For many of those who were vaccinated at the start of the programme, the time will come over the next few weeks to return for their second dose.
Vaccinated at a hospital hub or GP-led site
People who received their first dose in a hospital hub or through a GP-led service (primary care network site) will be contacted to receive their second dose, if they haven’t already. You do not need to contact the NHS. This could potentially come at fairly short notice, but will most likely be in the week before your appointment.
It is extremely important that if you had your first dose through a GP-led service, you have your second dose at the same site as the second dose will be allocated specifically to this site and we need to make sure that you receive the correct vaccine – the same vaccine you received for your first dose.
Vaccinated at a large vaccination centre
People who booked their appointments through the national booking service (online at www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine or by ringing 119) should have booked both their first and second appointments at the same time. If you do not have a second appointment booked but were vaccinated at one of the large vaccination centres, you can book your second appointment via the national booking system.
People who rang 119 will have been given details of their second appointment over the phone.
People who booked online can remind themselves of their the place and time of their second dose using the ‘manage my appointments’ section on www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine.
The same vaccine should be used for both doses, and those who received the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in December can be assured that there is enough supply going to the right places to ensure that they can get their second dose.
The first dose of both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine offer good levels of protection, but to get maximum protection from COVID-19, everyone will need to get a second dose.
We are urging people to come forward for their second dose of the vaccine when they are contacted or if they have an appointment booked.
Vaccination experts recommended that people receive their second dose around 12 weeks after their first.
The process of providing second doses is progressing according to when people received the first dose, which means the top priority groups that received their first dose of the vaccine at the start of the programme will be the first to receive their second dose.
Delaying the second dose
Following a review of clinical evidence and latest public health data, the JCVI and the UK Chief Medical Officers have updated guidance for the NHS on the second dose for both vaccines, meaning they can be safely offered up to 12 weeks apart.
To explain, the NHS is following new guidance from the Government’s expert advisors which says that prioritising a first dose for as many people as possible will save more lives.
This is because even with just one dose the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been estimated to offer 89 per cent effectiveness from two weeks after it is given and the Oxford/AstraZeneca has been estimated to offer 74 per cent effectiveness from two weeks after it is given.
As the Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jonathan Van Tam, has said: “The evidence clearly shows vaccinated individuals get almost complete protection after the first dose. Simply put, every time we vaccinate someone a second time, we are not vaccinating someone else for the first time. It means we are missing an opportunity to greatly reduce the chances of the most vulnerable people getting severely ill from COVID-19. If a family has two elderly grandparents and there are two vaccines available, it is better to give both 89 per cent than to give one 95 per cent protection with two quick doses, and the other grandparent no protection at all.”
The Government’s ambition, if supplies allow, is to have offered vaccines to the most vulnerable 13 million people by the middle of February.
Therefore, as a key part of the national effort to protect as many people in at-risk groups as quickly as possible, booster doses will now be delivered within 12 weeks of the first dose.
It is important to note that even when you have received your vaccine, you must continue to follow government guidance on social distancing and wearing a mask, as well as the additional measures in place in your area.
Find out more here Healthier Lancs and South Cumbria :: Getting my vaccination (healthierlsc.co.uk).