The COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the UK have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness. The safety of the vaccines continues to be monitored.
Like all medicines, the COVID-19 vaccines can cause side effects, but not everyone gets them. Most side effects are mild and shouldn’t last any longer than a week. These include:
- A sore arm from the injection
- Feeling tired
- A headache
- Feeling achy
- Feeling or being sick
You cannot catch COVID-19 from the vaccine but you may have caught it just before or after your vaccination.
Serious side effects, such as allergic reactions or blood clotting, are extremely rare.
Development of vaccines
All vaccines used in the UK must be approved by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which makes sure the vaccines meet strict international standards for safety, quality and effectiveness. Once a vaccine is approved, it’s closely monitored to continue to make sure it is safe and effective.
You can watch a video about how COVID-19 vaccines were developed quickly and safely on the NHS website, where you’ll also find further information about vaccine safety.
There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines have any effect on your chances of becoming pregnant.
You can have the vaccine if you’re aged 18 and over and you’re:
- Trying for a baby or might get pregnant in the future
- Pregnant or think you might be
The vaccines you’ll be offered depends on if you’re pregnant and how old you are. The vaccines cannot give you or your baby COVID-19.
Read more about pregnancy, breastfeeding fertility and the vaccination on the NHS website and read the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Q&As on COVID-19 vaccines, pregnancy, breastfeeding and fertility.
Most people with allergies (including food or penicillin allergies) can be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Tell healthcare staff before you’ve been vaccinated if you’ve ever had a serious allergic reaction (including anaphylaxis). They may ask what you’re allergic to, to make sure you can have the vaccine.
Serious allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccines are very rare.
Types of COVID-19 vaccine
There are currently four COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the UK. These are:
- Janssen (available later this year)
When you book, you’ll be offered appointments for vaccines that are suitable for you. This might be due to your age or if you are pregnant for example.
Walk-in clinics should advertise what type of vaccines are being offered at the clinic.
Booking your second vaccine
You should have the same vaccine for both doses, unless you had a serious allergic reaction to the first.
If you book your appointments online, you’ll be asked to book your first and second appointments at the same time. You can manage your appointments on the NHS website to view appointments and re-book if needed.
If you have your first dose at a walk-in clinic, you can book your second COVID-19 vaccination appointment online after 24 hours of your first dose. Or you can attend a walk-in clinic 8 weeks after your first dose.