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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

Seasonal COVID-19 vaccines

You may be able to get a seasonal COVID-19 vaccine if you're at increased risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19. For example, this may be due to a health condition or your age. The NHS will contact you if your NHS record suggests you may be eligible.

COVID-19 vaccines for children aged 6 months to 4 years old

Children aged 6 months to 4 years old who are at increased risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 can get a 1st and 2nd COVID-19 vaccine. They can then get a seasonal COVID-19 vaccination through their GP surgery.

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.

Most people can have any of the COVID-19 vaccines and will be offered a vaccine that gives protection from more than one type of COVID-19.

You cannot choose which vaccine you have.

Some people are only offered certain vaccines, for example:

  • if you're pregnant
  • if you're under 18 years old
  • in very rare cases if you’ve had a severe allergic reaction to one of the common vaccines you may be referred to a specialist clinic for your vaccination, or offered an alternative COVID-19 vaccine

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

Find out more about pregnancy, breastfeeding, fertility and COVID-19 vaccination

How well do the COVID-19 vaccines work?

If you're at increased risk of severe COVID-19, getting a seasonal COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others. The vaccine helps to:

  • reduce your risk of getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19
  • reduce your risk of catching and spreading COVID-19
  • protect against different strains (variants) of COVID-19

Seasonal vaccines are offered because viruses change, and protection fades over time.

A vaccine helps give you good protection from becoming seriously ill or needing to go to hospital if you catch COVID-19.

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


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

COVID-19 vaccine ingredients

The Sanofi and GSK (VidPrevtyn Beta) COVID-19 vaccine contains an oil derived from sharks.

The other COVID-19 vaccines offered by the NHS do not contain animal products, including egg.

Find out more about the COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the UK, including their ingredients:

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

Vaccination information for other parts of the UK

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