Many people have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines and the vaccination roll-out; how they can get vaccinated, and wider questions around safety. We don’t have all the answers, but will attempt to signpost and explain here.
NHS and official basic details
The best place to look for this information is the NHS, on the central Covid-19 vaccine information page for general information – who should and shouldn’t be vaccinated, safety, effectiveness, and side effects , with a leaflet to share; and on NHS Kernow’s dedicated COVID-19 vaccine page. This includes the latest local information about vaccine sites.
Who gets the vaccine?
The COVID-19 vaccination programme is the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history.
The NHS is committed to offer the first vaccine dose to all those in the to four priority groups recommended by the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) by 15 February:
The priority groups are as follows:
- Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
- Those over 80 and frontline health and social care workers
- Those 75 and over
- Those 70 years and over and the clinically extremely vulnerable
With these groups accounting for 88 per cent of COVID-19 fatalities, the move will prevent thousands of deaths once their immunity develops in 14 days.
If someone has symptoms of COVID-19, they are being asked not to attend a vaccination appointment until they symptoms have disappeared. People who have ‘long covid’ are encouraged to get their vaccinations.
When will people get the vaccine?
People will be contacted by their GP or receive a letter inviting them to book an appointment when it is their turn when it is their turn.
Please do not contact the NHS to ask for a vaccine. While the vaccination centre means the NHS can expand its rollout, this will take some time, so please be patient.
There’s now a new COVID vaccine general email inbox at NHS Kernow for those with queries about the vaccine: firstname.lastname@example.org
Where can I get my vaccination?
Vaccinations are being offered at a variety of sites including large vaccination centres at Stithians Showground near Truro, the Royal Cornwall Showground near Wadebridge, and Home Park, Plymouth. GP surgeries are also working together to deliver the vaccine from a central clinic or through mobile teams to care homes. When you are invited to book your appointment this may mean you attend a vaccination clinic at a different location to you usual surgery. Community pharmacies have also joined the vaccination roll-out.
The current list is on the KCCG website.
Attending the sites at Stithians and Wadebridge
If you have booked an appointment at the Stithians Showground or the Royal Cornwall Showground, driving, if you can, will be your easiest option.
Those who requires extra support from a carer should have them attend the appointment but is asked this is kept to a maximum of 1 other person to maintain social distancing (choose someone in your bubble, if at all possible). Wheelchairs will be available for anyone who requires them, and disabled parking is available on site.
The 36 bus stops outside the Stithians Showground entrance, on a route between Helston and Truro. The 11A bus stops outside the Wadebridge Showground entrance, on a route between Padstow and Bodmin. However in both cases there will be a walk from the bus stop to the vaccination complex. See Transport for Cornwall for details of bus services.
People attending their appointments should wear loose clothing to provide vaccinators easy access to the arm, and flat shoes.
If you can’t travel to a vaccination centre, or there is another reason you can’t book an appointment at the nearest vaccination centre, you can choose to wait until your local GP services contact you if they haven’t already.
If someone needs assistance to get to their vaccination appointment, assistance may be available through one of the voluntary transport schemes.
A volunteer driver will collect the person from their home and take them to their vaccination appointment, wait for them and bring them back.
The driver will wear appropriate PPE and the vehicle will be cleaned before and after the journey.
To book a volunteer driver contact:
- Age UK (Cornwall & IoS) on 01872 223388
- Volunteer Cornwall on 01872 265300
(If neither organisation has availability at the time needed, they may be able to signpost to local schemes that have.)
There is a charge for this service but funding may be available to assist with the costs in certain cases.
Other community transport services are available. there is a full list on the Cornwall Council website. Ask them about social distancing, and cleaning procedures before you book, to ensure your safety.
What can I do once I’ve had the vaccine? Can I stop shielding?
The regulatory agency has said these vaccines are highly effective, but to get full protection people need to come back for the second dose – this is really important.
To ensure as many people are vaccinated as quickly as possible, the Department for Health and Social Care now advise that the second dose of both the OxfordAstraZeneca and the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine should be scheduled up to 12 weeks apart. Full protection kicks in around a week or two after that second dose, which is why it’s also important that when you do get invited, you act on that and get yourself booked in as soon as possible. Even those who have received a vaccine still need to follow social distancing and other guidance.
It is possible for a person to have the virus before they received the vaccine, and for it to start to show symptoms after the injection.
It is possible for a person to catch the virus after they have been vaccinated.
It is very easy for even a vaccinated person to pass the virus on to another person, either on their hands, or by exhaling droplets which contain the virus, even if it has not infected them or they do not feel ill.
Everyone should continue to observe the rules around social distancing, staying close to home, hands-face-space, even if they have had the vaccine.
Deputy Medical Officer, Professor Van-Tam, has written a very interesting article about the vaccines, and their development and impact, which was published in the Sunday Telegraph last weekend. The text is also on the Gov.uk website, (as the Telegraph is behind a pay wall)
Advice for specific groups
There is specific information about the virus and vaccinations for certain groups from the NHS:
Easy read resources about the virus and vaccinations for people with learning disabilities –
Various charities have produced specific information relating to their user-groups, with more detail around the vaccine. You can find out more from their websites:
Targeting the most at-risk ethnic groups
Some resources have been produced to encourage those from high-risk minority ethnic groups to get vaccinated, amid reports showing low take-up in these groups. More resources are under development, and we will share those when they become available.
AskDoc have produced four videos answering common questions about the Covid vaccines translated into a number of languages, here. And also short videos translating NHS England Covid-19 advice in various languages here.
South Asian Health Foundation have a range of resources and links about Coronavirus in South Asian languages here.
Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) have produced lots of guidance and resources including advice for individuals and mosques and guidance from the National Burial Council. Visit their dedicated Coronavirus web page here.