Updated 15/10/2021

COVID-19 Booster jabs

The COVID-19 vaccination boosters are now available for anyone in these groups:

  • those living in residential care homes for older adults
  • all adults aged 50 years or over
  • frontline health and social care workers
  • all those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 and adult carers
  • adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals

The NHS will contact you when it is your turn for the booster however, a number of sites are now offering the option to walk in provided you meet the criteria for a booster vaccination and it has been six months (182 days) since your second dose of the vaccination.

Booster walk-in sessions

As long as you have proof that there have been at least six months (182 days) since your second vaccine, and you meet the criteria, you can now walk into a variety of locations across our area to get your COVID-19 booster vaccination.

Find out more

Winter flu vaccinations

The flu vaccine is a safe and effective vaccine. It’s offered every year on the NHS to help protect people at risk of getting seriously ill from flu.

Flu vaccination is important because:

  • more people are likely to get flu this winter as fewer people will have built up natural immunity to it during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • if you get flu and COVID-19 at the same time, research shows you’re more likely to be seriously ill
  • getting vaccinated against flu and COVID-19 will provide protection for you and those around you for both these serious illnesses

If you’ve had COVID-19, it’s safe to have the flu vaccine. It will still be effective at helping to prevent flu.

You may be eligible for both the flu and the COVID-19 booster vaccines. If you are offered both vaccines, it’s safe to have them at the same time.

Find out more 

COVID-19 vaccines are now available for everyone over 12

Young people aged 16 and 17

The NHS is offering a 1st dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to people aged 16 and 17. If you will turn 18 within 3 months, you can also get a 2nd dose.

You can book your appointment at a larger vaccination centre or pharmacy now or wait to be invited to go to a local NHS service.

Book your COVID-19 vaccination appointment

Children aged 12 to 15

All children aged 12 to 15 will be offered a 1st dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Parents and guardians will get a letter with information about when the vaccine will be offered. Most children will be given their vaccine at school.

Some children are being offered 2 doses of the vaccine if either:

  • they live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)
  • they have a condition that means they’re at high risk from COVID-19

If your child is eligible for 2 doses of the vaccine, you’ll be contacted by a local NHS service such as their GP surgery to arrange their appointments.

Find out more about COVID-19 vaccination for children and young people on GOV.UK

Nurse and young person getting vaccinated

Getty Image

Mums-to-be urged to get NHS COVID-19 jab

Vaccine in pregnancy

The NHS in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes is urging all expectant mums to get the COVID-19 vaccine after new data shows the overwhelming majority of pregnant women hospitalised with the virus have not had a jab.

The figures also reveal that no pregnant women with both doses of the vaccine had been admitted to hospital.  Since May, just three women have been admitted after having their first vaccine. In contrast, almost all (98%) pregnant women admitted to hospital with COVID-19 had not been jabbed.

Local midwives and GPs are stressing the need to encourage pregnant women to get the jab.  Vaccines save lives, and these figures are another stark reminder that the COVID-19 jab can keep you, your baby and your loved ones, safe and out of hospital.

Vaccination remains the best way to protect against the known risks of COVID-19 in pregnancy for both mother and baby, including admission to intensive care and premature birth.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives have both recommended vaccination as one of the best defences for pregnant women against severe COVID-19 infection, while the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation confirms the jab has been shown to be effective and safe for women carrying a baby.

Pregnant women who have concerns or questions on the COVID-19 vaccination, can send their questions to the local NHS vaccination lead midwife via  blmkccg.communications@nhs.net

Government message

Vaccine now available for everyone over 16

People aged 16 to 17 can now get a COVID-19 vaccine and more than 360,000 have already been vaccinated.  All at-risk people aged 12 to 15 have also been invited for a vaccination and young people are encouraged to take up the offer as soon as possible to build vital protection before returning to school or college in September.

Hospitals are seeing a rise in unvaccinated young adults admitted with COVID-19. A fifth of COVID-19 hospital admissions across England are aged 18 to 34 – 4 times higher than the peak in the winter of 2020.

Get vaccinated without an appointment

Anyone over 16 can have their vaccination at any of the local NHS walk-in centres.  No appointment needed.

Drop in sessions for Pfizer vaccinations

If you are over 16 you can get your first dose of the Pfizer vaccination – or your second dose if you are over 18 and had your first Pfizer dose at least eight weeks ago – from centres across Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes, including:

  • Dunstable, Watling House, High St North – 9am-5pm every day this week.

Vaccines are safe and effective

Approved COVID-19 vaccines are safe and have gone through the same clinical trials and safety checks that other licensed medicines go through.

Over 40 million people in the UK – including two thirds of adults in Central Bedfordshire – have had at least one dose of a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine and the safety of the vaccines continues to be monitored. Reports of serious side effects are very rare.

To find out more watch this BBC video

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Side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine

Like all medicines, the COVID-19 vaccine can cause side effects, but not everyone gets them. Any side effects are usually mild and go away within a few days.

Common side effects

Most side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are mild and should not last longer than a week, such as:

  • a sore arm from the injection
  • feeling tired
  • a headache
  • feeling achy
  • feeling or being sick

You may also get a high temperature or feel hot or shivery one or two days after your vaccination. You can take painkillers such as paracetamol if you need to. If your symptoms get worse or you’re worried, call 111.

If you have a high temperature that lasts longer than two days, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, you may have COVID-19. Stay at home and get a test.

You cannot catch COVID-19 from the vaccine, but you may have caught it just before or after your vaccination.

Blood clotting

The Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency is investigating reports of an extremely rare blood clotting problem affecting a small number of people who had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

It’s not yet clear why it affects some people.

The COVID-19 vaccine can help stop you getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19. For people aged 40 or over and those with other health conditions, the benefits of being vaccinated with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh any risk of clotting problems.

For people under 40 without other health conditions, it’s preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine instead of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

Find out more about COVID-19 vaccination and blood clotting on GOV.UK

What is the impact of Covid-19 vaccines on fertility?

Statement

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has said: “ We want to reassure women that there is no evidence to suggest that Covid-19 vaccines will affect fertility. Claims of any effect of Covid-19 vaccination on fertility are speculative and not supported by any data.”

Further information and more detail on this can be found on their website.

COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy

If you’re pregnant, or think you might be, you can have the COVID-19 vaccine. You’ll be invited when your age group are offered it or earlier if you have a health condition or reason that means you’re eligible.

It’s preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. This is because they’ve been more widely used during pregnancy in other countries and have not caused any safety issues.

You can book your COVID-19 vaccination online. During the booking process, you’ll be asked if you’re pregnant. This is to make sure you’re offered an appointment for the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.

COVID-19 useful information

Further Support

Our local carers organisation, Carers in Bedfordshire, also continues to provide support, information and advice for carers.  Further information on their services can be found on their website or by calling 0300 111 1919.

Help with transport to vaccination appointments

If you don’t have your own transport, and are unable to use public transport, to get to your vaccination appointment, you may be able to get some assistance from local organisations.

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