Frequently asked questions
Who is going to be vaccinated?
The Scottish Government’s Covid-19 Vaccine Deployment Plan aims to offer vaccinations to everyone in Scotland over the age of 18 and those aged 16 and 17 who are frontline health and social care workers, young carers or have underlying health conditions. In total, this is around 4.5 million people. This is the largest mass vaccination programme ever undertaken in Scotland.
How many doses of vaccine will I receive?
In total you will receive 2 doses of vaccine, injected into your upper arm. These doses will be administered 12 weeks apart. The first dose of vaccine should give good protection from coronavirus. The second dose should provide longer lasting protection.
Will I get instant immunity after I’ve had my first dose?
No. It will take a number of weeks for your body to start building up the defences it needs to fight the virus. The vaccine should reach full effect after your second dose.
How many different vaccines are there?
So far, 3 vaccines have been approved for use by the UK’s independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, and the Moderna vaccine. The AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines are currently in use across Scotland. Moderna is currently scaling up its European supply chain and doses should become available here in the spring.
Although there have been some media reports that vaccine doses could be mixed, this is not the policy in Scotland. If you receive your first dose with one type of vaccine, you should receive the same type for your second dose.
How effective are the vaccines?
None of the vaccines provide 100% immunity against Covid-19. Even if you’ve been vaccinated, there is a chance you might still contract or spread coronavirus. It is important that you continue to follow all Scottish Government guidance, such as social distancing, hand washing, and wearing a face covering.
All of the vaccines do however provide a high level of protection. The Moderna vaccine, for example, has been found in clinical trials to be 94.1% effective in preventing Covid-19 infection, and in those who did become infected, the vaccine was 100% effective against severe Covid-19.
Are the vaccines safe?
All 3 of the vaccines that have been approved for use in the UK have met the strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the MHRA. The Covid-19 vaccines have gone through the exact same process as any other vaccine would, including all of the clinical trials and safety checks. Some barriers that might otherwise hold back these stages haven’t been an issue, such as trial volunteers and finance. Because such a huge amount of global resource has been put into these efforts, the process has been able to move swiftly. That does not mean that any stages have been skipped, or that standards have been lowered.
Since approval, millions of people have now been given a Covid-19 vaccine and reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions, have been very rare.
How long will the protection provided by the vaccine last?
Exactly how long isn’t known yet. Because these are new vaccines, there is no way to tell the length of time that the protection will last. It could be the case that annual boosters are required, however protection might last longer.
Should I contact my GP to arrange a vaccination?
No. Your health board will ensure that you are contacted to arrange your jab.
Will I receive a letter to invite me to be vaccinated?
Not necessarily. Because the roll-out is happening so quickly, many people are receiving telephone calls to arrange vaccination appointments. This may happen at short notice. Many people who have been vaccinated so far have reported receiving their first dose a couple of days after receiving their call.
An announcement was made on 24/01/2021 that letters containing details of vaccine appointments for those in the 70 to 79 age group will be sent in the Fife, Forth Valley, Ayrshire and Arran, Lanarkshire, Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and Lothian health board areas. These will arrive in very distinctive blue envelopes which are being given priority by Royal Mail. The letters will include information on how to reschedule an appointment if it is not suitable.
Read more about this new booking system on the Scottish Government’s website.
I know of other people who are in my age group and have already received their vaccine. Why haven’t I?
Vaccine deployment is being led currently by supply. Because these vaccines are new, the manufacturers are still in the process of scaling up their supply chains. As time passes, the rollout will happen much faster. This means that for now, in these early stages, it is taking a number of weeks to complete the highest priority groups. This is the same picture as the rest of the UK. Don’t worry if you haven’t been invited to receive your first dose yet. The rollout is massively picking up pace and you should hear from your health board soon.
Please check the vaccine delivery schedule section above to check when you can expect to be invited.
Where will I be vaccinated?
The Scottish Government have arranged over 1,100 vaccination sites across Scotland. Where you will be vaccinated will depend upon your circumstances, but you should not have to travel far and your own health practitioner should be able to make arrangements best suited to clinical need.