The introduction of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in the UK has started off very successfully, largely thanks to the hardworking NHS staff (and other medical staff) that have worked tirelessly, from the unexpected introduction of the global pandemic all the way until now.
The coronavirus vaccines are safe and effective, and currently give the best protection against COVID-19. All adults aged 18 and over can now be vaccinated against the virus, and you do not need to wait to be contacted – those looking to receive vaccination are free to book a vaccination slot online for their nearest vaccination centre.
What Vaccines Exist?
So far, there are 3 vaccines authorised for use in the UK – Pfizer, Astra Zeneca/Oxford and Moderna. However, there are 7 major vaccines that have shown optimistic results in protection against COVID-19;
- Pfizer- BioNTech (mRNA)
- Oxford University-AstraZeneca
- Moderna (mRNA)
Currently (as of 28th June 2021), more than 83% of the adult population have received their first dose, and it seems as if the race is on to vaccinate as many people as possible during the surge of cases in the Indian and Delta variant; and the government has aimed to have offered a jab to all adults by the end of July.
Normally, you cannot usually choose which vaccine you will receive. When you book your vaccine, you’ll be offered appointments for vaccines that best suit you. Luckily most people can have any of the COVID vaccines available, but of course, some people are only offered specific vaccines for a number of reasons suited to their personal and/or health preferences and situations (e.g. allergic reactions).
Does the Vaccine Have Side Effects?
The COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the UK have met all the necessary strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness. There has been some recorded side effects, but not every person who has received the vaccine has experienced these too. However, side effects include:
- Sore site of injection
- Feeling tired
- A headache
- Feeling achy
- Feeling or being sick
More serious side effects like allergic reactions or blood clotting have been recorded but are very rare.
Are Vaccinations Available to be Booked Privately?
As it currently stands, it’s not possible for any individuals to book their vaccinations through private health insurance companies or private clinics. Currently, the UK government has set out a list of people the vaccine will be offered to;
- People aged 55 and over
- People who are clinically vulnerable to COVID-19
- People who live and work in care homes
- Health and social care workers
- People with learning disabilities
- People who are the main carers of someone at high risk of COVID-19
- Adults aged 18 and over
It’s very likely that at some point there will the option for people to have the vaccine privately. The way in which it would operate would be similar how to many private healthcare facilities give flu vaccinations each winter, however it’s not likely for this to happen until much later in the year when there are more vaccines available, however this has not been confirmed.
This is also because vaccine production has been pretty much based on government or international partnerships; so until contracts have been fulfilled properly by manufacturers, the vaccination will not be available privately.
While vaccination is unavailable in the private sector, COVID-19 antibody testing is available at private clinics. Prices from private healthcare companies such as Bupa offer antibody testing services from £65; for those that want to find out whether or not they have detectable antibodies of COVID-19 – all within 15 minutes.