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Vaccine appointment Q&A with Anu Kohli

The vaccine is our best chance of protection against the virus and to help keep the North East open.

Receiving the first dose offers you good protection but you need to have 2 doses of the vaccine for longer lasting protection.

Read our simple explainer, from Anu Kohli, Primary Care Lead Pharmacist, to find out what to expect from both your vaccine appointments and how it can help the North East to #BeatCovidNE.

Do not attend your appointment if you: 

  • Have Covid symptoms. You should get a test and follow the stay at home guidance.  
  • Have been told by the NHS Test and Trace service to self-isolate. 
  • Are self-isolating as a result of Covid symptoms or are sharing a household or support bubble with somebody with symptoms.

Q. When can I book my vaccine?
You’ll know when it’s your turn to have the Covid-19 vaccine, when you receive a letter, phone call, email or text inviting you for an appointment.

You need to have 2 doses of the vaccine and will need to attend 2 separate appointments. The second dose will be given 8 to 12 weeks after the first dose.

Q. How do I book my vaccine?
You can book online using the National Booking Service. If you cannot use the NHS website, you can ring 119 free of charge. 

If you've had a positive Covid-19 test, you should wait 4 weeks from the date you had the test before you book an appointment.

Q. Where will I go for my vaccine?
You may be invited to have your vaccination at one of the following:

  • A hospital 
  • Your GP surgery 
  • A vaccination centre 
  • A pharmacy 
  • A local mobile or pop-up vaccination clinic

Q.What do I need to bring along? 

Ensure on the day to bring with you:

  • A mask/face covering, unless exempt.
  • Your booking reference numbers if your appointment is at a vaccination centre. 
  • You might be asked for your NHS number. To find your number visit NHS.uk.
  • If you need a carer you can bring them with you.

Q. What to expect when you arrive

Please arrive for your appointment at the allocated time. Please do not be late or too early.  

Whether you are at a vaccination centre, local mobile or pop-up vaccination clinic, pharmacy, GP surgery or hospital you will be asked to maintain a 2 metre distance in waiting areas, to wash or sanitise your hands and wear a face covering, unless exempt. 

Q. What will happen during my appointment? 

When you are asked to go through to see the staff giving you the vaccination they will ask you about your medical history. Please tell them if you have ever had a severe allergic reaction or if you are pregnant. 

If your appointment is at a vaccination centre you will be asked for your booking reference numbers, so ensure you have these to hand.

You will then be given an injection of the vaccine into your upper arm.

Q. What happens afterwards? 

After you’ve received your vaccination you may be asked to wait for up to 15 minutes. This is in case of the unlikely event you have a serious reaction. Research has found it is very rare. If you do have a reaction, it usually happens within minutes. The staff are trained to deal with reactions and they will treat you immediately. 

You will also be given a leaflet about what to expect after your vaccination to take home with you. As well as a card recording the date, vaccine type and vaccine batch number. 

Please continue to follow current guidance, even if you have received both doses of the vaccine, as you could still spread Covid to others.

If you’ve been hesitant about getting the vaccine and think you’ve missed your chance, it’s not too late. Contact your GP surgery to book an appointment.

Your GP will be happy to talk through any questions you may have about the vaccine and I would urge you to speak to them, as well as your friends and family who have already had the vaccine to inform your decision. 

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