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COVID-19 vaccine FAQs

This page is updated regularly. For more information about the COVID-19 vaccination visit

If you can't find the answer to your question below, please email  

Last updated:30/04/21

How and when will I be invited for my second dose vaccination?

You need two doses of the vaccine to get the best protection from the virus. Your second dose will be given around 11 to 12 weeks after your first. It will be the same type of vaccine and it will be at the same place you had your first dose. The NHS will contact you near the time for your second dose. Please don't contact your GP to find out when you will hear from them.

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I’m in a priority group, when will I get the vaccine? 

You can book an appointment for your first dose online for an appointment at a larger vaccination site in Sheffield Arena or Wakefield for example, or you can wait to be contacted for an appointment in Barnsley. If you can, we always recommend you have your vaccine at the first place available to you.

You can book online or call 119 if:

  • you are aged 40 or over
  • you are at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable)
  • you have a condition that puts you at higher risk (clinically vulnerable group 6, see details below)
  • you have a learning disability
  • you get a Carer's Allowance, get support following an assessment by your local authority or your GP record shows you are a carer
  • If you think you are an eligible unpaid carer who has not been contacted for your coronavirus vaccination, speak to your GP surgery.

Group 6

People aged 16 or over in priority group 6 are eligible for the vaccine. See below for the conditions.

Clinical conditions list:

  • a blood cancer (such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma)
  • diabetes
  • dementia
  • a heart problem
  • a chest complaint or breathing difficulties, including bronchitis, emphysema or severe asthma
  • a kidney disease
  • a liver disease
  • lowered immunity due to disease or treatment (such as HIV infection, steroid medication, chemotherapy or radiotherapy)
  • rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or psoriasis (who may require long term immunosuppressive treatments)
  • have had an organ transplant
  • had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
  • a neurological or muscle wasting condition
  • a severe or profound learning disability
  • a problem with your spleen, example sickle cell disease, or you have had your spleen removed
  • are seriously overweight (BMI of 40 and above)
  • are severely mentally ill
  • carers -  the vaccine will also be offered to adult carers – those who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those unpaid carers who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill.

Further detailed information on priority groups is available in the COVID-19 Green Book, chapter 14a.See the full list of priority groups.

I’m a carer, will I be offered a COVID-19 vaccine?

If you are 18 or over and you receive carer’s allowance, or you are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person then you can get vaccinated now. If you are in this group contact your GP practice to check about the next available appointments.

Is my GP giving COVID-19 vaccines?

Your GP practice is working with other GP practices across Barnsley to ensure that everyone in the priority groups is offered a vaccine. You will be offered an appointment at one of the GP vaccination centres across Barnsley. You will also be invited to a large scale vaccination venue in our region.

I have been invited to a large vaccination centre but I can’t travel there. Can I wait to have my vaccine in Barnsley?

You are encouraged to book your vaccine appointment as soon as you can, wherever you get the first appointment offered. 

Whichever site you attend for your first dose, you will need to go back to the same site for your second dose which will be after 11 weeks from your first.

There are a number of large scale vaccination venues, as well as larger pharmacies in our region. These include Sheffield, Wakefield, Leeds for example.  One of those sites is at Sheffield Arena. For these sites you can book online or call 119. You can watch this short video which shows where to go and what happens when you arrive at the Arena.

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I am in one of the eligible groups and I haven't been invited to have a vaccine by anyone?

If you are 50 or over, or you have been asked to shield, or you have an underlying health condition (group 6 see above) and you haven't received an invite of any sort - letter, text, or call from a GP practice, please get in touch. We will be able to advise you on how to get your vaccine. Please email 

When will care home residents and staff get their vaccine?

GP practices have now visited every care home for older adults to offer residents and staff the vaccine. They will continue to monitor this over the coming weeks to offer the vaccine to any residents or staff who were unable to have it in the first visit, or who are a new resident who hasn't already been vaccinated. If you think this is the case please talk to the care home team in the first instance.

Can I visit a care home if either I, or the resident, has had a COVID-19 vaccine?

You can read the latest guidance on visiting someone in a care home on the Barnsley Council website.

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What happens when I go for my COVID-19 vaccine appointment?

There will be a team on hand to make your appointment visit run as smoothly as possible. There are a few things you can do to help us:

  • Please try to arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. If you do arrive early, please stay safe in your car until it is time for your appointment to help maintain social distancing measures. It is also cold at this time of year, so please wrap up warm.
  • Please wear your face coverings as you will be entering a medical building.
  • If you need help with mobility please alert one of the staff and we will help support you and navigate you through the clinic. 

When you arrive, volunteer marshals will show you where to go and you will be asked to sign in at a reception area.

Once you have had your vaccination, you may be required to wait for 15 minutes to ensure there are no adverse side effects. You must then leave the premises as soon as you are invited to do so.

If you have your NHS number to hand, then bring it along with you to your appointment as it is helpful. You can find your NHS number on any correspondence from the NHS or via the NHS app.

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How many people have been vaccinated so far?

The latest figures to 25th April show that around 128,069 Barnsley people had received their first dose of the vaccine and over 52, 896 people have now had their second of two doses. Figures for the total numbers of people who have been vaccinated in the UK and across our region are updated regularly and are available on the NHS England website.

I’m a health or care provider, when will I be able to get a vaccine?

Front line health and care workers who meet the criteria as set out within the COVID-19: Green Book are part of the priority groups. This includes; 

  • Staff involved in direct patient care - This includes staff who have frequent face-to-face clinical contact with patients and who are directly involved in patient care in either secondary or primary care/community settings. This includes doctors, dentists, midwives and nurses, paramedics and ambulance staff, pharmacists, optometrists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and radiographers It should also include those working in independent, voluntary and non-standard healthcare settings such as hospices, and community-based mental health or addiction services. Staff working on the COVID vaccination programme, temporary staff, students, trainees and volunteers who are working with patients must also be included. If you think you are in this group and haven't been offered a vaccine please email us here at the CCG. 
  • Non-clinical staff in secondary or primary care/community healthcare settings - This includes non-clinical ancillary staff who may have social contact with patients but are not directly involved in patient care. This group includes receptionists, ward clerks, porters and cleaners
  • Laboratory and pathology staff - Hospital-based laboratory and mortuary staff who frequently handle or collect or handle potentially infected specimens, including respiratory, gastrointestinal and blood specimens should be eligible as they may also have social contact with patients. This may also include cleaners, porters, secretaries and receptionists in laboratories. Front line funeral operatives and mortuary technicians / embalmers are both at risk of exposure and likely to spend a considerable amount of time in care homes and hospital settings where they may also expose multiple patients. Staff working in non-hospital-based laboratories and those academic or commercial research laboratories who handle clinical specimens or potentially infected samples will be able to use effective protective equipment in their work and should be at low risk of exposure
  • Front line social care workers- This would include: ● those working in long-stay residential and nursing care homes or other long-stay care facilities where rapid spread is likely to follow introduction of infection and cause high morbidity and mortality ● social care staff directly involved in the care of their patients or clients ● others involved directly in delivering social care such that they and vulnerable patients/ clients are at increased risk of exposure. Click here to find out more about getting the vaccine in Barnsley. 

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Is the NHS confident the 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.  The MHRA, the official UK regulator, have said this vaccine is very safe and highly effective, 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.

Updated 8 April 2021: The MHRA is carrying out a detailed review of reports of a very rare blood clotting problem affecting a small number of people who have had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

The problem can also happen in people who have not been vaccinated and it's not yet clear why it affects some people.

The COVID-19 vaccine can help stop you getting seriously ill or dying from coronavirus. For people aged 30 or over and those with other health conditions, the benefits of being vaccinated outweigh any risk of clotting problems.

For people under 30 without other health conditions, it's currently advised that it's preferable to have another COVID-19 vaccine instead of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine if you haven't had your 1st dose yet. If you have already had a first dose of AZ vaccine without suffering any serious side effects you should complete the course. This includes people aged 18 to 29 years who are health and social care workers, unpaid carers and family members of those who are immunosuppressed. It is expected that the first dose of the vaccine will have given you some protection, particularly against severe disease.

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 and occurs 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

Find out more about COVID-19 vaccination and blood clotting on GOV.UK

How effective is the COVID-19 vaccine?

The 1st dose of the COVID-19 vaccine should give you good protection from coronavirus from 3 or 4 weeks after you've had it.

But you need to have the 2 doses of the vaccine to give you longer lasting protection.

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

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 Should people who have already had COVID-19 get vaccinated?

Yes, they should get vaccinated. We know that your body will produce a better and stronger antibody response if you have the vaccine than if you get the infection naturally. 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.  

People currently unwell and experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine until at least four weeks after they have recovered.

What this advice on why you should still get your vaccine if you have had COVID-19.

Why is it important to get your COVID-19 vaccination?

Getting your COVID-19 vaccination as soon as you can, should protect you and may help to protect your family and those you care for. 

The COVID-19 vaccine should help reduce the rates of serious illness and save lives and will therefore reduce pressure on the NHS and social care services. 

Is the vaccine vegan/vegetarian friendly?

Yes, the vaccines do not contain any meat derivatives or porcine products. If, and when, further vaccines are approved we will publish information about known allergens or ingredients that are important for certain faiths, cultures and beliefs. 

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What is the current advice if you're of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding? 

You do not need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination. The vaccine cannot give you or your baby COVID-19.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has updated its advice to recommend you may be able to have the vaccine if you're pregnant and:

  • at high risk of getting coronavirus because of where you work
  • have a health condition that means you're at high risk of serious complications of coronavirus

You can have the COVID-19 vaccine if you're breastfeeding.

Read the latest COVID-19 vaccine advice if you're pregnant, may get pregnant or are breastfeeding on GOV.UK

Read the latest Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and Royal College of Midwives statement on the COVID-19 vaccine and fertility

Who cannot have the vaccine?

People who are suffering from a fever-type illness should postpone having the vaccine until they have recovered. 

People currently unwell and experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine until at least four weeks after they have recovered. 

Are there any known or anticipated 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 may not be protected until at least seven days after your second dose of the vaccine. 

Very common side effects include:

  • Having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection. This tends to be worst around 1-2 days after the vaccine
  • Feeling tired
  • Headache
  • General aches, or mild flu like symptoms

As with all vaccines, appropriate treatment and care will be available in case of a rare anaphylactic event following administration. 

How many doses of the vaccine will be required and when?

You are required to have two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, 11-12 weeks apart. You may not be protected until at least seven days after your second dose of vaccine. 

I have had my flu vaccine, do I need the COVID-19 vaccine as well?

The flu vaccine does not protect you from COVID-19. As you are eligible for both vaccines you should have them both, but normally separated by at least a week. 

Will the COVID-19 vaccine protect me from flu? 

No, the COVID-19 vaccine will not protect you against the flu. If you have been offered a flu vaccine, please try to have this as soon as possible to help protect you, your family and patients from flu this winter. 

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Can I volunteer to help out at the vaccination sites?

Barnsley CVS is working with the CCG and our partners as part of the delivery of the local vaccination programme. They have an important role in providing marshalling volunteers to help with the smooth running of the programme.

We've been truly humbled by the fantastic response from members of our local communities coming forward in large numbers to volunteer at the vaccination sites. On behalf of the vaccination programme, thank you to everyone who has volunteered their time, energy and enthusiasm so far and continues to do so. 

Due to receiving such a great response, the recruitment for volunteer marshals for the vaccination sites is currently on hold.  However, if you are interested in finding out about other volunteering opportunities across the borough please contact Barnsley CVS via email at and they will be able to provide you with further details.

I'm a registered clinician or recently retired and interested in being involved as a vaccinator at one of the vaccination sites, who do I contact? 

If you are a registered clinician or recently retired and interested in being involved as a vaccinator to support the delivery of the local vaccination programme, please email us at  with your details for follow up under the subject heading vaccinators. 

We are a local business, is there a way that we can offer our premises for support with the vaccination programme?

We have received a number of offers of support from local and national businesses in relation to the use of their premises for the delivery of our Barnsley Vaccination Programme.  Whilst we are extremely grateful for these kind offers of support, currently three designated sites have been agreed within the borough that already have the requisite infrastructure in place and at the moment the NHS locally are not being asked to identify more. 

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