Below is some more information about the COVID vaccines, and links to further sources of reliable information.
Vaccination is the best way to protect ourselves against COVID-19. The vast majority of health and social care workers have been vaccinated and we encourage everyone who is eligible to get their vaccinations and their booster.
Where to get vaccinated
You can get your COVID-19 vaccine:
by booking an appointment online or by calling 119
Frequently asked questions
Are the vaccines effective?
Yes, data shows that the vaccines give protection against symptomatic infection, being admitted to hospital, being admitted to critical care and dying of COVID. Every dose of vaccine further increases your protection against getting seriously ill from COVID-19.
How do we know the vaccines work?
Data on people admitted to critical care units is collected by the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC).
The graph below shows that by December 2021 over 90% of adults in England have had at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, but over 60% of patients in critical care units with COVID were unvaccinated. And while over 30% of the adult population had 3 doses of vaccine, they made up only 9% of the patients in critical care wards.
Percentage of admissions to critical care with confirmed COVID-19 by vaccination status for patients admitted 1 May 2021 to 15 December 2021 compared with the general population.
More information about vaccine effectiveness:
Data on vaccine effectiveness against infection, hospitalisation and death from COVID from the Office of National Statistics
Data on vaccination status of COVID patients in critical care from the Intensive Care National Audit and Research Centre (ICNARC)
I am worried about side effects. Are the vaccines safe?
Vaccines have to go through several stages of clinical trials before they can be approved for use.
The Pfizer vaccine clinical trials involved more than 44,000 participants.
The AstraZeneca vaccine clinical trials involved more than 23,000 participants.
The Moderna vaccine clinical trials involved more than 30,000 participants.
All vaccines and medicines have some side effects. These side effects need to be continuously balanced against the expected benefits in preventing illness.
As of 15 February 2022 we have given over 116 million doses of COVID vaccines in England. Reports of serious side effects are very rare.
The MHRA continually monitors vaccine safety. The overwhelming majority of reports relate to injection-site reactions (sore arm for example) and generalised symptoms such as ‘flu-like’ illness, headache, chills, fatigue (tiredness), nausea (feeling sick), fever, dizziness, weakness, aching muscles, and rapid heartbeat. Generally, these happen shortly after the vaccination and are not associated with more serious or lasting illness. They may be reported more frequently in younger adults.
These types of reactions reflect the normal immune response triggered by the body to the vaccines.
More information about vaccine side effects:
NHS guide to what to expect after your COVID-19 vaccination
I had a bad reaction to my first dose. Should I still get a second dose and a booster?
If you have had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine you should discuss this with your doctor. It is possible to get a different vaccine for your second dose and this may be recommended to you.
You can also go to a walk-in vaccine clinic and ask to discuss this with a clinician. They will be happy to talk through your concerns with you and you are under no obligation to get vaccinated following this conversation.
I have severe allergies. Should I get the vaccine?
If you have a personal or family history of severe allergies you should discuss this with your GP. You can find out more about allergies and COVID vaccines from Allergy.uk.
I am pregnant. Should I get vaccinated now or wait until the baby is born?
The COVID-19 vaccine and booster are safe to have at any stage during pregnancy. Vaccination is the best way to protect against the known risks of COVID-19 in pregnancy for both mother and baby, including admission to intensive care and premature birth.
According to the latest figures, the number of pregnant women being admitted to hospital with COVID-19 is increasing and many needing care are experiencing serious symptoms. The latest data from MBRRACE-UK (published December 2021) shows more than 1400 pregnant women were admitted to hospital between May and the end of October 2021.
One sixth of pregnant women in hospital were admitted to intensive care. 96% of whom were unvaccinated. This is a stark reminder that vaccines save lives – and it’s why pregnant women are advised to take action to protect themselves and their babies.
I already have antibodies from COVID infection. Why should I get the vaccine?
The immune response after Covid-19 infection is variable, whereas the response to vaccines is generally strong and consistent. A mild or asymptomatic case of Covid-19 often produces weak antibody responses that dwindle over time.
However, your body ‘remembers’ the virus, and if you are then vaccinated you develop a very strong and long-lasting response. This vaccine-boosted response does also gradually reduce over time but evidence shows that it is still likely to remain effective in preventing severe disease for many, many months and possibly for years.
This is much better than the protection you get after Covid-19 infection, which reduces more quickly because the virus interferes with the immune system so as to weaken the defences. By contrast, the vaccines just induce a protective response without all the added complexity of infection.
Each time you have a dose of the vaccine it adds to your immune system’s knowledge of the virus, increasing the chance it will recognise it and destroy it before it can do too much harm. That’s why having a vaccine is important even if you’ve had Covid-19 – you can boost your body’s ability to fight it off if you become infected again or avoid serious disease if you become infected with a different variant.
Now that national COVID restrictions are being lifted, do we need to continue to use PPE in our setting?
A: Yes. The vaccine is one key tool in tackling Covid-19. Care providers in north central London have done a fantastic job in reducing outbreaks of Covid through taking robust, evidence based measures.
It’s important to remember that no vaccine is 100% effective. Whilst the vaccine should stop you becoming seriously ill and will reduce spread, it will not entirely prevent people who have been vaccinated from catching and passing on the virus to others. You may be developing Covid-19 without showing symptoms or you maybe asymptomatic.
Staff need to follow the social distancing and hygiene measures set out by your care provider in order to keep yourself and the people you care for safe.
- North Central London CCG COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs
- The British Society of Immunology Guide to COVID-19 vaccinations