Covid vaccine Q&A

Can I have the vaccine?
Are there any extra risks for cancer patients?
How do I get the vaccine?
There has been a lot of interest in the coronavirus vaccines, and it is understandable for you to have questions about it – especially if you have been recently diagnosed or are undergoing cancer treatment.

 

Can I have the vaccination?
YES. The vast majority of people on cancer treatment are fine to be vaccinated, even if you are on chemotherapy, targeted anti-cancer drugs, immunotherapy or radiotherapy.

 

Are there any extra risks to cancer patients?
NO. The vaccine is not a live virus and so cannot make you ill, even if your immune system is affected by chemotherapy. There is no evidence that the vaccine is unsafe with anti-cancer therapies.

 

When should I have the vaccine?
For patients undergoing chemotherapy: We recommend you have the vaccine just prior to starting your next cycle of chemotherapy when your blood counts are likely to have recovered. This is to maximise the chance your body will produce immunity as a result of the vaccine. However, if you do not have a choice in dates, or are on continuous chemotherapy, it is safe to have your vaccination at any point as you will still be offered protection from becoming seriously ill with Covid-19. For other treatments: (Targeted therapies, monoclonal antibodies without chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiotherapy) – it is safe to have your vaccination at any point during or after your treatment.

 

Is there anyone who shouldn’t be vaccinated?
According to the national guidance:

  •  Anyone who has had a previous severe allergic reaction to any components of the vaccine.
  • Anyone with very low platelet levels.
  • If you are pregnant you should discuss vaccination with your Obstetrician / GP. For further advice, please speak to your consultant or your GP. The vaccination programme is being co-ordinated by GP surgeries and you will be contacted when appointments are available.

 

How do I get a vaccination? The NHS vaccination programme is being delivered by GPs and larger vaccination sites such as the Sheffield Arena for South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw. When people get their vaccination depends on the priority group they fall into. The priority groups are set by The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). You do not need to do anything, you will be contacted by the NHS when it is your turn to book an appointment. Please do not contact your GP or hospital, you will be contacted direct.

 

Do I still need to shield if I have the vaccination?
The 1st dose of the COVID-19 vaccine should give you good protection from coronavirus. But you need to have the 2 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 the vaccine. So it’s really important that you continue to follow government advice on social distancing and shielding. National lockdown: Stay at Home – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

 

How is the COVID-19 vaccine given?
The COVID-19 vaccine is given as an injection into your upper arm. It’s given as 2 doses. You will have the 2nd dose 3 to 12 weeks after having the 1st dose.

 

Do I need to pay for the vaccination?
The Covid-19 vaccination is only available through the NHS to eligible groups and it is free. Sadly, we are aware of some scams asking for money. The Covid-19 vaccine is free of charge and the NHS will never ask you for:

  • Your bank account or card details
  • Your pin or banking password
  • Copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips

 

How will I be contacted about the vaccination?
The NHS will contact you when it’s your turn to have the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination. The vaccine is being offered at larger vaccination centres, pharmacies and some local NHS services such as hospitals or GP surgeries. When it’s your turn, you’ll be contacted by letter, text or email with information on how to book your appointment. More people are being offered the vaccine every week.

Are there any side effects?

Most side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are mild and should not last longer than a week. You may experience:

  • a sore arm where the needle went in
  • feeling tired
  • a headache
  • feeling achy
  • feeling or being sick

You can take painkillers, such as paracetamol, if you need to.
If you have a high temperature you may have coronavirus or another infection.
If your symptoms get worse or you are worried, call 111.

 

What can I do as a carer?
We would encourage you to visit the website of your GP initially to register as a carer, as many have a simple form enabling you to do so. Given the current circumstances, your GP surgery is likely to be very busy, so it may be necessary to be patient if contacting them by phone to register if it is not possible to do so online. If needed, you could refer to this official page on which carers are shown to be prioritised (see ‘Persons with underlying health conditions’). GPs can record if someone is a carer on their patient record. Find out more here.

Where can I find more information about the vaccines? If you need more information on the COVID-19 vaccination please visit: www.nhs.uk/covidvaccination

 

Sources:
https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/coronavirus-covid-19/covid-vaccine-faqs
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/?priority-taxon=774cee22-d896-44c1-a611-e3109cce8eae