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Printed at: 03:53:43 / 28-01-2021

COVID-19 Vaccine Information for Healthcare Staff

If you are coming to the hospital for a vaccination, please do not arrive any more than 5 minutes before your appointment. This is to help us ensure social distancing can be observed in the vaccination centre. 

Why it’s important to get your COVID-19 vaccination

If you’re a frontline healthcare worker in the NHS, you are more likely to be exposed to COVID-19 at work. Healthcare workers and those working in social care (particularly in care homes) are at much higher risk of repeated exposure to the infection.

Catching COVID-19 can be serious and may lead to long
term complications. These are more common in older staff or those with underlying clinical risk factors.

You can have COVID-19 without any symptoms and pass it on to family, friends and patients, many of whom may be at increased risk from coronavirus.

Being healthy doesn’t reduce your risk of catching COVID-19 or passing it on.

With high rates of COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to help stop the spread of coronavirus, to avoid pressure on the NHS and to keep the health and social care workforce healthy.

Which vaccine will I be offered?

At the moment, MKUH only supplies the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

To read more about it, click here

Will the vaccine protect me?

The COVID-19 vaccination will reduce the chance of you suffering from
COVID-19 disease. It may take a few weeks for your body to build up protection from the vaccine.

The vaccine has been shown to be effective and no safety concerns were seen in studies of more than 20,000 people.

Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective – some people may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, but this should be less severe.

Will the vaccine have side effects?

Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short term, and not everyone gets them.

Even if you do have symptoms after the first dose, you still need to have the second dose. Although you may get some protection from the first dose, having the second dose will give you the best protection against the virus.

Very common side effects include:
• having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had
your injection. This tends to be worst around 1-2 days after the vaccine
• feeling tired
• headache
• general aches, or mild flu like symptoms.

Although feeling feverish is not uncommon for two to three days, a high temperature is unusual and may indicate you have COVID-19 or another infection. You can rest and take the normal dose of
paracetamol (follow the advice in the packaging) to help you
feel better.

Symptoms following vaccination normally last less than a week. If your symptoms seem to get worse or if you are concerned, call NHS 111.

If you do seek advice from a doctor or nurse, make sure you tell them
about your vaccination so that they can assess you properly.

Is the vaccine safe?

The vaccine approved for use in the UK was developed by Pfizer/BioNTech. It has met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Any coronavirus vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all
other licensed medicines go through. The MHRA follows international standards of safety.

Is the vaccine effective?

The COVID-19 vaccination will reduce the chance of you suffering from COVID-19 disease. Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective and it takes a few weeks for your body to build up protection from the vaccine.

Some people may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, but this should lessen the severity of any infection.

The vaccine has been shown to be effective and no safety concerns were seen in studies of more
than 20,000 people.

I have had my flu vaccine, do I need the COVID-19 vaccine as well?

The flu vaccine does not protect you from COVID-19. As you are eligible for
both vaccines you should have them both, but normally separated by at
least a week.

Who cannot have the vaccine?

The vaccines do not contain living organisms, and so are safe for people with disorders of the immune system. These people may not respond so well to the vaccine. A very small number of people who are at risk of COVID-19 cannot have the vaccine – this includes people who have severe allergies
to a component in the vaccine.

Women of childbearing age, those who are pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding should read the detailed information on https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/.

A woman of childbearing age? Pregnant? Planning a pregnancy? Breastfeeding?

Like all new medicines the vaccines have not yet been tested in pregnant women. So, if you are pregnant we advise waiting until your pregnancy is completed before you are vaccinated.

If you have had the first dose, and then become pregnant, we recommend delaying the second dose too. Please speak to your employer about other ways to reduce your risk of COVID-19.

If you find out that you are pregnant after you have had the vaccine, don’t worry. The vaccines do not contain organisms that multiply in the body, so they cannot cause COVID-19 infection in your unborn baby. As we have done for other vaccines, PHE is establishing a monitoring system to follow up women who are inadvertently vaccinated in pregnancy. We hope this will provide early reassurance for women as time goes on.

Most women who catch COVID-19 during pregnancy do not suffer a more serious outcome than non-pregnant women and will go on to deliver a healthy baby.

Women of childbearing age, those who are pregnant, planning a pregnancy or
breastfeeding, please read the detailed information at www.nhs.uk/covidvaccination.

As more safety data on the vaccine becomes available this advice may change.

Can I go back to work after having my vaccine?

Yes, you should be able to work as long as you feel well. If your arm is particularly sore, you may find heavy lifting difficult. If you feel unwell or very tired you should rest and avoid operating machinery or driving.

Can I catch COVID-19 from the vaccine?

You cannot catch COVID-19 from the vaccine but it is possible to have caught COVID-19 and not realise you have the symptoms until after your vaccination appointment.

The most important symptoms of COVID-19 are recent onset of any
of the following:
• a new continuous cough
• a high temperature
• a loss of, or change in your normal sense of taste or smell

If you have the symptoms above, stay at home and arrange to have a test.

If you need more information on symptoms visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/.

What should I do if I am not well when it is my appointment?

If you are unwell, it is better to wait until you have recovered to have your vaccine, but you should try to have it as soon as possible.

You should not attend a vaccine appointment if you are self-isolating, waiting for a COVID-19 test or unsure if you are fit and well.

Can I give COVID-19 to anyone, after I have had the vaccine?

The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19 infection, and two doses will reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill.

We do not yet know whether it will stop you from catching and passing on the virus. So, it is important to follow the guidance in your local area to protect those around you.

To protect yourself and your family, friends and colleagues you still need to:
• practice social distancing
• wear a face mask
• wash your hands carefully and frequently
• follow the current guidance www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Is it safe for those with pre-existing conditions? e.g I am on immunosuppressants, is it safe to have the vaccine?

The MHRA advises: Talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse before you are given the vaccine if you have:
• had a serious allergic reaction to a previous vaccine, medicine or food
• had any problems following previous administration of COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine BNT162b2
such as allergic reaction or breathing problems
• a severe illness with high fever
• However, a mild fever or upper airway infection, like a cold, are not reasons to delay
vaccination.
• a weakened immune system, such as due to HIV infection, or are on a medicine that affects
your immune system
• a bleeding problem, bruise easily or use a medicine to inhibit blood clotting.

As with any vaccine, COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine BNT162b2 may not fully protect all
those who receive it. No data are currently available in individuals with a weakened immune system
or who are taking chronic treatment that suppresses or prevents immune responses.

What is the dosage needed and when?

Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and the AstraZeneca vaccines are given in two doses. The Joint Committee
on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) changed its guidance on the maximum time between the
two doses of both the Pfizer-BioNtech and AstraZeneca vaccines from 21 and 28 days respectively, to up to 12 weeks.

In a short statement on 31 December, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI)
wrote: “Given the epidemiology of COVID-19 in the UK in late 2020 there is a need for rapid, high
levels of vaccine uptake amongst vulnerable persons.

“The Committee supports a two-dose vaccine schedule for the Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca
vaccines. Given the data available, and evidence from the use of many other vaccines, JCVI advises a
maximum interval between the first and second doses of 12 weeks for both vaccines. It can be
assumed that protection from the first dose will wane in the medium term, and the second dose will
still be required to provide more durable protection.”

After I have had the vaccine will I still need to follow all the infection control advice?

The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19 infection, and two
doses will reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill. No vaccine is completely effective and it will take a few weeks for your body to build up protection.

So, you will still need to follow the guidance in your workplace, including
wearing the correct personal protection equipment and taking part in
any screening programmes.

To continue to protect yourself, your patients, your family, friends and colleagues you should follow the general advice at work, at home and when you
are out and about:
• practise social distancing
• wear a face mask
• wash your hands carefully and frequently
• follow the current guidance www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

What is in the vaccine?

COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine BNT162b2 contains:
• The active substance is BNT162b2 RNA.

After dilution, the vial contains 5 doses, of 0.3 mL with 30 micrograms mRNA each.
• This vaccine contains polyethylene glycol/macrogol (PEG) as part of ALC-0159

The other ingredients are:
• ALC-0315 = (4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate)
• ALC-0159 = 2[(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide
• 1,2-Distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine
• Cholesterol
• potassium chloride
• potassium dihydrogen phosphate
• sodium chloride
• disodium hydrogen phosphate dehydrate
• sucrose.

NHS.UK is clear that: “The COVID-19 vaccine does not contain any animal products or egg.”

How long does protection last?

Public Health England advises: As COVID-19 vaccines have only been given in clinical trials in recent
months, there is currently no data available to describe how long protection from vaccination will
last. Post-authorisation surveillance and continued follow-up of trial participants may indicate the
need for booster doses but they are not currently recommended.

COVID-19 Vaccine Information for Healthcare StaffIn this section