Vaccine eligibility - Frequently asked questions
Who are the priority groups for the Covid-19 vaccine and what’s the order of priority?
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised the Government on the groups that should be prioritised for the Covid-19 vaccination. The first priority should be the prevention of deaths and the protection of health and social care staff and systems and secondary priorities are to vaccinate those at increased risk of becoming seriously ill and having to go into hospital and those at increased risk of coming into contact with Covid-19. The list of the main priority groups (1-9) were confirmed as follows:
- Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
- All those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
- All those 75 years of age and over
- All those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
- All those 65 years of age and over.
- All individuals aged 16 to 64 with underlying health conditions, in receipt of carers allowance, or a main carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of Covid-19; people with a learning disability
- All those 60 years of age and over
- All those 55 years of age and over
- All those 50 years of age and over
- All those over the age of 40
- All those over the age of 30
- All those over the age of 18
All children aged 16 and 17 years old are now eligible for second dose of the Covid-19 vaccination, as long as its been twelve weeks since their first, or 12 weeks since they have had Covid-19.
As of Monday 20 December 2021, all children aged 12 to 15 in England can now book their second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, following advice from the four UK Chief Medical Officers. They now have a choice in how they receive their vaccination.
Who is classed as clinically extremely vulnerable?
People classed as clinically extremely vulnerable are at high risk of becoming seriously ill if they have Covid-19 and are therefore a high priority for vaccination. People within this group should already have been offered the vaccine but if they haven’t taken up the offer, they are advised to do so as soon as possible.
You're considered clinically extremely vulnerable if:
- your doctor or GP has classed you as clinically extremely vulnerable because they think you're at high risk of getting seriously ill
- you've been identified as possibly being at high risk through the COVID-19 Population Risk Assessment
- you've had an organ transplant
- you're having chemotherapy or antibody treatment for cancer, including immunotherapy
- you're having an intense course of radiotherapy (radical radiotherapy) for lung cancer
- you're having targeted cancer treatments that can affect the immune system (such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors)
- you have blood or bone marrow cancer (such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma)
- you've had a bone marrow or stem cell transplant in the past 6 months, or are still taking immunosuppressant medicine
- you've been told by a doctor you have a severe lung condition (such as cystic fibrosis, severe asthma or severe COPD)
- you have a condition that means you have a very high risk of getting infections (such as SCID or sickle cell)
- you're taking medicine that makes you much more likely to get infections (such as high doses of steroids or immunosuppressant medicine)
- you have a serious heart condition and are pregnant
- you have a problem with your spleen or your spleen has been removed (splenectomy)
- you're an adult with Down's syndrome
- you're an adult who is having dialysis or has severe (stage 5) long-term kidney disease
Can pregnant or breastfeeding women have the vaccine?
You can have a COVID-19 vaccine if:
- you're pregnant or think you might be
- you're breastfeeding
- you're trying for a baby
The vaccine cannot give you or your baby COVID-19.
You'll be invited to have the vaccine when your age group are offered it or earlier if you have a health condition or other reason that means you're eligible. All pregnant women over the age of 16 are now eligible to be vaccinated.
If you're breastfeeding, you can have any of the COVID-19 vaccines.
If you're pregnant and have not had a vaccine yet, it's preferable for you to have the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. This is because they've been more widely used during pregnancy in other countries and no safety concerns have been identified. (Please note, we don’t currently have Moderna vaccine in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin and so pregnant women would have the Pfizer vaccine.)
If you've already had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for your 1st dose and did not have any serious side effects, you should have it again for your 2nd dose.
You can book your COVID-19 vaccination appointments online. If you're under 40, you'll only be shown appointments for the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. If you're 40 or over, you'll be asked if you're pregnant to make sure you're only shown appointments for these vaccines.
At your appointment, you'll be able to discuss the benefits and potential risks of having a COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy. This is so you can make an informed decision about having it. You can also speak to a GP or your maternity team for advice.
There's no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines have any effect on your chances of becoming pregnant. There's no need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination.
Who is being offered a COVID-19 vaccine currently?
You can see who is currently eligible on the NHS website at Book or manage your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
16 year olds and over can currently have the Covid-19 vaccination , as well as some younger people in priority groups, particularly those with specific long term conditions which means that they are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill if they catch Covid-19. They include those aged 12-15 with:
- severe neurodisabilities
- immunosuppression – those whose immune systems don’t work as well and also those who live with someone who is immunosuppressed
- profound and multiple learning disabilities
- being on the learning disability register
- those living with Down’s syndrome
Currently 16 and 17 year olds are being offered one dose of the Covid-19 vaccination and vulnerable 12-15 year olds (listed above) two doses.
Further information on the JCVI guidance relating to these groups of young people can be found here:
You can find more information about vaccinations for children and young people here:
COVID-19 vaccination: resources for children and young people - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Can children and young people under the age of 16 be vaccinated?
It is envisaged that this age cohort will be vaccinated between September and November 2021. The delivery model may include via the local schools immunisation service, at a GP clinic or at another vaccination site; this will depend on the vaccination delivery model in different areas.
Can I still be vaccinated if I declined it or didn’t take up the offer when I was invited?
Yes, if you received an invitation a while ago or even if you didn’t receive an invitation and you are in one of the eligible groups, you can come forward at any time for your vaccination. We encourage everyone to be vaccinated as soon as possible though to protect themselves and their family.
You can book an appointment via Book or manage your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination - NHS (www.nhs.uk), by calling 119 if you are over the age of 18 or attend one of our local walk-in clinics if you are over the age of 16. More details of times and locations can be found here: COVID-19 vaccination walk-in clinic times (stwics.org.uk)
Should I be vaccinated if I have a weakened immune system?
Public Health England’s Immunisation Against Infectious Disease (The Green book) states that immunosuppressed patients, due to disease or treatment are clinically extremely vulnerable and should be vaccinated against COVID-19. Adult household contacts of people with immunosuppression are also considered to be an at risk group eligible for vaccination.
According to both the Patient Group Direction for COVID-19 mRNA vaccine BNT162b2 (Pfizer/BioNTech) and the Patient Group Direction for COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca, (ChAdOx1-S [recombinant]) there are no groups of potentially immunosuppressed patients that should be excluded from receiving the vaccine based on their treatment or disease alone. It is, however, noted that some immunosuppressed patients may have a suboptimal response to the vaccine and should therefore continue to avoid exposure unless they are advised otherwise by their doctor.
Should I have the Covid-19 vaccination if I’ve tested positive for Covid-19?
If you've had a positive COVID-19 test, you should wait 4 weeks from the date you had the test before you book an appointment.
I’m currently ill with COVID-19, can I get the vaccine?
People currently unwell and experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine until they have recovered.
If I have had Covid-19 and I have antibodies, do I need to be vaccinated?
Yes, it is unclear how long antibodies produced following infection may provide protection and whether the protection is as effective as that provided by vaccination. It is therefore recommended you have a vaccine if offered one.
If I am an informal (unpaid) carer, caring for someone who is clinically vulnerable can I have the Covid-19 vaccine?
If you provide unpaid care or live with someone eligible to receive a vaccine, you are eligible for a vaccine as part of cohort 6 as defined by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
An unpaid carer requiring a vaccination can be, but is not limited to:
- Someone who cares for a person who is within JCVI priority cohorts 1-6, provides close personal care or is the sole or primary carer.
- An adult family member or friend providing daily face-to-face care to a person who, because of their advanced age, requires support but is still living in their own home.
- A person caring for an adult with Down’s Syndrome.
- A parent/foster parent caring for a young person who is receiving Personal Independence Payments (PIP) because of a severe neuro-disability.
- Any adult providing supplementary unpaid care to an older person who is self-funding their own care package, for example through a domiciliary care agency.
- Two siblings who equally share and provide 24-hour care to an older person with dementia in addition to their own family and work commitments. If either sibling was to fall ill, the other would not be able to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the older person. Both siblings would be considered the primary carer.
You will receive a vaccination invitation if you are registered as a carer with your GP practice, you receive or are entitled to Carer’s Allowance or you are known to your local authority or care organisations because you are receiving support.
Informal/unpaid carers can book a vaccination appointment via the National Booking System online at nhs.uk or by calling 119.
Can I have a Covid-19 vaccination if I’m a young carer?
Carer’s Allowance can be awarded to individuals who meet the eligibility criteria from the age of 16. It is possible that some young carers may not be recognised as such by their families but may be known to their school, a voluntary sector young carers service, and/or to their local authority. At present, only the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are authorised for use in those aged under 18 years old (please note that we don’t currently have the Moderna vaccine in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.) Therefore, eligible 16- or 17-year-olds will need to access unpaid carers (JCVI priority cohort 6) vaccination via their local GP vaccination service. Where necessary the GP team will support the young carer if there are issues in relation to consent which is consistent with current practice in relation to other treatments and immunisations.
Can I be vaccinated if I’m a student?
Yes, you can be vaccinated when you are eligible according to your age unless you have another reason for being vaccinated sooner, for example, you are member of health and care staff, a carer or you are at higher risk of becoming seriously ill if you catch Covid-19.
You can be vaccinated either in your study or your home location and you can book your second dose appointment in a different location to your first if you need to. International students are eligible for a free Covid-19 vaccination the same as British students.
Can I be vaccinated if I’m not registered with a GP practice?
While registration with a GP is encouraged to access the vaccine, individuals can request to book Covid-19 vaccination appointments as an unregistered patient through a local GP practice if their local GP practice is involved in the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
Can I get my 2nd dose in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin if I’ve had my first dose abroad?
Yes, you can get your 2nd dose in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin as long as it’s the same type of vaccine as your first dose and it’s 8 weeks after your first dose. If you are registered with a GP practice, your 2nd dose will be recorded on your vaccination record/the NHS app, which you will need for international travel. If you aren’t registered with a GP practice, you will not have a record of your 2nd dose that is valid for international travel. You are therefore advised to register with a GP practice if you want to travel abroad.
If I work in a care home or I go into a care home to deliver a service what do the new Government regulations mean for me and how can I get vaccinated?
From 11 November 2021, all care home workers, and any staff entering a care home, will need to be fully vaccinated, unless they are medically exempt or are part of an emergency response e.g. ambulance crew. This includes primary care staff, acute teams, voluntary organisations, independent sector providers and temporary, voluntary and bank staff. All staff will need to have had a first dose by 16th September 2021 in order to meet the deadline for their 2nd dose. Evidence of vaccination status can be provided by the NHS app, the NHS Covid pass via the NHS website or a NHS letter.
Vaccinations can be booked online through the national booking service or by ringing 119. It is also possible to visit one of our local walk-in centres. Details of locations and opening times can be found here: COVID-19 Vaccination Walk-in and Pop-up Clinics (stwics.org.uk)