COVID-19 vaccine: what you need to know

What you need to know about the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Islington, including why it's important to have the vaccine.

This article was last updated on 24 September 2021. For the latest information on COVID-19 visit the North Central London NHS website.

The Covid vaccination programme is well underway in Islington. As of 16 September, the NHS has given over 1.95 million jabs in North Central London.

Adults will need two injections. You will receive your second dose up to 8-12 weeks after the first, regardless of the vaccine type. The second dose completes the course and is important for longer-term protection.

The #CovidVaccine​ is the best way to protect yourself and the people you love.

Frequently Asked Questions: COVID-19 vaccine

Here are some FAQs to help you get the information you need to know about the biggest vaccination programme in history, with a particular focus on how the programme is being rolled out in Islington.

When will I get my vaccine?

The NHS has a clear vaccine delivery plan and will contact you when it's your turn to get the vaccine as quickly and easily as possible.  

All adults can now come forward to book their vaccination through the national NHS booking service. You can also call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week.

Covid-19 booster vaccinations

COVID booster jabs are now being offered to people aged 50+, and health / social care workers. In both cases, there needs to have been at least a six month gap since your second COVID jab.

If you qualify, you can book your booster jab here: Book or manage your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Find out more about booster jabs

Walk-in vaccination clinics.

Many vaccination clinics offer walk-in appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations, without needing to book in advance. For more information on walk-in clinics, visit the North Central London NHS website.

Find out more

Vaccinations for children and young people

If you are aged 16 to 17

All 16 and 17 year olds are eligible for one dose of the vaccine. You do not need your parents’ consent to get the vaccine if you’re 16 or over.

If you are aged 16 or 17 years old, you should wait to be contacted by your GP by text or letter to arrange an appointment at your GP.  Some walk-in centres are also offering the vaccine to people aged 16 or 17. You can find a centre near you by visiting the North Central London NHS website.

If you are aged 12 to 15

Children aged 12 to 15 can already get vaccinated against COVID-19 if you live with someone who is more likely to get infections, or you have a condition that means you are at high-risk from COVID-19

The Government has announced that all children aged 12 to 15 in England will now be offered a single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Children will be offered one dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, delivered through a school-based vaccination programme, the same as for HPV and Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio.

If you receive home schooling, are in secure services, or specialist mental health settings, then provision will be put in place to ensure you are still offered one dose of the vaccine.

Parental, guardian or carer consent will be sought before vaccinations are given in line with existing school vaccination programme policies.

Children and young people - Frequently asked questions

How will I be contacted when it's time for my vaccination?

  1. All Islington patients will be contacted by their GP to attend a local GP site as they become eligible. A text message-based booking system will be used for those that have mobiles. Calls will still be made to patients with no mobiles and to those who don't respond to the text.
  2.  Patients will also be invited to attend large vaccination centres by the national NHS Booking Service. The NHS Booking Service looks at GP records of eligible people and sends them a letter or text inviting them to book via a website or by calling 119.

Where are the vaccination sites?

There are two local GP sites offering Covid vaccinations:

  1. Bingfield Primary Care Centre, 8 Bingfield Street, N1 0AL
  2. Hanley Primary Care Centre, 51 Hanley Road, N4 3DU

The National Booking Service offers the option to book an appointment at many local pharmacies and a range of larger vaccination sites including:

  1. The Excel Centre in East London
  2. The Arc Centre, St Paul Street, N1
  3. The Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, N1 0QH

What do I do if I am offered an appointment at a large vaccination centre when I already have an offer to attend my local GP site?

The National Booking Service cannot tell if the patients on its lists have already booked an appointment at their local GP site.  This means you may receive an invitation from the National Booking Service when you’ve already had your vaccination at a local health centre or you have already booked an appointment with your local GP site.

If you been invited to attend your local GP site but have also received an invitation from the National Booking Service to attend one of the large vaccination centres you may decide to attend wherever is most convenient for you. If at all possible you should try not to cancel appointments that are already booked.

Should I attend my vaccination appointment if I have Covid symptoms, or if someone in my household has Covid symptoms?

No. If you, or anyone in your household has symptoms, you should not go for your vaccination. If you have to self-isolate, you should also not go for your vaccination. When your isolation period is over you should re-arrange your appointment by contacting your GP.

What should I expect on the day?

You should arrive at the vaccination centre/ GP practice a few minutes before your appointment time and not any earlier. This is to ensure that the site can maintain social distancing in the waiting areas. You will also be required to wear a face-covering (if you can) and to sanitise your hands on arrival. There will be spare face masks if you forget your own and plenty of sanitiser for you to use whenever you need to. You may be asked to wait for 15 minutes after the vaccination.

Please do not be late. This is essential to maintain safe social distancing at the centres.

Do I need to bring anything with me?

As well as a face covering (if you can wear one), you may wish to bring some form of ID to the centre. Apart from that, you don’t need to bring anything with you. The vaccine is free, you will not be charged for your vaccinations.

What if I can’t get there on my own?

If you are housebound a home visit will be arranged for your appointments via your GP.

If you are not housebound but need support attending the appointment due to health and/or disability issues, a taxi transfer service is available from Age UK Islington. A carer, family member, or friend who could support your access to the vaccination site may accompany you in the taxi. You must be referred to this scheme by your GP practice. (Patients who have access to the taxi card scheme or other forms of transport to the vaccination site are not eligible for this service).

More information about vaccines

Vaccines teach your immune system how to create antibodies that protect you from diseases. It's much safer for your immune system to learn this through vaccination than by catching the diseases. Once a vaccine has trained your immune system to know how to fight a disease, it can often protect you for many years. 

Is the NHS confident the COVID-19 vaccine is safe?

Yes. The NHS will not offer any COVID-19 vaccinations to the public until experts have signed off that it is safe to do so. Three vaccines have been approved for use so far. One is produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and one by Oxford/AstraZeneca. The third vaccine is produced by Moderna. The MHRA, the official UK regulator, has said that the vaccines are very safe and offer high levels of protection.

Do the coronavirus vaccines contain pork gelatine or other animal products?

  • No they don’t. The approved COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any animal products.
  • They do not contain common allergens such as latex, milk, lactose, gluten, egg, maize/corn, or peanuts.
  • The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine does contain a tiny amount of ethanol (the compound found in alcoholic drinks) but much less than is found naturally in a banana or a slice of bread for example
  • The Muslim Council of Britain have approved both vaccinations for individuals from Muslim communities. The British Board of Scholars and Imams provide further guidance here.

Side effects

Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short-term, and not everyone gets them. Even if you do have symptoms after the first dose, you still need to have the second dose. You won’t have full protection until at least seven days after your second dose of the vaccine. 

Very common side effects include: tenderness in the arm, feeling tired, headache, and mild flu like symptoms. As with all vaccines, appropriate care will be available in the very rare case of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) following the injection.

I'm pregnant, can I still get the vaccine?

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that pregnant women should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as the rest of the population, based on their age and clinical risk group.

There have been no specific safety concerns identified with any brand of COVID-19 vaccines in relation to pregnancy. 

It is preferable for pregnant women in the UK to be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines where available. There is no evidence to suggest that other vaccines are unsafe for pregnant women, but more research is needed.

Women who are planning pregnancy, are in the immediate postpartum or are breastfeeding can be vaccinated with any vaccine, depending on their age and clinical risk group.

Is the vaccine linked to infertility?

No. There is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines will affect fertility. Learn more.

I have already had Covid. Is it still worth having the vaccine?

Yes, you should still get vaccinated. We do not know how much immunity you get from having already had the virus. There is no evidence of any safety concerns from vaccinating individuals with a past history of COVID-19 infection, or with detectable COVID-19 antibody, so people who have had COVID-19 disease (whether confirmed or suspected) can still receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it is their time to do so. 

Do I need to self-isolate if I'm fully vaccinated?

In England from 16 August, if you’re fully vaccinated or under 18, you will not need to self-isolate following close contact with someone who has COVID-19. You’ll still need to take a PCR test and self-isolate if it’s positive.

How do I prove my vaccine status?

An NHS COVID Pass shows your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination details or test results. This is your COVID-19 status. You may be asked to show your pass to get into some events, where the COVID Pass is being trialed, or to travel abroad.

A digital COVID pass is available through the NHS App or the NHS website. A paper version is also available online.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine compulsory?

There are no plans to make the COVID-19 vaccine compulsory. Following consultation earlier this year, from October 2021 people who work in care homes – both staff and volunteers – will need to be fully vaccinated. There are some exemptions and the requirement to be fully vaccinated will not extend to people who are visiting friends and families.

Protect yourself from fraud

In England, the COVID-19 vaccines will only be available via the NHS. You can be contacted by the NHS, your employer, a GP surgery or pharmacy local to you, to receive your vaccine.

Remember, the vaccine is free of charge. At no point will you be asked to pay.

  • The NHS will never ask you for your bank account or card details.
  • The NHS will never ask you for your PIN or banking password.
  • The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.
  • The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.

Find out more and report fraud