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Date updated: 17/05/2022

The COVID-19 vaccine reduces your chance of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 - which can be deadly.

Having the COVID-19 vaccine is free and easy:

  • Don’t miss your first appointment
  • Make sure you get your COVID-19 booster vaccination, check if you qualify and find out more and book on the NHS website. More information below.
  • If you are 75 or over, live in a care home (for older people) or are aged 12 years and over with a weakened immune system, get your spring booster
  • Make sure you get your first dose and stay safe afterwards
  • Make sure you get your second dose
  • It’s safe for the vast majority of people to have a COVID-19 vaccine
  • You don’t need to be registered with a GP
  • You will not be charged for a vaccine. Paid-for vaccines are highly likely to be a scam

Our Director of Public Health has produced a video answering your questions about the vaccine roll-out and we show you what you can expect when you get your vaccine in the videos below.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines are safe and effective. 

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

You can find information about how vaccines work and why they are important on the NHS website.

The COVID-19 vaccine, like any other drug has side effects. They are usually mild and don’t last long. You can read more about the side effects on the NHS website.

Messaging on ingredients - the vaccines do not contain any meat derivatives or porcine products or material of foetal or animal origin. A detailed review of the vaccines and their ingredients have been provided by the MHRA and can be found at the following links:

You can find information regarding the vaccine on the East London Health and Care Partnership website.

While the NHS will write to people based on their GP records, this doesn’t mean that people that don’t have an NHS number or aren’t registered with a GP won’t be able to get vaccinated through the programme.

It does however help to be registered with a GP to help the NHS check for any reasons that someone might not be able to have a vaccine and ensure there is a record that both doses of the vaccine have been had.

Anyone can register with a GP surgery. You do not need proof of address or immigration status. Details of how to register with a GP.

Overseas visitors to England, including anyone living in the UK without permission, will not be charged for:

  • testing for COVID-19 (even if the test shows they do not have COVID-19)
  • treatment for COVID-19, including for a related problem called multisystem inflammatory syndrome that affects some children
  • vaccination against COVID-19

No immigration checks are needed for overseas visitors if they are only tested, treated or vaccinated for COVID-19.

Dr Aruna Ramineni, consultant gynaecologist and lead for fertility at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, explains that there is no evidence of the vaccine having an effect on fertility.

You can get vaccinated against COVID-19 if you're pregnant and aged 18 or over.

It's preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. This is because they've been more widely used during pregnancy in other countries and no safety concerns have been identified.

Read more on pregnancy and COVID-19 on the NHS website.

The NHS is vaccinating people:

  • who are clinically extremely vulnerable (high risk)
  • aged 12 and over
  • with a condition that puts them at higher risk (moderate risk) or you are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer of someone at increased risk of COVID-19 mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable
  • living or working in a care home for older adults
  • with a learning disability
  • who are frontline health and social care workers

Children aged 12-15

All children aged 12 to 15 years are being offered two doses of the vaccine (12 weeks apart) as part of the school-based COVID-19 vaccination programme. Children who are 12 years old and over on the day the School Age Immunisation Service (SAIS) team visits the school, will be offered a vaccination as part of the in-school vaccination programme.

Children in this age group who are clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV), or live with someone who is immunosuppressed, will be offered two doses and will be contacted by their GP to arrange this.

People aged 16 or over

You do not need to wait, you can book your COVID-19 vaccination appointments online now.

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.

You can book your COVID-19 booster vaccine dose online if you have had two doses of the vaccine at least three months ago and are:

  • aged 16 and over
  • a frontline health or social care worker
  • living or working in a care home

People who are pregnant and in one of the eligible groups can also get a booster dose.

Find out more and book on the NHS website.

You do not need to show ID, or to be registered with a GP or have an NHS number to access the vaccine.

Most booster doses will be Pfizer or Moderna, which may be different from the vaccine you had for your first or second dose.

Anyone aged 12+ can access a first or second dose and anyone aged 16+ can access a booster dose. Visit the NHS website for more information.

A wide range of information about COVID-19 and the vaccines in many different languages is available on the Greater London Authority’s website.

There are the vaccination sites serving the City of London and Hackney on the Hackney Council website.