The national vaccination programme is now underway in Peterborough. And both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines are being given to local people.
Both vaccines have been shown to be safe and offer high levels of protection and have been given regulatory approval by the independent Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Last week (Friday 8 January) the Moderna vaccine was also approved by the MHRA - its roll out is expected later in the spring.
Vaccinations for most vulnerable by mid-February
The Prime Minister has said that the aim is to offer jabs to most care home residents by the end of January.
And by mid-February, the target is to vaccinate over 12 million people in the top four priority groups - this includes, NHS and social care staff, people over the age of 70 and those on the NHS shielded patients' list.
The decision on who gets the vaccine first follows advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
Is the Covid vaccine safe?
Any coronavirus vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through. Vaccines will only be used if they are approved by the MHRA.
So far, thousands of people have been given a Covid-19 vaccine and reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions, have been very rare. No long-term complications have been reported.
When can I get the Covid-19 vaccine?
You will be contacted when it's your turn to get the Covid-19 vaccine. Please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine before then.
You just need to make sure that you are registered with a local GP and your contact details are up to date.
If you are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person, please let your GP know. If you are registered as a carer with your GP, you will be invited for your vaccination as part of priority group 6 alongside adults aged 16-65+ with underlying health conditions.
If you have not yet been approached about having the Covid-19 vaccination, please read the information: why you are being asked to wait.
How will I be contacted?
You will be contacted by the NHS when it is your turn for a vaccination.
You may get a text, phone call or a letter. You do not need to have a mobile phone or use the internet to be contacted for your Covid-19 jab.
If you work in health and social care, you may hear directly from your employer - in the same way you would for your annual flu jab.
You will never be asked to pay for your Covid-19 vaccine.
Coronavirus vaccines are free and the NHS will never ask for any money or your bank details.
Where can I get my Covid-19 vaccine?
You may be offered your Covid-19 vaccine at one of the following settings:
- Hospital Hubs - including Addenbrooke's Hospital and Peterborough City Hospital where the Pfizer vaccine can be stored safely
- Local Vaccine Services – provided by GPs and pharmacies
- National Vaccination Centres - the first seven opened on 11 January 2021
Teams are also now visiting local care homes to vaccinate residents and staff.
National Vaccination Centres
It is important that you take the first opportunity to get your Covid vaccination to ensure that you are protected.
But if you are invited to attend a National Vaccination Centre and are unable or don't want to go there, you can choose to wait.
You will get another invitation from your GP to get a vaccination closer to home. However, it might be a while before they are able to invite you.
More vaccination sites
More vaccination sites will be opening across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough over the coming weeks and months.
The local NHS is updating its website with information about vaccination sites as they open. They also answer some of your frequently asked questions, such as 'Is the vaccine vegetarian / vegan friendly?' and 'Will the vaccine work with the new strain?'
Our coronavirus information page has information on how to stay safe - including the latest rules and restrictions for households, guidance for those considered clinically extremely vulnerable, and where to get help and support.
What our Healthwatch is doing
We are working closely with the local NHS as they prepare to roll out the Covid-19 vaccination programme in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. And helping them make sure they get their messages for local people right.
Please tell us about your experience of the Covid-19 vaccination programme. We will be sharing your feedback with the local NHS to help them deliver the vaccine and protect people.
Correct as of 12 January 2021