Spring Covid-19 boosters are now available for people aged 75 years and over, those in care homes, plus people aged 12 years and over with a weakened immune system. To find out more please see gov.uk. To book your spring booster visit the NHS website.
Animation. Missed your Covid jabs? It’s never too late! You can still book your first and second Covid-19 vaccinations at NHS.uk or by calling 119. Once you have had both jabs, if eligible, you can also book your booster for maximum protection!
The history of vaccines explained
Vaccines have saved millions, if not billions, of lives and have been available for hundreds of years since they were first developed in 1796 by Edward Jenner. Considered the founder of vaccinology, Jenner inoculated a 13 year-old-boy with vaccinia virus (cowpox) and demonstrated immunity to smallpox. In 1798, the first smallpox vaccine was developed. Over the 18th and 19th centuries, mass smallpox vaccinations led to its global eradication in 1979.
Another famous scientist, Louis Pasteur, spearheaded the development of the cholera and anthrax vaccines in 1897 and 1904 respectively. The Plague vaccine was also invented in the late 19th century. More recently, the Bacillus-Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccination was developed and is still in use today. Then came the tetanus, diphtheria and polio vaccines. A total of over 142 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been given to people in the UK. Nearly 50 million people are fully vaccinated and more than 39 million have received a booster or third dose. The latest vaccination statistics can be found here.
A vaccine doesn’t eradicate the virus but it does help protect millions from the effects of coronavirus. It allows the body’s natural defences to fight and ultimately defeat the infection. This is the first step to safeguarding ourselves, and our community, against this disease.
“It’s a bit like a seat belt. It won’t prevent you from having a crash but it makes it more likely you’ll be OK if you do.”
@andykturner on Twitter – Acting Consultant in Public Health in Wirral | Health Policy Lead
What is a vaccine?
A vaccine is a medicine that is used to prevent something from happening, rather than to treat something that has already happened.
Vaccines work to immunise people against a virus, a virus like the coronavirus, also known as Covid-19.
Vaccines save millions of lives worldwide and are safer now than ever before. As with all prescription medicines, a vaccine must go through a rigorous testing and development process and be shown to meet strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness, before it can be given to the public.
The only thing a vaccine can cause is immunity.
Why do we need vaccines for Covid-19?
There’s no question, vaccines are our ticket out of this pandemic. The coronavirus will go wherever it wants, targeting old and young, the healthy and the unwell, at home and at work. Its No.1 goal is to infect as many people as possible. It will likely change and mutate to keep spreading but we are monitoring it and are prepared to act now.
A vaccine doesn’t eradicate a virus overnight but it does help protect millions from its effects. It allows the body’s natural defences to fight and ultimately defeat the infection. This is the first step to safeguarding ourselves, and our community, against this disease.
Why I got the vaccination despite my initial concerns
Are the Covid-19 vaccines safe?
Yes, they are safe. Like all medicines, a vaccine must go through a rigorous testing and development process and meet strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness before it can be given to the public. It’s reassuring to know that over 67,000 people* were involved in the trial process before the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines were made available to us, the public.
* Total number of participants in the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca trials
NHS frontline staff explain how the vaccine is given, why it works and why it’s safe. Please click here to view the collection of video stories in 14 different languages.
Find out more about vaccine safety
Comedian and presenter Adil Ray plus a wide range of famous faces from the black, Asian and minority ethnic community, talk about the Covid-19 vaccine and address some of people’s key concerns.
Protect yourself, your loved ones and your community
The vaccine protects you from the effects of the virus but it is not a cure and research is ongoing into the reduction in transmission once vaccinated. This is why it is so important to follow government guidelines.
Want to know more about vaccinations during parenthood?
Visit the #ReadyforParenthood campaign which launched in November. It aims to support new parents with a variety of different areas, such as vaccinations. It is being promoted by local authorities, NHS organisations and local support groups.
Where can I find a vaccination centre near me?
When you book your vaccination you will be able to select from a list of centres close to where you live.
Where can I find more information about the COVID-19 booster vaccination?
You can find out all the information you need on the Gov.UK website: COVID-19 vaccination: a guide to booster vaccination – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Useful leaflets, videos and other information
- Helpful vaccine guide for older adults in English and other languages
- British Sign Language video explaining the ‘what, why and how’ of the Covid-19 vaccination programme
- NHS frontline staff explain how the vaccine is given, why it works and why it’s safe. Videos in 14 community languages.
- Covid-19 vaccinations guide from Churches Together in England
- The statement and position from The British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) on Covid-19 vaccination
- BIMA’s Covid-19 myth-buster (in English, Urdu and Arabic)
- BIMA’s guide to fasting and the Covid-19 vaccination
- The governments guide on the Covid-19 vaccination for parents of children aged 5 to 11
- The governments guide on What to expect after your child’s Covid-19 vaccination