COVID Vaccination

All Health and Social Care workers are eligible and now recommended to have an annual COVID-19 jab – just like a flu jab.

Just as that is updated every year, the 2023 COVID-19 vaccine has been updated to offer protection against the common strains of SARS-CoV-2, which are now circulating in the community.

Having the vaccine this winter will protect against these newer strains and provide a booster against older strains that remain in circulation.

FAQs title

Why have a COVID vaccination?

Vaccination against the Covid-19 virus offers up to 90% protection against contracting the virus, developing severe symptoms, requiring hospitalisation and even death. 

The vaccines have been proven to also significantly reduce the transmission of the virus, which is incredibly important in ensuring asymptomatic people are not unknowingly passing on the virus to others especially those elderly and clinically vulnerable who you may come into contact with.

Do I have to have the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time?

No. You don’t have to but many people did last year as they like to get all their jabs done in one go.

How will staff be offered this year’s COVID-19 vaccine?

Every member of Team BWC, regardless of role,will be offered the vaccine. .

You will be offered both the Flu and COVID vaccinations at the same appointment (one jab in each arm) or you can have each separately - it's totally your choice.

Is the NHS confident the 2023 vaccine will be safe?

As with the annual flu jab, the NHS will not offer any COVID-19 vaccinations to staff and the public until it is safe to do so. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the official UK regulator authorising licensed use of medicines and vaccines by healthcare professionals, make this decision for each vaccine and we have full confidence in their expert judgement and processes that this updated vaccine is safe.  

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.   

As with any vaccine short-lived local and systemic reactions may occur. However, there is no evidence these reactions are more common after booster doses or that they are more common or more severe when flu and COVID-19 vaccines are given together.

Are there any side effects?

The vaccine is very well tolerated with reported side effects similar to the flu jab – soreness or redness at the injection site and some have reported a headache.

There has been a very small number of reports of myocarditis or pericarditis globally following immunisation using the current vaccines, and even most of these cases have been mild and self-limiting over a few days.

Are there any longer-term side effects?

Over 50 million doses have been given in the UK over the last 2 years and no long-term side effects have been identified. The MRHA conduct rigorous testing and monitoring cycles to ensure the safety of the vaccine before signing it of for use in the general population.

How the vaccine is given?

The vaccine is given by injection into the muscle of the upper arm.

How long does immunity last for once you have been vaccinated?

Based on previous vaccinations and infection rates it is estimated that immunity lasts between 6-9 months.

Does the vaccine contain the ‘live’ virus? Can it give me or anyone around me COVID-19?

No. The vaccines are designed to produce an immune response to just a small part of the virus, the spike protein. This is the part of the virus that allows it to enter into human cells and cause infection. No whole COVID-19 virus or live virus is used in the vaccines. This means the vaccine cannot give you COVID-19 and does not make you infectious after you have had the vaccine. This means it is also safe for people with a suppressed immune system.  

Are there any non-intramuscular options non-injection options such as a nasal spray or pill?

Not at this time.

Will pregnant women be offered the vaccine?

Pregnant women are encouraged to get vaccinated, because COVID-19 can be more serious during pregnancy. Analysis of birth outcomes in women who had received at least one dose of the vaccine in England have shown a similar or higher rate of good birth outcomes than in unvaccinated women.

Breastfeeding is also not a contraindication to having the vaccine.

How long does it take for immunity to take effect?

You will not develop full immunity until approximately 14 days after the dose, therefore it is vital that you continue to adhere to mask wearing guidelines and practice good hand hygiene. No vaccine is 100% effective so it is also important you to continue to follow any government or workplace advice even after you have completed the vaccination course.

Does the vaccine cure COVID-19 if you are positive?

No. As with any vaccine, If you are acutely unwell and feverish, immunisation can be deferred until you feel better. However, minor illness without fever is not a reason to defer immunisation.

There is no need to defer immunisation in individuals after recovery from a recent episode of symptoms compatible with COVID-19 symptoms, whether or not you have been tested.

Is the vaccine suitable for vegans?

There are no animal products listed in the ingredients.

Do people who have already had COVID-19- get vaccinated?

Yes, if they are in a priority group identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The vaccine offers a boost to your immune system for newer strains of the virus so getting vaccinated is just as important for those who have already had the virus as it is for those who haven’t. 

What are the vaccine ingredients?

Information on the vaccine ingredients have been provided by the MHRA.

Can people pick which brand of vaccine they want?

No. All vaccines offer equal benefit and you will not be offered a choice. It is important to remember that any vaccines that are available will have been approved by the medicine regulatory authorities so you should be assured that whatever vaccine you are offered, it is safe and effective.