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Vaccinations (COVID-19)

Since the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak began, scientists across the world have worked to develop safe and effective vaccines.

A number of these vaccines are now approved for use in the UK.

The vaccination programme is playing a significant role in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, offering additional protection that had not previously been available.

Where can I get my vaccine?

Depending on your age, most people will now have been offered their first, second and booster dose of the Coronavirus vaccine.

Drop-in clinics are operating across North Ayrshire, offering first, second and booster doses of the vaccine for anyone who is eligible. View the dates and locations of drop-in sessions.

You may also be eligible to book online.

An additional Spring booster is now being offered to:

  • adults aged 75 years and over,
  • residents in care homes for older adults, and
  • individuals aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed

If you are eligible for the Spring booster, you will be contacted by the NHS with an appointment. Please note that you cannot attend a drop-in session for the Spring booster.

Why do I need a vaccine?

The vaccine is your best protection against COVID-19 and NHS Scotland strongly recommends you get the vaccine when offered it. The vaccine protects not only you, but can help to protect your friends, families, colleagues and anyone else you come into contact with.

Being vaccinated can reduce your risk of developing COVID-19 and make your symptoms milder if you do get it.

Even if you’ve already had COVID-19, you could still get it again. The vaccine will reduce your risk of another infection and the seriousness of your symptoms if you do get it again.

If you've recently tested positive for COVID-19 – even if you have no symptoms – you should wait until 4 weeks after the date you were tested before getting the vaccine.

Are there any groups who should not be vaccinated?

You shouldn't get the COVID-19 vaccine if you've had a severe reaction to any of the ingredients in the vaccine or a previous dose of the vaccine. You can find out more about the vaccine ingredients.

This will affect very few people, but you will be able to ask any questions at your appointment.

If you're pregnant, planning a pregnancy or are breastfeeding then please refer to the next question.

If you've recently tested positive for COVID-19 – even if you have no symptoms – you should wait until 4 weeks after the date you were tested before getting the vaccine.

I am pregnant or breastfeeding. Can I have the vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine is effective and has a good safety profile.

Non-clinical studies of the available COVID-19 vaccines have raised no concerns about safety during of use pregnancy, but the vaccine has still to be fully assessed for use in pregnant women.

If you're pregnant or planning a pregnancy then you should not have the vaccine at this stage. This advice is precautionary until additional evidence is available.

However, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recognised that the potential benefits of vaccination are particularly important for some pregnant women. This includes those who are at very high risk of catching the infection – for example, if you work in health and social care – or those with clinical conditions that put them at high risk of suffering serious complications from COVID-19.

In these circumstances, you should discuss vaccination with your doctor or nurse, and you may feel that it is better to go ahead and receive the protection from the vaccine.

In line with recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO), the JCVI has recommended that the vaccine can be given to women who are breastfeeding.

If you are breastfeeding, or planning to breastfeed, you can continue breastfeeding after vaccination.

You can find more detailed information on the NHS Inform website.

I am taking other medication. Is it safe to be vaccinated?

You’ll be asked some questions at your vaccination appointment to make sure that there are no reasons for you not to have the vaccine.

You'll also have an opportunity to ask any questions or discuss concerns you may have.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?

All medicines, including vaccines, are tested for safety and effectiveness before they’re allowed to be used. Their safety continues to be checked while in use.

NHS Scotland will only use a vaccine if it meets the required standards of safety and effectiveness.

The Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has approved a number of COVID-19 vaccines for use in the UK.

The COVID-19 vaccine does not cause a coronavirus infection. It helps to build up your immunity to the virus, so your body will fight it off more easily if it affects you.

Does the COVID-19 vaccine have any side effects?

Some people may experience side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. These are usually mild and may include:

  • Tenderness, swelling and/or redness at the injection site
  • Headache
  • Muscle ache
  • Feeling tired
  • Fever/high temperature (37.8°C or greater)

A less common side effect is swelling of the glands which could start a few days after the vaccine and may last for up to 2 weeks.

It’s quite common to develop a fever after a vaccination. This normally happens within 48 hours of receiving the vaccine and goes away within 48 hours.

It is important to get 2 doses of the vaccine, even if you have mild side effects after the first dose.

You can report any suspected side effects of vaccines and medicines through the Yellow Card website, or by phoning 0800 731 6789 (available Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).

More information on side effects is available on the NHS Inform website.

What should I expect at my vaccination appointment?

The vaccine will be given as an injection in the upper arm and will only take a few minutes.

During vaccination, strict infection prevention and control measures will be in place.

How should I prepare for my vaccination appointment?

On the day of your vaccine, wear practical clothing so it’s easy to access your upper arm.

If you have a fear of needles or feel anxious, try to stay calm and let the person giving you your vaccine know. They will be understanding and can support you.

You should ideally wait 7 days between the COVID-19 vaccine and any other vaccination.

What if I feel unwell on the day of my appointment?

If you're unwell on the day of your appointment, you should still go for your vaccination if it's a minor illness without fever.

If you feel very unwell, your vaccine may be postponed until you have fully recovered.

Where can I find out more about the COVID-19 vaccination?

Public Health Scotland has produced a series of information leaflets, which you can access at the links below:

COVID-19 vaccine - Adult leaflet

COVID-19 vaccine - Healthcare worker leaflet

COVID-19 vaccine - Social care worker leaflet

Information for UK recipients on Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine (PDF, 140KB)

Information for UK recipients on COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca

COVID-19 vaccine - What to expect leaflet

The above leaflets are available in British Sign Language (BSL) and audio formats.

You can also request hard copies or alternative formats of these leaflets (such as large print, braille or other languages) by emailing phs.otherformats@phs.scot.

For any additional information, visit the NHS Inform website or call the Coronavirus Vaccination Helpline on 0800 030 8013 (available 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week).