COVID Vaccine Safety Information

Getting your COVID-19 vaccination is really important to help protect yourself and others around you from the virus. By getting the vaccination you are reducing the chance of having serious symptoms of the virus, as well as the long-term effects, also known as long COVID. Whilst the vaccine won’t stop you from catching the virus altogether, it can make it much milder and possibly symptom-less, by ensuring that your body is ready to fight the virus should you come into contact with it.

The vaccine causes an immune response in the body so that as soon as the virus enters the body, it can be fought straight away without the need for the body to build up its defences. This is what helps to reduce the symptoms and the length of time which you are ill.

The vaccine went through the same trials as other vaccines, as well as other medication you may take to ensure it was thoroughly tested before it was released for everybody to receive. Data gathered from the trials since it was released shows it has a similar tolerability to other vaccines which are in use for other illnesses and any side effects experienced are typically mild. It is only takes a few minutes to receive your vaccine and enables you to have around an 85% protection from the virus after two doses, with the booster doses used to help maintain your protection as it can decrease over time.

It is more important than ever that if you have not yet received your vaccine, that you consider getting it in the near future. With the restrictions that have been in place for nearly two years being removed, the potential for spread is at its highest. You may have some queries or concerns about the vaccine, so please consult our FAQs below:

Is the vaccine free?

Yes, the vaccine is free from the NHS. Approved vaccines are only available from the NHS, so any companies offering private COVID-19 vaccines should not be accepted

What is being done against vaccine fraud?

The vaccine is only available from the NHS and is provided free of charge. No offers should be accepted from private companies offering the vaccine, as they will not be able to get hold of an approved vaccine, so we won’t know what is in the vaccines they possess. In addition, the NHS will never ask for your bank information including card details, PIN or banking password. The NHS will never come to your home offering the vaccine on the spot. The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.


Do you still get vaccination cards?

Vaccine cards are no longer given out when being vaccinated. Your vaccine status is available on the NHS app, provided by the department of health and social care. You can also contact 119 for a paper copy to be given, to you if you do not have access to the app.

Do I still need to wear a mask or socially distance?

Wearing a mask and social distancing is no longer required, however it is still encouraged, particularly in crowded areas where the virus is more likely to spread.

Will the vaccine make me ill?

The vaccine does not contain the whole virus or live parts of the virus, so it cannot give you COVID-19. However, you can experience side effects which are often mild and can include a sore arm, feeling tired or achy, a headache, nausea and vomiting. Allergic reactions and blood clots have been reported, but are extremely rare.

Will it cause me to test positive for COVID-19?

No the vaccine won’t cause you to test positive for the virus – the protein made by the body in response to the vaccine is not produced in the areas where the swab is taken. The vaccine will cause a positive response on an antibody test however, as antibodies are what help fight infections and are produced in response to the vaccine.

How long does it take to have protection from the virus?

Protection from the virus is not immediate and it can take 2-3 weeks for a good antibody response to be achieved. Over time, the immune response decreases slowly, which is why we need to get the 1st, 2nd and booster doses of the vaccine. No vaccine provides 100% protection against any virus and the COVID vaccine is no exception to this.

The vaccine causes blood clots, why would I take it?

Blood clots have been reported in a very small number of people who received the AstraZeneca vaccine, with an incidence of 1.8 in 1,000,000. Contraceptive pills for example have a blood clot risk of 1 in 1,000. So while they can occur, they are extremely rare. There is currently no evidence of association with the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.




Are COVID-19 vaccines safe as they were made too quickly?

While it’s true they were developed rapidly, they still underwent the same testing as other vaccines and other medication. The basis of the technology that was used for the vaccines has been in development for a number of years before the virus came into common circulation and was ready to be adapted. All three clinical trial stages were fully completed before it was released, as required. Stage 4 trials always take place after release, as a way of gathering data on newly released vaccines and medicines.

Has the vaccine been tested on patients of racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds?

Yes, 42% of global trial participants and 30% of U.S. trial participants are of racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds. There is no evidence to suggest that the available vaccines work differently in people of different ethnic groups.

What is in the vaccine?

The vaccines are free from ingredients such as preservatives, eggs, gelatin or any other animal products. They are also free from metals including iron, nickel and lithium. The vaccine does not contain the whole virus or any live parts of the virus so it can’t cause COVID-19. The Astra-Zeneca vaccine does contain a small amount of ethanol (alcohol) but this is less than what is found in natural foods.

Are the vaccines Halal?

There are no pork or animal derived ingredients within the approved vaccines in the UK, and so are Halal.

Will the vaccine stop me from getting COVID-19?

The vaccine won’t stop you from getting COVID-19. The vaccine helps your body to build an immune response against the virus, so that when you come into the contact with the virus your body doesn’t need to build up a new response. Therefore, it allows the body to fight the virus much quicker. This can stop the effects of the virus from being as severe, also reducing the chance of hospitalisation long term effects.

Can I get the vaccine if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

It is recommended that patients who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy receive the COVID -19 vaccine, as it is not harmful in either pregnancy or breastfeeding.

People have said it can cause infertility, is that true?

There is currently no evidence that the vaccine has any negative effects on a person’s fertility. The vaccine produces a response to the virus in the same way the body would naturally after having COVID-19. There is no evidence the virus will cause infertility either.

Why should my child get vaccinated?

COVID-19 has been seen to be typically milder in children. However, as in adults, severe illness does still occur, leading to hospitalisation and in some cases children have died. Children aged 5 and above are able to receive the vaccine.


How are we given the vaccine?

The vaccine is given through an injection into the upper arm which only takes a few seconds and in most cases only a small scratch is felt when receiving the vaccine.

Do I need an appointment to get the vaccine?

Patients receiving their first, second (and third) doses of the vaccine don’t need an appointment and can walk into any of our vaccination sites as a walk-in. See our COVID-19 Vaccinations page for details. 

Why do we need to have it more than once?

The effectiveness of the vaccine can diminish over time and in order to maintain a high level of effectiveness, it is recommended to get both primary doses and the subsequent booster dose(s).

Do I have to wait after receiving the vaccine?

Initially there was a 15 minute observation period after the Pfizer and Moderna jab, to make sure your body did not react badly to the vaccine. Now more data has been obtained, it has been shown that severe adverse effects immediately after receiving either vaccine are rare, and the waiting period is no longer required as a result.

If I have had COVID-19, do I still need the vaccine?

Contracting the virus does give a level of natural immunity to the virus depending on how severe the illness was. However this is highly variable and not as effective at preventing future severe illness as the vaccine is. Therefore it is still highly recommended to get the COVID vaccines.

I currently have COVID-19, can I still get the vaccine?

If you have COVID-19, you aren’t able to have the vaccine until you have recovered. The NHS recommends waiting 28 days from the date you tested positive or symptoms first started.

Should I take pain killers such including paracetamol, aspirin or ibuprofen before the vaccine?

It is not currently recommended to take painkillers before the vaccination to prevent side effects, as they are not always required and could be taken unnecessarily. If you do have side effects after taking the vaccine, such as fever, aches and pains or headaches, then you can take paracetamol and ibuprofen or aspirin. Ibuprofen and aspirin should not be taken together.

What our customers say...

We love to get feedback from our customers, whether it be recognising the hard work of our pharmacy teams, hearing about the little things that made a difference to your experience, or even comments or concerns that might help us improve - all is welcome! If you would like to leave us some feedback, please contact us here

Judith Hoyle

Haxby Pharmacy Customer

I want to say how impressed I’ve been today with the service I’ve had at Haxby Pharmacy. I called in this morning for advice as I’ve just become unwell and I’m leaving first thing tomorrow on a trip to Lebanon. The pharmacist helped me to arrange an appointment with the local GP, as she suspected I needed antibiotics. I was able to pick up a prescription at the same pharmacy by no later than 3pm that day. Everyone I dealt with was pleasant and helpful and a credit to the pharmacy.

Jenny & Jim Lambert

Poppleton Pharmacy Customer

My husband had a large blister on his knee after a carpet burn. The pharmacist not only gave us reassuring advice, but told us how to treat it with the dressings she gave us by doing the first one for us. A week later, at another visit, she told us and showed us how to carry on with the care, saying how well it was doing. Care and advice like this would be almost impossible to obtain at the moment. We are very lucky to have such a friendly, expert pharmacist, willing to help so readily in our village. All the staff are helpful and friendly too.


Huntington Pharmacy Customer

I cannot thank Huntington Pharmacy enough for their excellent service. They managed to source some emergency supplies of tablets for my mum, which have been discontinued for the next three months. Without these tablets, my parents wouldn’t have been able to travel on their holiday and my mum would have been very poorly. The member of staff who was helping us managed to rectify this, overnight, which is just amazing. He went above and beyond to sort this out and we are so grateful, we cannot thank him enough.

David Finch

Fulford Pharmacy Customer

The staff in the pharmacy are fantastic. I suffer from migraines and the staff are always really helpful for medications and advice. If you live in Fulford, I urge you to use this pharmacy, I would recommend it to anyone.

Susan Richardson

Tower Court Pharmacy Customer

Wow, how kind, caring and helpful are the pharmacist and the staff? The care and help I have been given with dealing with my medication has been outstanding. Sometimes in life you are extremely lucky - I am that person. I couldn't wish for better help and support from you all. Thank you so very much.

John Fletcher

Water End Pharmacy Customer

I've been going to this chemist for twenty years and the staff are fantastic - polite, helpful and happy to help you with whatever you need. I highly recommend this chemist.

Rob Pickersgill

Bishopthorpe Road Pharmacy Customer

Excellent help when I needed an emergency supply of medication. Visiting York for the weekend and left my pills at home in Cheshire! Josh and the staff got on the phone to my GP and had me a supply in 15 minutes. I can't thank them enough!