With the first wave of vaccinations against the Covid-19 virus now under way across the UK, the Government has produced a guidance leaflet for older adults on what to expect.
Older people will be among the first to be vaccinated, together with frontline healthcare workers and people with underlying health conditions which make them especially susceptible to the virus. The first age group to be contacted for vaccination is the over-80s, followed by over-75s, over 70s and so on.
The Government advice leaflet is specifically aimed at older people, letting them know about the vaccination process and what to expect. As well as being distributed through local primary care services, you can access an online copy (in various formats) by clicking here. Below is a summary of the main points in the leaflet.
It begins with a brief description of the Covid-19 virus (also known as coronavirus) including its main symptoms and why it’s important for older people to guard against catching it. Three types of vaccine have now been approved to combat the vaccine. The second – developed in the UK and known as the ‘Oxford Astrazeneca Vaccine’ – is much easier to store, transport and distribute, enabling a significant escalation of the national vaccination programme.
Both vaccines require two doses to be given, the current plan being to administer the second dose about 12 weeks after the first. The second dose boosts protection against the virus, although the first dose is proven to be effective and the initial focus is on giving it to as many people as possible as quickly as possible.
The leaflet goes on to explain who should have the vaccine and why, including listing underlying medical conditions which make people more susceptible to the effects of the virus. It adds that a very small number of people should not have the vaccine, mainly those who suffer with severe allergies.
Having the vaccination will reduce the chance of catching the nCovid-19 virus or suffering more serious effects from it. The leaflet explains: “It may take a week or two for your body to build up some protection from the first dose of vaccine. The vaccine has been shown to be effective and no safety concerns were seen in studies of more than 20,000 people. Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective – some people may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, but this should be less severe.”
It also lists some of the common side-effect which are associated with most vaccines, including some soreness at the injection site, feeling tired or suffering mild aches and pains. These side-effects are short-lived and easily treated, and many people will experience none at all. The leaflet also dispels some common myths about the vaccine, including:
- You cannot catch Covid-19 from having the vaccine
- The vaccine does not give instant protection. You should continue to follow all the current guidance aimed at stopping the spread of the virus.
- You do still need to have the Covid-19 vaccine even if you’ve already had the annual flu vaccination.
To read the leaflet in full click here. A separate guide has been produced on ‘What to expect after your Covid-19 vaccination’. It will be given to people when they have their first vaccination, but you can also read it by clicking here.