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Frequently Asked Questions: Covid-19 Vaccinations

Below are responses to some of the most frequently asked questions from members of the public on how Covid-19 vaccinations are being rolled out in Liverpool.


Who is currently eligible for a Covid-19 vaccination?

The first groups that were invited for a vaccine included:

  • people aged over 70
  • care home staff and residents
  • frontline health and social care workers
  • those who are clinically extremely vulnerable (advised to shield)

If you are in one of these above groups and have already been invited, please use the booking information you were sent to arrange this as soon as possible.

If you are in one of the above groups but haven’t received an invitation yet, you can book an appointment now through the national booking service at or by calling 119 anytime between 7am -11pm, seven days a week (free of charge).

If a suitable slot is not available through the national booking service, you can also call your GP practice to request one.

The next phase of the Covid-19 vaccination is also now beginning in Liverpool, for the following priority groups:

  • People aged 65 and over
  • People aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions (as defined by national criteria - see below)
  • Those in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is identified as clinically vulnerable to covid  (as defined by national criteria - see below)

If you are in one of these groups, you will be contacted and invited to book an appointment soon.

Anyone who does not fall into one of these above priority groups is not eligible for a vaccine at this time. However, the vaccine will be offered more widely as soon as possible.

If you do not fall into one of the above categories, please do not contact your GP practice to request a vaccination, or to ask when you will become eligible. They will not have this information, and you will not help you get seen any faster.


How are decisions about prioritisation of patients being made?

The NHS is prioritising vaccinating those people who experts have agreed will benefit from it the most first, based on national guidelines from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

The vaccine will be offered more widely as soon as possible, in line with the guidance about who should be prioritised.

You can read the full JCVI guidance here:

Further information on who is covered in these priority groups is also included in the government’s ‘Green Book’ for public health professionals on immunisation here:


I am in an eligible patient group but I haven’t received an invite yet – what should I do?

Until now, the NHS has asked people to wait to be invited for a Covid-19 vaccination - and that remains the advice for most people. 

The majority of people aged over 70 and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable (advised to shield) in Liverpool have already received a first dose of the vaccine now. However anyone in one of these groups who still hasn’t had one, should get in touch with the NHS to arrange this as soon as possible.

You can do this by booking an appointment through the national booking service at or by calling 119 anytime between 7am -11pm, seven days a week (free of charge).

If a suitable slot is not available through the national booking service, you can also call your GP practice to request one.


Who is ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’? I have been shielding – am I eligible for a vaccination?

There is a list of nationally set criteria which defines someone as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable, and therefore part of the patient group being offered the vaccine.

This group will have also been advised by the NHS to shield during periods of lockdown because clinicians have deemed them to be at higher risk of serious illness from catching the virus.

You can view the list of conditions which mean a patient is deemed Clinically Extremely Vulnerable here:

Please be aware that on 16th February the government extended the advice for these individuals to continue shield to 31st March.

They also announced that more people will now be advised to shield, based on a new risk assessment to identify further patients who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable. This assessment is based on several health and personal factors, such as age, ethnicity and body mass index (BMI), as well as certain medical conditions and treatments, which when combined, could mean someone is at a higher risk from COVID-19.

People who are newly identified under this criteria will be contacted by the government directly this week and advised to shield, and will be invited for a vaccine between late February or early March.

You can find the information and guidance about what this means, and how to get support if you are shielding, on the council website here:

Please be aware that even after both doses of the vaccine, all patients must continue to follow social distancing rules and clinically extremely vulnerable patients are advised to continue to shield.

If you think you qualify as 'clinically extremely vulnerable' but have not been advised of this by the NHS, please talk to your GP for further advice.  


I am an unpaid carer for someone. When can I have the vaccine?

Carers who meet certain criteria will be invited for a vaccine in the coming weeks. However, not everyone who looks after someone will be eligible.

This priority group includes carers who receive a carer’s allowance, and those who are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is clinically vulnerable to severe illness if they catch COVID-19.            

Those deemed as clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 includes:

  • children with severe neuro-disabilities (you will be informed of this by your GP)
  • those who are designated Clinically Extremely vulnerable (advised to shield)
  • those who need care because of advanced age
  • adults who have underlying health conditions (as defined below)

            The underlying health conditions included within this criteria are:

  • Chronic respiratory disease
  • Chronic heart disease and vascular disease
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Chronic neurological disease
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Immunosuppression
  • Asplenia or dysfunction of the spleen
  • Morbid obesity
  • Severe mental illness
  • Younger adults in long-stay nursing and residential care settings

All those who are eligible as carers under these national guidelines should receive an invitation for a vaccine by 30th April.

Anyone in Liverpool who is already identified as a carer in their GP records; those who receive Carer’s Allowance; or those known to Liverpool City Council or Liverpool Carers Centre Local Solutions, will be automatically invited for a vaccination. 

However, anyone who thinks they might be eligible to receive a vaccine as a carer, but who doesn’t currently receive Carer’s Allowance or have their carer status recorded with any of the organisations mentioned above, should contact the Liverpool Carers Centre now. This includes carers aged 16 – 18, as well as adult carers.

They can do this either by calling: 07545652775 or by emailing: Alternatively, they can also complete an e-referral form by visiting:

Following a short assessment process, if a person is identified as an unpaid carer they will be provided with details to arrange a vaccination.

You can also read more about the definition of a carer in the government’s ‘Green Book’ on immunisation here:


How is the NHS delivering Covid 19 vaccinations?

The NHS is currently delivering the vaccine in three main ways:

  • Local vaccination centres - Groups of GP practices working together (known as Primary Care Networks) are contacting eligible patients and inviting them for appointments at local vaccination centres when it is their turn to receive the vaccine. There are currently 14 centres across Liverpool – you’ll be invited to the one your GP practice is linked to.
  • Regional vaccination centres - People who are eligible and who haven’t already been vaccinated by their local GP led vaccination services might also receive a letter from the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service, giving them the option of booking an appointment at a different site. The nearest mass vaccination centre to Liverpool is in St Helens, and over the coming weeks vaccinations will be offered in some local community pharmacy and hospital settings through this service. 
  • Hospital vaccinations - Local hospitals are working to vaccinate their own frontline staff, and staff in patient-facing roles from across the wider health and social care workforce.


Where is my nearest vaccination centre?

Liverpool currently has 14 local GP led vaccination centres operating across different areas of the city. These are being delivered to patients through Liverpool’s Primary Care Networks (groups of GP practices working together).

This means that you might not be contacted by your usual practice, and you might be asked to go to a different location for the vaccination. This also means that your own practice might not be able to answer questions about your vaccination – however vaccination centres are using patient lists from each practice, and you’ll be contacted when it’s your turn to have the vaccine.

In addition to the GP led appointments, some appointment slots are also bookable through the national covid-19 vaccine booking system at This allows eligible patients to book an appointment at a regional mass vaccination centre, or at some local community pharmacies and some hospital sites. 

We are not currently publicising vaccine centre locations because you can’t just drop in for a vaccination – you will be told where to go when you are given your appointment slot.


Why can’t I choose which of Liverpool’s GP-led vaccination sites I go to for vaccination?

Each GP-led vaccination centre in Liverpool is linked to a specific group of local GP practices. You will need to attend the vaccination centre linked to your own GP practice because they will have access to your medical records and contact details – whereas other sites won’t – and without access to  this information, it is not possible to offer you a vaccination.


Is there anywhere I can just drop-in for vaccination, rather than wait for an appointment?

Vaccinations are not available on a drop-in basis. This is to help ensure that those at highest risk get vaccinated first.

The NHS will contact you when it is your turn. Please don’t turn up to a vaccination centre without a pre-booked appointment, as they will be unable to vaccinate you.


How will I be contacted about making an appointment for a vaccination?

If you are invited to attend a vaccination by a local GP-led vaccination centre, you could be contacted either by phone call, or by text message - depending on what contact information you have provided to your GP practice.

Alternatively, you could receive a letter from the NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Booking Service which allows you to book an appointment online or over the phone. This service will offer you an appointment at a number of sites, including one of three Liverpool pharmacies, or the nearest mass vaccination centre in St Helens.

However, we know that travelling further to receive a vaccine isn’t an appropriate option for everyone, so if a suitable appointment isn't available through this booking service – you can also wait for your local GP-led service to get in touch with you if you prefer.


Why did some practices (or areas of the city) start vaccinating their patients sooner than others? Why do some areas seem further ahead?

It was not possible to start vaccinating all patients at exactly the same time across all areas of the city - this had to be done in stages so that each vaccine centre was ready, and had the right vaccine supplies.

That means you might know others your age who have been invited for their vaccination sooner than you - but please don’t worry, the NHS will get to you.

Now that all of our vaccination centres are operational in Liverpool, and as vaccine supplies continue to increase, many more people will be invited to attend over the coming weeks.


Will Liverpool be getting a mass vaccination centre?

In Liverpool, we want to make access to vaccination as easy as possible for people and ensure our most vulnerable communities are able to have their vaccination appointment as close to home as possible.

This means that instead of creating a single mass vaccination centre for the city, our plan is to deliver the same capacity of vaccines through a bigger network of sites situated closer to people’s homes.

We currently have 14 GP-led vaccination centres in Liverpool. Each of Liverpool’s 85 GP practices is linked to at least one of these sites, and eligible patients are told which location they need to attend when they are invited to receive their vaccination.

In addition, there are also a number of regional vaccination centres open (the closest is currently in St Helens), and some vaccination appointments are now available from a number of community pharmacies and local hospital sites too - all bookable through the national covid booking system at

We are also continuing to actively look at the development of extra locations to help improve access further. In planning for this we are looking at what we can learn from Liverpool’s recent experience with Covid-19 mass testing, and how people chose to access the various locations that were made available as part of this programme.


Can I pay to get a vaccination privately?

No. Vaccinations are only available through the NHS, and the only ways that you can be contacted to receive one is by the NHS, a local GP surgery, or your employer. Anyone offering you a paid-for vaccine is committing a fraud crime.


If it’s not my usual practice contacting me, how can I be sure that it’s not a scam?

Please remember that:

  • The NHS will never ask you for any of your bank or card details, or for any payment. Anyone offering a paid-for vaccine is committing a fraud crime.
  • The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.
  • The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.

If you receive a call that feels suspicious, you should hang up immediately. If you think you may have been the victim of fraud you should report this directly to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Where the victim is vulnerable, and particularly if there is a concern that someone has or might come to their house, you should report it to the Police by calling 101.


Can vaccinations be offered at home for patients who are housebound?

A roving vaccination team for Liverpool has recently been established for housebound patients who are unable to attend a vaccination centre for medical reasons.

If your GP record shows that you are clinically housebound and you haven’t been contacted yet, you should contact your GP practice to request this as soon as possible.

However, we would ask people to make every effort to attend a clinic location if at all possible because we can get through patients more quickly in a clinic setting than on home visits.

If existing GP records do not recognise you (or a family member) as housebound, but you think that they require a home vaccination, you should discuss this with the GP practice.


What provisions are being made for patients with communication needs?

All local vaccine centres are fully accessible, and should be able to provide hearing loops.

Additional support can be provided, but it’s important to make sure that your GP practice has a note of any communication needs so that this is in your records.

If you need any extra support to be put in place for your vaccine appointment, you should also make staff aware when you book your appointment so that they can arrange this in advance.  


How soon can I expect to be invited for vaccination if I am not currently eligible?

We can’t give exact timescales, because it depends on where you are on the priority list and the availability of vaccine supplies. However, we expect vaccinating the current patient priority groups to take until the end of April.

GPs and practice staff are working very hard to get to everyone as quickly as possible.


Why am I hearing of some people who are in a lower priority group already receiving the vaccine?

Liverpool’s vaccination centres are following the national guidelines around the prioritisation of patients. However, because the Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at a very low temperature and used within a very short period of time once opened, there could be some occasions where doses need to be used quickly to avoid vaccine wastage.

In these instances, our vaccination sites have been offering it out to other patients within the current priority groups who are able to attend at short notice, or to local health and social care staff who are also a current priority group, but may be younger in age.


What happens if people miss a vaccine appointment? Is there a 'back up' list?

If you have a vaccination slot booked which you are no longer able to attend, it is really important that you cancel and rearrange the appointment with as much advanced notice as possible.

This will enable us to ensure that your appointment slot can be offered to someone else who is waiting, and help to minimise the risk of any vaccine wastage.

All of our GP-led vaccination centres have a reserves list in place of other individuals within the current priority staff or patient groups who can be contacted and offered a vaccine in your place.


How soon after my first vaccination, will I get invited back for my second dose?

You will be told when you need to go back for a second dose after you have had your first dose.

The latest evidence suggests the first dose of the vaccine provides significant levels of protection, so the advice about when the second dose is needed has changed to say it needs to be done within 12 weeks of the first.


Do I still need the vaccine, even if I have already had Covid-19?

Yes, you should still get vaccinated if you have had covid-19.There are no safety concerns from vaccinating individuals with a history of Covid-19 (whether confirmed or suspected), and it is possible that you could still carry and pass on the illness to others.


If I have the Covid-19 vaccination, then I later need to take a test for the virus, could it trigger a positive result?

No – the vaccine will not affect the result of a test for Covid-19.


What’s in the vaccine?

None of the available covid-19 vaccines contain any animal products.

A detailed review of each of the Covid19 vaccines and their ingredients has been provided by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and can be found at the below links:

For the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine information is available here

For the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine information is available here

The British Islamic Medical Association have produced a helpful guide for the Muslim community which can be found here


How can I be sure that the vaccine is safe and effective?

The NHS will not offer any vaccinations to the public until independent experts have signed off that it is safe, and beneficial to do so.

There are two different Covid-19 vaccines currently available in the UK under the NHS - the Pfizer/BioNTech, and Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines.

The MHRA, the official UK regulator, has approved both of these as safe and offering a high level of protection, and we have full confidence in their expert judgement and processes. 

However, they also advise that anyone with a known allergy to any of the specific ingredient in either vaccine should not have them.

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 are authorised and being used in the wider population too.


The vaccine was developed very quickly – how was this possible without cutting corners?

The global nature of the pandemic has meant that the development of vaccines has been the focus of huge amounts of funding, knowledge and resource from countries all around the world. It has also been possible to recruit patients to be involved in testing the vaccine much more quickly than would normally be the case.

It’s also important to understand that these vaccines haven’t been developed from nowhere. Scientists had already been working on vaccines against the SARS group of viruses, of which Covid-19 is just one, for many years previously.

All of the vaccine that have been approved for use in the UK have met very strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

None of the other vaccines under development will be available until they have passed those same strict standards either, which apply to every vaccine the NHS uses.


Is one vaccine better than another, and can I choose which one I have?

No. Both of the vaccines currently available in the UK – both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines - have been shown to be safe and to offer high levels of protection against COVID-19.

This means that you can feel assured that whatever vaccine you are offered, it will be worth your while to have.


I want to check the vaccine is safe for me because of a condition, allergy, or medication that I am on. Who can I speak to for advice?

The vaccines are safe and effective for the vast majority of people. However, you should not have the COVID-19 vaccine if you have ever had a serious allergic reaction (called 'anaphylaxis') to a previous dose of the same vaccine or any of the ingredients in the vaccine.

Please be assured that everybody will be screened for potential allergic reactions before getting vaccinated. Checking for allergies, as well as being able to deal with any allergic reactions in the rare instances that they do happen, is a central part of training for all vaccinators.


Is the vaccine safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women, or those currently planning a pregnancy?

The latest national guidance says that these groups of women can have the vaccine. You can read more about this at the link provided below:


Can I have the vaccine if I am planning or undergoing fertility treatment?

The latest guidance is that women who choose to accept COVID-19 vaccination do not need to avoid fertility treatment/pregnancy after vaccination, and should be able to receive it without compromising their planned fertility treatment.

You can read more about this in a statement from The Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists (ARCS) and British Fertility Society (BFS) have produced some further advice which you can read here:


Can I have the vaccine if I am immuno-supressed?

Although the vaccine was not tested on those with very serious immunological conditions, the vaccine has been proven to be very safe and effective for the vast majority of people.

There may be a small number of people with very complex or severe immunological problems who don't respond to the vaccine, but it is unlikely that the vaccine will have no protective effect at all. 

However, you may want to discuss the vaccine further with a specialist doctor involved in your care before you have the vaccination.


I have ME - when will I get the vaccine?

The vaccination programme continues to prioritise people most clinically at risk from Covid, and broadly speaking patients with ME/CFS do not come under the current criteria for underlying health conditions. However, some patients with ME who have more severe or additional health problems may be included.  

Invitations for those eligible due to underlying health conditions are only just beginning to be sent in mid-February and won’t be complete until the end of April.

If you don’t receive an invitation in the next few weeks but think you should be included in this group, you can contact your GP practice to discuss your level of risk and whether you should be included. This is a decision for each patient’s own GP to make by applying their clinical judgement, on a case by case basis.


My child has a neuro-disability. Does this mean I am eligible to receive a vaccine as a parent or carer?

Under the current ​national JCVI guidelines, only the parents/carers of children and young people with very severe neuro-disabilities, or designated as clinically extremely vulnerable, are eligible to receive the vaccine as an unpaid carer.

Those designated as clinically extremely vulnerable are those who have also been sent letters asking them to shield during the pandemic.

The families of children identified with a severe neuro-disability will receive a letter from Alder Hey to inform them of this shortly.

Examples include children who:-

  • have tracheostomies
  • are non-verbal
  • older children who require assistance with activities of daily living such as eating
  • with neuro-disability severe enough to require use of a wheelchair or walking aid
  • who tend to get recurrent respiratory tract infections and who frequently spend time in specialised residential care settings for children with complex needs

We want to reassure parents and carers that there is strong evidence that children are at low risk of severe illness or health complications due to catching covid19, and the vast majority of neuro-disabilities do not increase a child's clinical vulnerability.


Once I have had the vaccine, will I be immune?

The vaccine will give you the best protection against Covid-19, but even once you’ve had it there is still a chance you might get or spread the virus..

This means that even once you have been vaccinated, you will still need to follow the national lockdown rules, and continue to follow all social distancing guidance, wash your hands frequently, and wear a face mask.


I work in health or social care. When will I get my vaccination, and where can I get it from?

Frontline health and social care staff are a current government priority for vaccination. If you haven’t heard anything about plans for vaccination of staff in your workplace yet, please speak to your employer directly about this in the first instance.

Social care workers are now also able to use the national booking system to book an appointment for vaccination. You'll be asked to confirm your employment as part of the process, and also asked to show ID when you arrive for your appointment.

Please be aware that you may also be required to provide your NHS number in order to be vaccinated as a health or social care worker, so it’s a good idea to find this out in advance if you can.

If you don’t know your NHS number, there’s information on how you can find it here:


I’m a critical worker – am I eligible to get the vaccine yet?

Currently, the only group being invited to have the vaccine based on their occupation are health and social care workers. This is because they are at increased personal risk of exposure to infection with Covid-19, and of transmitting that infection to vulnerable patients in health and social care settings.

There will be some people in other roles who are also eligible for the vaccine now because they are clinically extremely vulnerable (those who have been shielding), but this is based on their individual health circumstances rather than their role at work.

The JCVI says that vaccination for those at increased risk of exposure to Covid-19 due to their occupation could be a priority in the second phase of the programme, but we don’t yet have further information on what this might look like.

You can read the full guidance here:


Can I get advice on the Covid-19 vaccine in other formats and languages?

There is general information available in different languages, BSL, Easy Read and large print here:

If you need this information in Braille, or any other format, please email:

You can also download information about the covid vaccine and pregnancy and breastfeeding in the same range of accessible formats here:

There is also further information on our resources page here:

If you need an interpreter for your vaccination appointment, you are entitled to this. Please ask your GP to book an interpreter for you. If you have any problems with this please email or text 07920 206 386


Getting further help & advice 

If the above FAQs don’t answer your question or enquiry about Covid-19 vaccinations, you can email us at:

If you don’t use email then you can phone our main reception on 0151 296 7000 so that they can take your details and pass them to the team dealing with these enquiries. 

You can also visit for further information and advice.