Coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccines

The coronavirus vaccines approved for use in the UK have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

How safe is the COVID-19 vaccine?

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.

So far, thousands of people have been given a COVID-19 vaccine and reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions, have been very rare. No long-term complications have been reported. 

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When can I have the vaccine?

The NHS will let you know when it's your turn to have the vaccine. It's important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then.

Can I pay for a COVID-19 vaccine privately or at a pharmacy?

The COVID-19 vaccination is only available through the NHS to eligible groups and it is a free vaccination.

Any approach made to you by companies or individuals to privately purchase COVID-19 vaccines must be immediately reported to your local Counter Fraud Specialist, or to the NHS Fraud and Corruption Reporting Line (powered by Crimestoppers) on 0800 028 40 60, or online using the link below.

Report NHS fraud (opens in new window) >

Allergic reactions

Tell healthcare staff before you are vaccinated if you've ever had a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).

You should not have the vaccine if you've ever had a serious allergic reaction to:

  • a previous vaccine
  • a previous dose of the same COVID-19 vaccine
  • some medicines, household products or cosmetics

Serious allergic reactions are rare. If you do have a reaction to the vaccine, it usually happens in minutes. Staff giving the vaccine are trained to deal with allergic reactions and treat them immediately.

British Sign Language (BSL) resources on coronavirus vaccination