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The Vaccine 2021


The first group of people to receive the vaccination are those aged 80 and over along with health and care teams. The vaccination will, over time, be offered to large groups of other people* as part of the biggest mass vaccination programme in the NHS history.

Following extensive safety trials and authorisation by the independent regulator (the MHRA), effective COVID-19 vaccines are now available for free in the UK.

  • Vaccines approved to date for use in the UK: Pfizer/BioNTech (Germany) vaccine: approved 2 December 2020

  • Oxford University and AstraZeneca (UK) vaccine: approved 30 December 2020

  • Moderna vaccine (US): approved 8 January 2021

If you are in the 80+ age range and haven’t yet had a call from your GP about the vaccination, please don’t worry. As soon as a site near to you is up and running your GP practice will contact you and book an appointment.

Please don’t contact your GP surgery, staff there will be in touch as soon as they are ready to book appointments. When you do get an appointment it’s important to keep it as the vaccination is the best way of stopping the spread of the virus.

Covid-19 vaccination FAQs are available here.

And remember, your GP surgery is still running all its normal health and care services whilst the vaccination programme progresses.


So if you have long term conditions or serious problems like lumps, unexpected bleeding or respiratory problems, you must contact your GP so you get medical treatment.


To keep everyone safe and prevent the risk of the virus spreading, please ring or contact your surgeries through their websites and the staff there will talk you through the best course of action - this could be a face-to-face appointment or a telephone consultation.

If you have an urgent medical issue please visit NHS 111 online of call 111 where you will be assessed over the phone and directed to the right place for care.


This may mean an appointment is booked at the Royal Berkshire Hospital’s Emergency Department (A&E) or Minor Injuries Unit, or at Reading’s Walk in Centre.

In an emergency where life is at stake you must ring 999.

*The full list of groups to be prioritised for the vaccination is:

  • Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers

  • All those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers

  • All those 75 years of age and over

  • All those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals

  • All those 65 years of age and over. All individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and

  • mortality

  • All those 60 years of age and over

  • All those 55 years of age and over

  • All those 50 years of age and over

Whilst the vaccine has met all quality controls, it is not recommended for some people.

  • Anyone with a history of severe reactions or allergies

  • Children (with some exceptions). The vaccine hasn’t been tested in younger children yet

  • Pregnant women. The vaccines have not yet been tested on pregnant women so this highly precautionary approach is being taken. Women should also not be vaccinated if they are planning a pregnancy within three months of the first dose. If a woman becomes pregnant between her first and second dose of the vaccination then the second dose will be postponed until completion of the pregnancy.

Other vaccines are being developed. They will only be available on the NHS once they have been thoroughly tested to make sure they are safe and effective.

Visit the Gov.UK or NHS website for the most up to date information.

Useful leaflets and information:

COVID-19 vaccination: women of childbearing age, pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding

  • COVID-19 vaccination: guide for older adults

  • COVID-19 vaccination: guide for healthcare workers

  • COVID-19 vaccination: a guide for social care staff

  • COVID-19 vaccination: what to expect after vaccination

  • COVID-19 vaccination: why you are being asked to wait

  • Patient information

  • FAQs

  • Self care

  • COVID-19 Vaccine

  • Keep well this winter

  • Registering with a GP practice

  • Coping guides for children and young people

  • Friends and Family Test

  • South Reading Cancer Project

  • Macmillan Cancer Information Centre


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