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About COVID-19 vaccination

COVID-19 vaccination is effective and the safest way to protect yourself from COVID-19.

Who can get a COVID-19 vaccine

Additional protection for people with a severely weakened immune system

COVID-19 vaccines are normally given seasonally, but some people with a severely weakened immune system may need additional protection at other times.

Seasonal COVID-19 vaccines

The NHS will contact you if your NHS record suggests you may be eligible for a seasonal spring COVID-19 vaccine.

You may be able to get a spring COVID-19 vaccine from April 2024 if you:

  • are aged 75 years old or over
  • live in a care home for older adults
  • are aged 6 months old or over and have a weakened immune system

Find out more about getting a COVID-19 vaccine, including if you're eligible and how to get it

Which COVID-19 vaccine will I get?

There are several different COVID-19 vaccines in use in the UK. They have all met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.

You cannot choose which COVID-19 vaccine you have. Most people can have any of the COVID-19 vaccines and you will be offered a vaccine that is suitable for you.

Some people are only offered certain vaccines, for example:

  • if you're under 18 years old
  • in very rare cases if you've had a severe allergic reaction to one of the vaccines you may be referred to a specialist clinic for your vaccination

Children under 12 years old will be given smaller doses than older children and adults.

Find out more about the commonly available COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the UK:

Read the guide to the use of human and animal products in vaccine on GOV.UK

How well do the COVID-19 vaccines work?

If you're at increased risk of illness from COVID-19, getting a COVID-19 vaccine gives you good protection and helps to:

  • reduce your risk of getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19
  • reduce your risk of needing to go to hospital if you catch COVID-19
  • reduce your risk of catching and spreading COVID-19
  • protect against different strains (variants) of COVID-19

COVID-19 vaccines are offered because viruses change, and protection fades over time.

Read more about vaccine effectiveness statistics on the Office of National Statistics website

Read the monitoring reports of the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination on GOV.UK


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.

Do the vaccines cause side effects?

The COVID-19 vaccines can cause some side effects, but not everyone gets them.

Find out more about COVID-19 vaccine side effects and safety

Vaccination information for other parts of the UK

Page last reviewed: 21 March 2023
Next review due: 21 March 2026