive 355 million doses.The government has so far ordered seven different types of vaccine and expects to receive 355 million doses.
If everyone needs two doses, that would certainly be enough for every adult in the UK.If everyone needs two doses, that would certainly be enough for every adult in the UK.
What you need to know about vaccine safetyWhat you need to know about vaccine safety
Which vaccine will I get?Which vaccine will I get?
The experts have concluded that both vaccines are very effective, and have not stipulated a preference for either one in any specific population. Experts have concluded that both vaccines are very effective, and have not stipulated a preference for either one in any specific population.
What about people with allergies?What about people with allergies?
Anyone with a previous history of allergic reactions to the ingredients of the vaccine should not receive it, but those with any other allergies such as a food allergy can now have the vaccine.Anyone with a previous history of allergic reactions to the ingredients of the vaccine should not receive it, but those with any other allergies such as a food allergy can now have the vaccine.
A severe allergic reaction - known as anaphylaxis - is a very rare side-effect with any vaccine, but it can happen in those at risk. Most people, however, will not be affected in any way.A severe allergic reaction - known as anaphylaxis - is a very rare side-effect with any vaccine, but it can happen in those at risk. Most people, however, will not be affected in any way.
The medical regulator, the MHRA, says anyone due to receive their vaccine should discuss any medical history of serious allergies with their healthcare professional beforehand.The medical regulator, the MHRA, says anyone due to receive their vaccine should discuss any medical history of serious allergies with their healthcare professional beforehand.
I'm pregnant - will that affect when I'm vaccinated?I'm pregnant - will that affect when I'm vaccinated?
Vaccination with either vaccine should only be considered for pregnant women when the potential benefits outweigh any potential risks - for instance where the risk of exposure to coronavirus is high and cannot be avoided, or where the woman has underlying health conditions that put her at high risk of complications of Covid-19.Vaccination with either vaccine should only be considered for pregnant women when the potential benefits outweigh any potential risks - for instance where the risk of exposure to coronavirus is high and cannot be avoided, or where the woman has underlying health conditions that put her at high risk of complications of Covid-19.
Women should discuss the benefits and risks of having the vaccine with their healthcare professional and reach a joint decision based on individual circumstances.Women should discuss the benefits and risks of having the vaccine with their healthcare professional and reach a joint decision based on individual circumstances.
Women who are breastfeeding can be given the vaccine.Women who are breastfeeding can be given the vaccine.
There are no specific safety concerns with the vaccines - but they were not tested on pregnant women during the trials.There are no specific safety concerns with the vaccines - but they were not tested on pregnant women during the trials.
Pregnant women are likely to be low down the list of priority groups because of their age, and may only be offered a vaccine in the second phase in 2021.Pregnant women are likely to be low down the list of priority groups because of their age, and may only be offered a vaccine in the second phase in 2021.
Can I pay to be vaccinated sooner?Can I pay to be vaccinated sooner?
No - this vaccine is being rolled out free to people via the NHS.No - this vaccine is being rolled out free to people via the NHS.
You can't jump the queue by paying for it, but there should be plenty of vaccine to go round.You can't jump the queue by paying for it, but there should be plenty of vaccine to go round.
Should I leave a gap between getting the flu and Covid vaccines?Should I leave a gap between getting the flu and Covid vaccines?
If you're eligible for a flu vaccine, you should get it as soon as possible, particularly if you will also be in a high-risk priority group for a Covid jab.If you're eligible for a flu vaccine, you should get it as soon as possible, particularly if you will also be in a high-risk priority group for a Covid jab.
Having both illnesses at once this winter could be dangerous.Having both illnesses at once this winter could be dangerous.
At its last meeting, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended leaving at least seven days between the vaccines.At its last meeting, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended leaving at least seven days between the vaccines.
Flu jab 'more important than ever' this winterFlu jab 'more important than ever' this winter
Your Questions Answered: Will I need a vaccine passport?Your Questions Answered: Will I need a vaccine passport?
Covid vaccines: Who decides if they are safe?Covid vaccines: Who decides if they are safe?