After vaccination - Frequently asked questions
Can I leave the vaccination centre straight after I’ve been vaccinated?
Depending on the type of vaccine you have, you might be asked to wait for 15 minutes after you have been vaccinated. You are advised not to drive for 15 mins after being vaccinated.
Can I go back to work after having my vaccine?
Yes, you should be able to work as long as you feel well. If your arm is particularly sore, you may find heavy lifting difficult. If you feel unwell or very tired you should rest and avoid operating machinery or driving.
The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19 infection, however, you will need to continue to follow the guidance in your workplace, including wearing the correct personal protective equipment and take part in any COVID-19 testing programmes.
Are there any side effects?
Like all medicines, the COVID-19 vaccine can cause side effects, but not everyone gets them. Any side effects are usually mild and go away within a few days.
Common 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 from the injection
- feeling tired
- a headache
- feeling achy
- feeling or being sick
You may also get a high temperature or feel hot or shivery 1 or 2 days after your vaccination. You can take painkillers such as paracetamol if you need to. If your symptoms get worse or you're worried, call 111.
If you have a high temperature that lasts longer than 2 days, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, you may have COVID-19. Stay at home and get a test.
You cannot catch COVID-19 from the vaccine, but you may have caught it just before or after your vaccination.
Report a side effect:
Very rare side effects
Serious side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine are very rare.
Tell healthcare staff before you are vaccinated if you've ever had a serious allergic reaction.
You should not have the COVID-19 vaccine if you have ever had a serious allergic reaction (including anaphylaxis) to:
- a previous dose of the same vaccine
- any of the ingredients in the vaccine
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.
The MHRA is carrying out a detailed review of reports of an extremely rare blood clotting problem affecting a small number of people who had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
It's not yet clear why it affects some people.
The COVID-19 vaccine can help stop you getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19. For people aged 40 or over and those with other health conditions, the benefits of being vaccinated with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh any risk of clotting problems.
For people under 40 without other health conditions, it's preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine instead of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
Urgent advice:Call 111 immediately if:
You get any of these symptoms starting from around 4 days to 4 weeks after being vaccinated:
- a severe headache that is not relieved with painkillers or is getting worse
- a headache that feels worse when you lie down or bend over
- a headache that's unusual for you along with blurred vision, feeling or being sick, problems speaking, weakness, drowsiness or seizures (fits)
- a rash that looks like small bruises or bleeding under the skin
- shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling or persistent abdominal (tummy) pain
What should I do if I experience any side-effects after my vaccination that I’m concerned about?
If you are feeling unwell for longer than a few days or you have any more serious side-effects (like a very severe headache that doesn’t go away, a rash that looks like bruising, shortness of breath, chest pain, a swollen leg or continual tummy pain), you should call 111 in the first instance.
Are there any longer-term side effects?
These are important details which the Medicines Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will consider when assessing vaccines for use. All patients will be provided with information on the vaccine they have received, how to look out for any side effects, and what to do if they do occur, including reporting them to the MHRA.
When will I have immunity after I’ve been vaccinated?
The 1st dose should give you good protection from 3 or 4 weeks after you've had it. You need 2 doses for stronger and longer-lasting protection.
Can I go back to normal after I’ve been vaccinated?
The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19 infection, and a full course will reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill. We don’t know how much it will reduce the risk of you passing on the virus. So it is important to continue to follow current national guidance.
To protect yourself and your family, friends and colleagues, you MUST still:
- practise social distancing
- wear a face mask
- wash your hands carefully and frequently
- open windows to let fresh air in
- follow the current guidance
When do I have to have my second dose appointment and how do I book it?
People aged 16 or over are eligible for a second dose.
People aged 18 or over should have their second dose from 8 weeks after their first dose.
Most people aged 16 or 17 should have their second dose from 12 weeks after their first dose.
- If you book online, you'll be asked to book appointments for both doses. You can manage your COVID-19 vaccination appointments to view your appointments and rebook if you need to.
- If you had your first dose at a walk-in vaccination site, you can book your 2nd COVID-19 vaccination appointment online. You'll need to wait 24 hours after your first dose before you can book.
- If you have your first dose through your GP surgery, you'll be contacted when it's time to book your second dose.
How can I prove that I’ve been vaccinated?
If you're planning to travel abroad, you can get proof that you've been vaccinated against coronavirus (COVID-19). This is your COVID-19 vaccination status.
You can get your COVID-19 vaccination status if all the following apply:
- you have had a full course of the COVID-19 vaccine
- you were vaccinated at a GP surgery, vaccination centre or hospital in England
- you are aged 16 or older
Currently a "full course" means you have had 2 doses of any approved COVID-19 vaccine.
Children under the age of 16 cannot get a COVID-19 vaccination status. They may need to show a negative test result instead. Check the entry requirements for the country you’re visiting.
You can choose how to get your COVID-19 vaccination status:
- in the NHS App
- on the NHS website
- by calling 119
More information can be found at: