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About the COVID-19 vaccines

What vaccines for COVID-19 are currently available? 

The vaccines approved for use in the UK have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

To find out more about the vaccines approved in the UK, see:

Any COVID-19 vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through. The MHRA follows international standards of safety.

Other vaccines are being developed. They will only be available on the NHS once they have been thoroughly tested to make sure they are safe and effective.

So far, millions of people have been given a COVID-19 vaccine and reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions or clotting problems, have been very rare.

Is the AstraZeneca vaccine safe?

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MRHA) and World Health Organization have said people should continue taking the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine because its benefits in preventing COVID infection far outweigh any risks.

The risk of a blood clot is very low and blood clots are very rare – the chance is around four in one million. Once identified, the symptoms can be treated. This condition can also occur naturally and clotting problems are a common complication of COVID infection.

Although this condition is extremely rare, there does appear to be a higher risk in people who’ve had the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

For the vast majority of people being offered the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, the benefits outweigh the risks. It is much safer for your immune system to learn how to fight illnesses through vaccination than by catching the virus and treating it, or suffering from long covid.

If people under 40 choose not to have the AZ, they may have a longer wait for an alternative to be available.

How long does the vaccine take to become effective? 

The COVID-19 vaccination will reduce the chance of your suffering from COVID-19 disease. You may not be protected until at least seven days after your second dose of the vaccine.  

Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective, so you should continue to take recommended precautions to avoid infection. Some people may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, but this should be less severe 

We don’t yet know whether it will stop people from catching and passing on the virus, but we do expect it to reduce this risk. So, it is still important that people continue to follow social distancing rules.

Why is it important to get your COVID-19 vaccination? 

Some people may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, but this should be less severe 

The COVID-19 vaccine should help reduce the rates of serious illness and save lives and will therefore reduce pressure on the NHS and social care services.  

Can people pick what vaccine they want?   

Any vaccines that the NHS will provide will have been approved because they pass the MHRA’s tests on safety and efficacy, so people should be assured that whatever vaccine they get, it is worth their while. 

Why are you postponing second doses?

Sheffield is following the national guidance regarding the second dose of the vaccine. The UK Chief Medical Officers have agreed a longer timeframe between first and second doses so that more people can get their first dose quickly, and because the evidence shows that one dose still offers a high level of protection. This decision will allow us to get the maximum benefit for the most people in the shortest possible time and will help save lives.

If you’ve had your first vaccine dose already, the NHS will contact you when it’s time for your second dose. For most people this will be scheduled in the 12th week after their first dose. 

NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group

722 Prince of Wales Road
S9 4EU

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