The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines are safe and effective. They give you the best protection against COVID-19.
COVID-19 booster vaccine
Booster vaccine doses will be available on the NHS for people most at risk from COVID-19 who have already had 2 doses of a vaccine.
Who can get a COVID-19 vaccine
People aged 18 and over (or turning 18 within 3 months) can get a 1st and 2nd dose of a vaccine.
Most children and young people aged 12 to 17 are currently only being offered a 1st dose.
How to get your COVID-19 vaccine
If you're aged 16 or over you can:
- book your COVID-19 vaccination appointments online for an appointment at a vaccination centre or pharmacy
- find a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination site to get vaccinated without needing an appointment
- wait to be contacted by your GP surgery and book your appointments with them
If you cannot book appointments 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
People aged 18 or over (or turning 18 within 3 months) are eligible for a 2nd dose.
You'll need to book a 2nd dose for 8 to 12 weeks after your 1st dose.
- If you book online, you'll be asked to book appointments for both doses. You can manage your COVID-19 vaccination appointments to view your appointments and rebook if you need to.
- If you had your 1st dose at a walk-in vaccination site, you can book your 2nd COVID-19 vaccination appointment online. You'll need to wait 24 hours after your 1st dose before you can book.
- If you have your 1st dose through your GP surgery, you'll be contacted when it's time to book your 2nd dose.
Children aged 12 to 15
Most children can get their COVID-19 vaccine at school or can book their COVID-19 vaccination appointment online.
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.
- if you're pregnant or under 40 you'll usually be offered appointments for the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines
- if you're under 18, you'll only be offered the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
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 follow advice about how to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19.
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 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.
You can find out about the ingredients in the vaccines currently available in the UK: