What to expect from the COVID-19 vaccination

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The below will provide information on what to expect from your COVID-19 vaccination, if you need more specific information please visit this page.

  • How the COVID-19 vaccine is given

    The COVID-19 vaccination is given as an injection into your upper arm.

    Depending on your age and if you fall into certain categories you will require certain amount of doses. To find out how many doses you need, please visit this page.



  • How safe is the COVID-19 vaccine?

    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).

    Any coronavirus 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, thousands of people have been given a COVID-19 vaccine and reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions, have been very rare. No long-term complications have been reported.

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

  • How effective is the COVID-19 vaccine?

    The 1st dose of the COVID-19 vaccine should give you good protection from coronavirus. But you need to have all of your recommended doses of the vaccine to give you longer lasting protection To find out how many doses you need, please visit this page.

    There is a chance you might still get or spread coronavirus even if you have the vaccine.

    This means it is important to:

    • continue to follow social distancing guidance
    • if you can, wear something that covers your nose and mouth in places where it's hard to stay away from other people


    Read more about why vaccines are safe and important, including how they work and what they contain.

  • COVID-19 vaccine side effects

    Most side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are mild and should not last longer than a week, such as:

    • a sore arm where the needle went in
    • feeling tired
    • a headache
    • feeling achy
    • feeling or being sick

    You can take painkillers, such as paracetamol, if you need to.

    If you have a high temperature you may have coronavirus or another infection.

    If your symptoms get worse or you are worried, call 111.

  • Allergic reactions

    Tell healthcare staff before you are vaccinated if you've ever had a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).

    You should not have the vaccine if you've ever had a serious allergic reaction to:

    • a previous vaccine
    • a previous dose of the same COVID-19 vaccine
    • some medicines, household products or cosmetics

    Serious allergic reactions are rare. If you do have a reaction to the vaccine, it usually happens in minutes. Staff giving the vaccine are trained to deal with allergic reactions and treat them immediately.

    You can find out more about the vaccine on the NHS website