The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines are safe and effective. They give you the best protection against COVID-19.
Who can get a COVID-19 vaccine
All adults aged 18 or over can now get vaccinated against COVID-19.
You do not need to wait to be contacted by the NHS.
If you were contacted but have not booked your appointments, you're still eligible and can book your appointments anytime.
How to book your COVID-19 vaccination appointments
There are 2 main ways to get a COVID-19 vaccine:
- book online now for appointments at a vaccination centre or a pharmacy
- wait to be contacted by your GP surgery and book your appointments with them
The currently available vaccines are given in 2 doses. You usually have the 2nd dose 8 to 12 weeks after the 1st dose.
If you book your appointments online, you can view, cancel or rebook them if you need to.
If you cannot book online, you can call 119 free of charge. You can speak to a translator if you need to.
If you have difficulties communicating or hearing, or are a British Sign Language (BSL) user, you can use textphone 18001 119 or the NHS 119 BSL interpreter service.
Booking your 2nd dose
If you have your 1st dose through your GP surgery, you'll be contacted when it's time to book your 2nd dose.
If you book online, you'll need to book appointments for both doses. You can manage your COVID-19 vaccination appointments to view your appointments and rebook if you need to.
Some people at high risk from COVID-19 can get earlier appointments for their 2nd dose (at 8 weeks instead of 12 weeks). Wait to be contacted if you think you're in this group and you've already booked your 2nd dose at 12 weeks.
Types of COVID-19 vaccine
The COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use in the UK are:
- Moderna vaccine
- Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine
- Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
- Janssen vaccine (available later this year)
Which vaccine will I get?
You cannot usually choose which vaccine you have. When you book, you'll only be offered appointments for vaccines that are suitable for you.
Most people can have any of the COVID-19 vaccines, but some people are only offered certain vaccines.
For example, if you're pregnant or under 40 you'll usually only be offered appointments for the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.
You should have the same vaccine for both doses, unless you had serious side effects (such as a serious allergic reaction) after your 1st dose.
How well do the COVID-19 vaccines work?
Anyone who gets COVID-19 can become seriously ill or have long-term effects (long COVID). The COVID-19 vaccines are the best way to protect yourself and others.
Research has shown the vaccines help:
- reduce your risk of getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19
- reduce your risk of catching or spreading COVID-19
- protect against COVID-19 variants
The 1st dose should give you some protection from 3 or 4 weeks after you've had it. But you need 2 doses for stronger and longer-lasting protection.
There is a chance you might still get or spread COVID-19 even if you have a vaccine, so it's important to continue to follow all social distancing guidance.
Side effects and safety
The COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the UK have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.
They can cause some side effects, but not everyone gets them.
Any side effects are usually mild and should not last longer than a week, such as:
- a sore arm from the injection
- feeling tired
- a headache
- feeling achy
- feeling or being sick
More serious side effects, such as allergic reactions or blood clotting, are very rare.
Pregnancy, breastfeeding and fertility
You can get vaccinated against COVID-19 if you're aged 18 or over and:
- you're pregnant or think you might be
- you're breastfeeding
- you're trying for a baby or might get pregnant in the future
The vaccines you'll be offered depends if you're pregnant and how old you are. The vaccines cannot give you or your baby COVID-19.
COVID-19 vaccine ingredients
The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain egg or animal products.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine contains a tiny amount of alcohol, but this is less than in some everyday foods like bread.
The vaccines are suitable for people of all faiths.
You can find out about the ingredients in the vaccines currently available in the UK: