Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccination FAQs

Surrey Heartlands Covid-19 Vaccination Programme Logo

Vaccines are the way out of this pandemic. An effective vaccine is the best way to protect you and your family from coronavirus.

First doses

You do not need to wait to be contacted before booking your vaccine appointment if any of the following apply:

If you are in any of these groups you can book your appointment near to where you live – just click on the link from your local GP hub to book. You can also attend a larger vaccination centre or a pharmacy that provides COVID-19 vaccinations via the online coronavirus vaccination appointments facility now.

Alternatively, you can wait to be contacted by the NHS.

Please note if you are aged under 40yrs you will be offered either Pfizer or Moderna as an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine unless there is a strong clinical indication otherwise. This is based on guidance issued by the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) on 7 May 2021.


Second doses

Second doses of the Covid-19 vaccines are routinely offered around 11 weeks from the first dose being given. A Local GP-led vaccination site will contact individuals by text or by telephone to arrange an appointment to receive a second dose. In exceptional cases some people will be invited earlier. Please don’t contact the CCG or your GP practice about your 2nd dose appointment except if you have not been contacted by the 11th week. We are asking people to be patient you will be contacted.

Help us to help you

  • Please don’t contact your GP practice, the wider NHS or any of the community venues to seek a vaccine until it’s your turn
  • Please attend your booked appointments
  • Please do not arrive too early for your vaccination appointment to help us maintain social distancing
  • Please continue to follow all the rules to control the virus and save lives.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccination Questions

Below are a series of Frequently Asked Questions to help you in making an informed decision about the Coronavirus vaccine. 

Visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccination Updates page to find out the latest news and updates about the Vaccination Programme in Surrey Heartlands.

You cannot chose which vaccine you will have. Vaccines provided by the NHS have been approved because they pass the MHRA’s tests on safety and efficacy.

Vaccines are the way out of this pandemic. Please be assured that whichever vaccine you get, it is worth your while.

When will I be offered a vaccination?

We are following the guidance issued by the JCVI (Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation) and vaccinating people in a priority order based on the JCVI’s determination of risk of serious illness or death from Covid-19.

The current priority groups are:

  • People aged 40 and over
  • People aged 16 to 64yrs who have certain underlying conditions and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable
  • People who live or work in care homes
  • Frontline health and social care workers
  • People who receive carer’s allowance

Follow our Vaccination Updates to see when we are moving to the next priority groups. 
Can I choose which vaccine I receive?
  • No. Patients cannot choose their vaccine. All vaccines currently in use – Oxford/AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech – have been licensed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). We do not share information with patients regarding which sites are using which vaccine. 

  • Please note if you are aged under 40yrs you will be offered either Pfizer or Moderna as an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine unless there is a strong clinical indication otherwise. This is based on guidance issued by the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) on 7 May 2021.

Booking your vaccination appointment

How will I know where I have to go for my vaccination?

Help with your vaccination appointment

I don't have transport to get to my vaccination appointment. What should I do?

Attending your vaccination appointment

What do I need to bring to my appointment?
  • You'll need to bring:

    o A face covering, unless you cannot wear one for an age, health or disability reason.

    o Your booking reference number.

    o If you are a health or social care worker, eligible because of your workplace, you will need to bring proof of your work identity such as a work ID card, wage slip or official letter from your employer.

After your vaccination appointment

Will I be protected from the virus straight after my first vaccination?
  • No. For both vaccines you get the vast majority of your protection from two weeks after the first dose. It is therefore extremely important that you continue to adhere to all current rules to minimise infection.

Vaccination locations

Where are the Surrey Heartlands vaccination sites?
  1. Epsom Racecourse and Community Pharmacies, which are sites coordinated by NHS England.

  2. GP-led Local Vaccination Sites.

  3. Roving vaccination for patients who are not able to attend a vaccination centre.

Vaccination safety

Is the NHS confident the vaccine is safe?
  • Yes. The NHS will not offer any COVID-19 vaccinations to the public until experts have confirmed they are safe.  

    The MHRA, the official UK regulator, has said that the vaccines currently provided – Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneka - and the newly approved vaccine – Moderna - are very safe and highly effective, and we have full confidence in their expert judgement and processes.

  • As with any medicine, vaccines are highly regulated products. There are checks at every stage in the development and manufacturing process, and continued monitoring once they have been authorised and are being administered to the public.

Existing health conditions and the vaccines

I’ve had my flu vaccine, do I need a coronavirus vaccine?
  • The flu vaccine does not protect you from COVID-19.

  • As you are eligible for both vaccines you should have them both, but they should be separated by at least a week.

Fertility, pregnancy, and the vaccines

Should I receive the vaccine if I am of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding?
  • There's no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine has any effect on your chances of becoming pregnant. There's no need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination.

  • If you're pregnant, you should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine when you're eligible for it.

  • It's preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine because they've been more widely used during pregnancy in other countries and have not caused any safety issues.

  • You can also have the COVID-19 vaccine if you're breastfeeding.

  • Speak to a healthcare professional before you have the vaccination. They will discuss the benefits and risks with you.

  • The vaccine cannot give you or your baby COVID-19.

  • Read the latest COVID-19 vaccine advice if you’re pregnant, may get pregnant or are breastfeeding on GOV.UK

The vaccines and suitability

Do the vaccines contain animal products?
  • No, the two approved COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any animal products or egg. The COVID-19 vaccine ingredients are available on the GOV.UK website. for both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines.

How effective are the vaccines?

How effective are the COVID-19 vaccines?
  • The 1st dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine should give you good protection from coronavirus. But you need to have the two doses of the vaccine to give you longer lasting protection.

  • There is a chance you might still get or spread coronavirus even if you have been vaccinated but the chance of serious illness is lowered. This means it is important to continue to follow social distancing guidance and wear something that covers your nose and mouth in places where it's hard to stay away from other people.

Enquiry Service

Please note: the Vaccination Enquiry Service is not able to answer any clinical questions. Patients with clinical queries relating to the vaccines are advised to contact their own GP or specialist.

If you cannot find an answer to your question you can contact our Vaccination team via:

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • 0300 561 2500 - lines are open from 9am to 4pm, Monday to Friday only.

Please note: this is NOT a vaccination booking service.



Review Date: 2021-02-05
Review Due: 2021-03-05
Model Publication Scheme Class: Class 9: Services Commissioned