These COVID-19 vaccine FAQs have been provided by Solent NHS Trust.
Q: Is the NHS confident the vaccines are safe?
A: Yes. The NHS will not offer any Covid-19 vaccinations to the public until independent experts have signed off that it is safe to do so. The MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) has said that both of these vaccines have good safety profiles and offer a high level of protection, and we have full confidence in their expert judgement and processes.
As with any medicine, vaccines are highly regulated products. There are checks at every stage in the development and manufacturing process, and continued monitoring once it has been authorised and is being used in the wider population.
Q: Can I get a vaccine if I don’t have an NHS Number?
A: Yes. People do not require an NHS number or GP registration to receive a vaccination and should never be denied on this basis.
Q: Can I get a vaccine if I am a Refugee/Asylum Seeker?
A: Yes. Overseas visitors to England, including anyone living in the UK without permission, will not be charged for coronavirus (COVID-19) testing, treatment and vaccination. A : No immigration checks are needed for overseas visitors if they are only tested, treated or vaccinated for COVID-19.
Q: How does the vaccine work?
A: The vaccine works by making a protein from the virus that is important for creating protection.
The protein works in the same way they do for other vaccines by stimulating the immune system to make antibodies and cells to fight the infection.
Q: Are there any side effects?
A: Like lots of others vaccines, it has been identified that some people might feel slightly unwell, but they report that no significant side effects have been observed in the tens of thousands of people involved in trials.
More information on possible side effects can be found at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/
Q: When will you publish vaccine ingredients?
A: Both vaccines’ ingredients can be found at the following links:
For the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulatory-approval-of-pfizer-biontech-vaccine-for-covid-19
For the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulatory-approval-of-covid-19-vaccine-astrazeneca
The British Islamic Medical Association have produced a helpful guide for the Muslim community which can be found at https://britishima.org/pfizer-biontech-covid19-vaccine/
Q: Were the trial participants reflective of a multi-ethnic population?
A: There is no evidence either of the vaccines will work differently in different ethnic groups.
For the Pfizer trial, participants included 9.6% black/African, 26.1% Hispanic/Latino and 3.4% Asian.
For the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine 10.1% of trial recipients were Black and 3.5% Asian.
Q: Can the vaccine alter your genetic material?
A: There is no evidence to suggest that individual genetic material will undergo an alteration after receiving the vaccine.
Q: Can I have the vaccine during Ramadan/does the vaccine invalidate fasting?
A: The British Islamic Medical Association have issued specific advice urging Muslims observing Ramadan not to delay getting the vaccine. Further information is available here: https://britishima.org/operation-vaccination/hub/statements/#FAST
Q: Does the Covid-19 vaccine affect fertility?
A: There is no evidence that the vaccine affects fertility. Most people who contract COVID-19 will develop antibody to the spike and there is no evidence of fertility problems after Covid-19 disease.
Q: What is being done to encourage vaccine uptake in black, Asian, minority ethnic and other disproportionately affected communities/groups?
A: We understand that some communities have specific concerns and may be more hesitant in taking the vaccine than others. The NHS is working with partners to ensure vaccine messages reach as diverse an audience as possible and are tailored to meet their needs.
This includes engagement with community and faith-led groups, charities and other voluntary organisations.