Covid vaccination service (Private)

During the pandemic the national vaccination programme gave everyone access to a Covid vaccine but that is no longer the case. The vaccine should be given on the NHS to adults aged 75 years and over, care home residents and anyone aged six months or over who is immunosuppressed. Millions of people across the country do not qualify for a Covid vaccination (whether first or booster jabs) on the NHS but up until now, there has been no private vaccination service. However, things are about to change and your local pharmacy will be able to offer protection via a private Covid vaccination service.

The service will initially include the two Covid vaccines currently licensed for private use, from Pfizer/BioNTech and from Novavax. As more vaccines become licensed, they will be added into the service as well.

Who is this service for?

The service is available to patients aged 12 years and above. Like all other private vaccination services, you will undergo a face-to-face consultation with a pharmacist to ensure it is clinically appropriate for you to receive a Covid vaccine.

Why use this service?

If you do not qualify for a Covid jab on the NHS but would like to have a vaccine, you can access private Covid vaccination services at your local pharmacy and protect yourself against the virus.

Are there any potential side effects or risks associated with Private COVID vaccines?

Like any medical intervention, COVID-19 vaccines can have side effects. The majority of side effects are mild and temporary, reflecting the body’s natural response to the vaccine as it builds protection. Common side effects include:

  • Pain or swelling at the injection site
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Feeling unwell
  • Swollen lymph nodes 

These side effects typically occur within a day or two after vaccination and usually resolve on their own within a few days.

However, there are some rare side effects and risks associated with COVID-19 vaccines. It’s important to note that the benefits of vaccination in preventing severe illness, hospitalisation, and death from COVID-19 generally outweigh the risks. 

Some of the rare side effects include:

  1. Serious Allergic Reactions: Anaphylaxis (a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction) has occurred in rare cases, but it is extremely rare.
  2. Myocarditis and Pericarditis: There have been rare reports of myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) and pericarditis (inflammation of the lining around the heart) following mRNA COVID-19 vaccination, particularly in males under 30 years old. However, the benefits of vaccination in preventing COVID-19 outweigh the risks of these rare side effects.
  3. Blood Clotting Disorders: Some vaccines, such as the AstraZeneca vaccine, have been associated with rare cases of blood clotting disorders, like thrombosis. Again, these events are extremely rare, and the benefits of vaccination in preventing COVID-19 outweigh the risks.

Compared to mRNA vaccines, the Novavax booster seems to have a lower chance of causing heart problems like myocarditis or pericarditis, especially in young men, though it’s not risk-free. It also tends to have fewer side effects such as muscle fatigue and nausea in the first 48 hours after getting vaccinated.

How long does COVID immunity last?

This depends on several factors, including vaccination status, prior infection, variants of the virus, and individual immune responses. Studies have shown that immunity from vaccination or natural infection can wane over time, but booster shots can help enhance and extend protection.

Can I get a vaccine if I have a health condition?

Yes, individuals with existing health conditions can typically receive the COVID-19 vaccine. However, it’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider before getting vaccinated, especially if you have concerns or questions about how the vaccine may interact with your specific health condition or any medications you’re taking.

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