Designed by young people for young people, here you can learn more about the vaccine, get answers to your questions and when ready, organise your jab locally.
Do flies spread COVID-19? Can you catch the virus from your shoes? Will adding pepper to your soup protect you? When it comes to COVID-19, there are plenty of interesting theories out there. Learn more
Do flies spread COVID-19? Can you catch the virus from your shoes? Will adding pepper to your soup protect you? When it comes to COVID-19, there are plenty of interesting theories out there.
False news comes in many forms; social posts which go viral, statements by public figures or things you hear from family and friends. While some claims are easy to ignore, it gets trickier when misinformation starts invading the public consciousness, where it can cause real harm.
One example, which really has taken hold, is the belief that the COVID-19 vaccine affects fertility. Yet scientists have repeatedly explained that there is no scientific reason why any of the vaccines could have this effect.
According to Mohammad Hassan-Ally, clinical lead for COVID-19 vaccinations in Merton: “People who haven’t come forward for their vaccine often fear harm from the jab because they get their information from WhatsApp and Facebook groups. They see videos, supposedly leaked by ‘insiders’ and believe this rather than traditional news outlets.
“The myth of the vaccine containing microchips has been busted – not many people believe that now, but infertility still comes up as a concern. We talk to people about how there is no data to suggest any ill-effects, we try to explain that.”
With so much information about COVID-19 out there, how do you work out what to trust? If you’re not sure about a claim, you can use the government’s SHARE checklist, to examine it more carefully, before you like, retweet or spread the word to family and friends:
What’s the SOURCE?
Be wary of ‘facts’ from anonymous sources – someone’s Uncle Bob, or a friend of a friend. Always rely on official sources for medical and safety information – we’ve listed some at the end of this blog. If a story is meant to be coming from an official source, check back on the organisation’s website to be sure.
Go beyond the HEADLINE
Headlines are there to grab attention, they don’t tell the full story. Always read to the end before you share any stories about COVID-19 and especially vaccines.
Do some ANALYSIS
Don’t take anything at face value – go deeper. If something sounds too odd to be true, it probably is. Check who else is covering the story. If true, it’s likely that a serious or troubling claim would be reported widely across news outlets, so try and verify it with an internet news search.
Has it been RETOUCHED?
Remember that images and videos can often be used out of context or edited and retouched to suggest something misleading.
Look for ERRORS
False new stories on social media and websites can be hidden behind accounts and pages that look familiar, such as the BBC. Check for odd looking URLs and Twitter handles. Bad spelling and poor layouts should also ring alarm bells – official guidance about COVID-19 will have been checked many times.
Always look to trusted sources
For health information including coronavirus and vaccines always check the NHS website and gov.uk. Visit the World Health Organization (WHO) website too, for the global picture.
Or you can ask us anything in person by visiting one of our NHS South West London COVID-19 vaccine walk-in clinics with no obligation to get the jab.
The Vaccine Knowledge Project is a source of independent information about vaccines and infectious diseases from the University of Oxford.
And if you’re wondering whether flies spread COVID, the answer to all three questions at the start of this blog is ‘No’, according to the WHO’s mythbusters’ page, which aims to separate fact from fiction.
Book an appointment on the NHS website.Book your vaccine
If you are 12 - 15, learn more.
Everyone aged 12 to 15 will be offered a 1st dose of a COVID-19 vaccine (including people who turn 12 on the date of vaccination).
Your parents or guardians will get a letter or email with information about when the vaccine will be offered, and will be asked to give their consent. You are unable to get the vaccine without parental consent.
Most people will be given the vaccine at school during school hours.
Anyone who misses their 1st vaccination in their school, for example if you are off sick on the day the vaccine is offered, will be offered a vaccine at a later date.
If you do not attend school, for example if you are home schooled, you will still be offered a vaccine. Your parents and guardians will be contacted about when and where the vaccine will be offered.
Some 12-15 year olds are being offered 2 doses of the vaccine if either:
Conditions that mean you may be at high risk and eligible for 2 doses are:
If you are eligible for 2 doses of the vaccine, your parents or guardians will be contacted by a local NHS service such as their GP surgery to arrange your appointments.
We understand you’re sus. Watch people like you answer questions about the vaccine
It can be tempting to think you aren’t at risk of COVID-19 at all - after all, if you are young and healthy, what’s the worst that could happen? Isn’t it basically like the flu? Well, no. Young and healthy people can be at a high risk of developing really nasty COVID-19 symptoms that can lead to hospitalisation, especially if you are unvaccinated.
Even if COVID-19 doesn’t badly impact you at the time, you could still suffer from Long-Covid! This can make you tired, breathless, cause brain fog, and more for months afterwards. Imagine feeling that unwell all the time - no thanks! It could even prevent you from working, going to class, hitting the gym, and doing all your other favourite activities for months or more.
To lower your risk, get the vaccine.
Even if you still aren’t worried about catching COVID-19, there are other risks - to your social life! For example, going on holiday, seeing your family at Christmas, going to events such as festivals, and venues like clubs (if you are over 18) could be harder to access without being vaccinated. On the other hand, if you have the jab, you might not have to self-isolate if you get pinged!
No. You can feel good about doing something great for those you love and the wider community by getting the vaccine. If you are unvaccinated, you are far more likely to catch COVID-19 and pass it on, particularly to people who are vulnerable because of an existing health condition. Even if you don’t show any symptoms – doesn’t mean you don’t have it or that you can’t pass it on. Want to keep visiting your grandparents safely? Being vaccinated will give you more peace of mind
This is a question that a lot of people have - and the answer is no, you won’t get COVID-19 from the vaccine itself. However, the vaccines do contain a small amount of the same genetic material as COVID-19, because like with all vaccines, that’s what needed to help your body develop more immunity. The other ingredients are water (yes, just water!), infused with preservatives and stabilisers. Vegan, vegetarian or halal? You’re good to go! The UK vaccines do not contain animal products, foetal products, mercury or egg. And the Pfizer vaccine is alcohol-free.
One of the main worries you might have is how fast the vaccines have been developed. We understand! Don’t vaccines take years and years to be safe? Vaccines are hard work to develop, but top scientists were already working on potential vaccines for other coronavirus strains. This means they already had the raw material to create the vaccine you will be offered!
Once the pandemic started, a large (really, really large!) amount of money was put forward from the entire world to support development speed. But rest assured that every vaccine has gone through the same rigorous testing and clinical trials which are required every time a new one is developed.
The vaccine is safe and effective! That’s the best news, right? More than 81 million vaccines have been given in England alone, reducing the spread of COVID-19. You can be safe in the knowledge that the NHS will never offer unsafe vaccinations and that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has verified the safety of every vaccine.
We are getting a little more into the science of it now! COVID-19 vaccines have been tested in the laboratory, moving to test on thousands of human volunteers from all over the world to ensure complete safety - and to check it works!
Each vaccine type has been tested on a cross-section of society, including those from black, Asian and minority ethnic heritage. In fact, they performed one in five tests on a person from a black, Asian and minority ethnic heritage background. The great news is that these tests proved that the vaccine performs the same across the board.
Your friendly vaccinator will be a member of the NHS or those who the NHS has recruited to help out. Every single person is completely trained and supervised by registered healthcare professionals. Have a chat with the lovely person giving you your vaccine - they love what they do and come from a variety of fascinating backgrounds! They’ll also put you at your ease and answer any questions you might have at the time.
Understandably, you might worry about fertility issues, especially as we have all seen the rumours about this on social media recently - with some celebrities even unhelpfully jumping in. However, these claims are totally without merit. According to scientists – who, we hasten to add, definitely know more about the vaccine than celebs – there is no evidence that a link between the vaccine and fertility exists.
Some women have seen a change in their period cycle since having the vaccine. However, these are temporary changes that could occur to any woman at any time in her life. They should not be serious or permanent.
If this worries you, keep that in mind! It won’t impact your fertility, and if you are trying for a baby, the vaccine will not impact this, nor does it increase the risk of miscarriage. Even if you aren’t thinking about having kids now, it’s good to know for future reference. But having COVID-19 while you’re pregnant can end in still birth or seriously effect your baby’s birth weight. It is much, much safer for you and your baby to be vaccinated if you are pregnant.
Not everyone experiences side effects. You may feel mild symptoms such as having a sore arm, feeling tired, having a fever, getting a headache, or feeling a bit sick. You can deal with them like you would a mild cold, with paracetamol and rest - but call 111 if your side effects are more severe or you feel really worried. They will be happy to talk!
You can book yourself an appointment online. If you are 12-15 years old you will need to attend your appointment with a parent or carer.
If you are 16 or over there are also walk-in options available where you don’t need an appointment. Usually, the vaccine is given at pharmacies, shopping centres, libraries, or at your GP practice. You may even find yourself in a church! There is a lot of flexibility with slots available during the weekdays, evenings, and weekends. It can be a quick and easy part of your day - then you can grab a coffee and enjoy a well-deserved rest.
When you go to your vaccine centre, you will need to show that you are over 12 in some cases. If you decide to book through the National Booking Service, you will need to provide your name and date of birth and your NHS number. However, you will never need to provide proof of address or your immigration status. If you are using a Walk in Centre, you do not need to be registered with a GP practice or have an NHS number. The vaccination is completely free to anyone who wants it – you will never be charged any money for it.
If you are 12-15 years old and you pre-book your appointment at a vaccination centre, you will need to attend with a parent or carer.
You can book your appointment easily through the National Booking Service and you can also change your appointment this way too. If you’re aged 12-17 and healthy, you only need to have one dose. If you are clinically vulnerable, you will need to have a second dose of vaccine 8 weeks after your first dose – your GP will have been in contact with you or your parents to discuss this with you already.
Please wear a ‘T’-shirt to make it as easy as possible on the day to give you the jab.
While there is no hard evidence on drinking after the vaccine, you should try to avoid a big session, as it may suppress your immune system. Save it for when you’re fully vaccinated and can properly enjoy it!
The vaccine is not compulsory. But you will be doing a great thing to keep yourself, your family and your friends safe. Not only that, but you will be able to take part in all the things you love again.
This sounds a bit tricky, right? Have you already built up enough immunity naturally? Well, no. You may have developed some natural immunity, but there is no hard evidence on how long-lasting or effective it is. The immunity given by the vaccine is more reliable, and you know it’s there.
You may have heard about new mutations of COVID-19. While this sounds scary, it is quite a normal part of viruses. The good thing is that the vaccines we are currently using do work against these new strains - and scientists can change the vaccines as the virus changes.
You’re good to go now, right? If you’re over 12 you can get vaccinated! Let’s go!
You asked: Which booster vaccine should I get if I am allergic to penicillin?
Answer: You are OK to take any of the vaccines that you are offered
You asked: Have I got Long Covid, and where do I go to for information and help?
Answer: Take a look here Your COVID Recovery | Supporting your recovery after COVID-19
You asked: Can you get vaccinated if you have hade Swine Flu?
You asked: Do I need to get the flu vaccine as well as the COVID vaccine?
Answer: All secondary aged children (up to year 11) and young people who have long-term health conditions (up to 17 years) will be offered a free flu vaccination in school.
For people aged 18 to 50, they will be offered the flu vaccination (free of charge) by their GP if they are vulnerable (because they have a long term condition such as asthma, chronic respiratory etc).
If you’re not vulnerable they can get a flu jab from e.g. Boots, but there will be a charge.
You asked: Is it safe to have the flu vaccine with the COVID vaccine?
You asked: I only have one kidney.is it safe for me to get vaccinated?
You asked: I was with people who have developed flu-like symptoms but tested negative in a lateral flow test, as have I. Should we get a PCR test to make sure?
Answer: It’s a very good idea to, yes
You asked: I’ve had Covid, how soon after can I get vaccinated
Answer: You can get a vaccine 28 days after your Covid symptoms started, or 28 days after you tested positive for Covid
You asked: How do I cancel my appointment
Answer: You can do this online
You asked: Do needles hurt
Answer: Most people say the needle doesn’t hurt at all because it is so thin
You asked: What are the risks if you have asthma?
Answer: There are no risks from the vaccine if you have asthma. You are more at risk of becoming very ill with Covid if you have asthma, so it’s a very good idea to have the vaccination.
Book an appointment on the NHS website.Book your vaccine