Coronavirus FAQs: vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccine has been proven to be safe and effective at protecting people against Coronavirus.

The NHS is currently offering the Coronavirus vaccine to anyone aged 12 or over.  If you are 16 or 17 years old, you can now go to the Vaccine Bus without booking.

You can make an appointment by booking via the National Booking Portal or by calling NHS 119, free of charge.  

Vaccination sites are run by NHS professionals and have extra measures in place to keep you safe during your visit. If you would prefer to receive the vaccine at a GP surgery, please wait to be contacted.

You can visit the NHS website for further information on the vaccine.

A Coronavirus vaccine bus is in the borough several days a week, which offers Pfizer vaccination to anyone eligible to receive it.

To check where and when the Vaccine bus will be operating please view the Vaccine bus timetable.

Vaccination centres

There are NHS vaccination sites at St Charles Health and Wellbeing Centre and Violet Melchett Health Centre.  If you are 16+ and not had your first or second jab you can book through the West London Call and Recall team on 020 8102 5113 between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.  You can also simply walk into the clinics.  

The centres also provide booster jabs.

St Charles Centre for Health and Wellbeing, Exmoor Street, W10 6DZ is open:

  • Monday – 9am to 1.30pm, walk-ins 10am to 12.30pm
  • Thursday – 9am to 3.30pm, walk-ins 10am to 12.30pm
  • Friday – 9am to 1pm, walk-ins 10am to noon

Violet Melchett Health Centre, 30 Flood Walk, SW3 5RR is open:

  • Tuesday – 9am to 4pm, walk-ins 10am to 3pm (Tuesday and Wednesday will alternate weekly)
  • Wednesday – 9am to 4pm, walk-ins 10am to 3pm (Tuesday and Wednesday will alternate weekly)
  • Friday – 9am to 4pm, walk-ins 10am to 3pm.  
  • Saturday – 9am to 2pm, walk-ins 10am to 1pm 

Vaccinations at Pharmacies

There are a number of pharmacies in the borough that offer vaccinations. Please note the AstraZeneca (AZ) and Moderna vaccines can only be offered to people aged 40+. Days and times can vary from week to week, for the week of Monday 6 to Sunday 12 December the details are:

Vaccination Site Booking Options Vaccine

Medicine Chest

413 to 415 King's Road, London SW10 0LR

  • Online at National Booking or by calling 119
  • Call directly on 020 7351 1142
  • AZ (Tuesday 7 December)
  • Moderna (Tuesday 7 to Saturday 11 Dec)
  • Pfizer (Tuesday 7 to Saturday 11 Dec) – second doses only

Bramley Chemist

132 Bramley Rd, London W10 6TJ

Walk in or call directly on 020 8969 0053 No clinic this week

Golborne Pharmacy

106 Golborne Rd, London W10 5PS

  • Pfizer (Mon 6, Wed 8, Sat 11 and Sun 12 Dec)

Bayswater Pharmacy

39 to 41 Porchester Rd, London W2 5DP

  • Online at National Booking or by calling 119
  • Call directly on 020 7221 6895
  • Walk-in
  • Pfizer (Wed 8 to Sat 11 Dec) - second doses only
  • Moderna (Wed 8 to Sat 11 Dec)
  • AZ (Monday 6 Dec – 11am to 5pm)

Zafash Pharmacy

233 to 235 Old Brompton Rd, London SW5 0EA

  • TBC
Pestle & Mortar
213 Kensington High Street, London W8 6BD
  • Online at National Booking or by calling 119
  • Call directly on 020 7937 9154
  • Walk-in
  • Moderna (Mon 6 to Fri 10 Dec – noon to 6pm)
Benson Pharmacy
276 Harrow Road, London W2 5ES
  • Moderna (Monday 6, Tuesday 7, Thursday 9 Dec – 10am to 5pm and Friday 11 Dec – 10am to 1pm)

Oza Chemist 9 Fulham Broadway, London SW6 1AA 



Second doses

It is vital that those who have received their first jab, get the second one when they can.  The first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine offers a high level of protection, but to get longer-lasting protection everyone will need to get a second dose. If you had your first jab over eight weeks ago you may now have your second vaccination.  You can move your appointment by going to the booking site to cancel your appointment and re-book, by calling NHS119.

If you are 16 or over you can get a second dose when you are due.

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve had about the vaccines.

Booster vaccines 

A COVID-19 booster vaccine helps improve the protection you have from your first two doses of the vaccine. The NHS are now providing COVID-19 booster vaccines for people most at risk from COVID-19 who have had a second dose of a vaccine at least six months ago.
This includes:

  • people aged 40 and over
  • those aged 16 to 49 with a condition that puts them at a higher risk
  • people who live or work in care homes
  • health and social care workers
  • people who care for or live with someone who is more likely to get infections

The Government has announced that anyone aged 18+ will soon be able to get a booster and that the period to wait will be reduced from six months to three months.    

Most people can book online on the national booking portal, go to a walk in centre at St Charles Hospital or Violet Melchett Health and Wellbeing Centre  or wait to be contacted by the NHS. 

You can book your booster vaccine online if it's been five months (152 days) since you had your second dose. You'll be offered appointment dates from six months (182 days) after your second dose. Frontline health and social care workers can book an appointment online if it's been at least six months since their second dose. 

When can children be vaccinated?

All children aged 12 to 15 will be offered one dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination. The vaccine programme for 12 to 15 year olds will take place primarily through schools. Children who are unable to receive the vaccination at school will be followed up with an offer via their GP. A consent form and information leaflet will be used to seek parental consent in the first instance.

The vaccination should help to reduce the risk of complications, time out of education, and the spread of COVID-19 within schools.

Find out more about the vaccination programme for children and young people.  

Information leaflets for children and young people.

What vaccine for Coronavirus is currently available?


In the UK, there are three types of Coronavirus vaccine which have been approved for use:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine
  • Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine
  • Moderna vaccine

The Coronavirus vaccine is given as an injection into your upper arm. They all require two doses to provide the best protection.

The latest evidence suggests the first dose of the vaccine provides protection for up to three months for most people. As a result of this, there has been a change to length of time between the first and second dose of the vaccine.

The second dose was previously 21 days after having the first dose, but this has now changed to eight weeks after.

Who should have the Coronavirus vaccine?

Anyone aged 12+ can get vaccinated. 

How do I get the COVID-19 vaccination?


If you are in one of the eligible groups you can book online or by calling NHS 119.

Walk-in Coronavirus vaccinations are also available on the Vaccination Bus.  Please take along proof of your age, name and address and your NHS number, if you have it.

The walk-in service operates on a first come, first served basis for residents eligible to be vaccinated and it is possible you will be asked to come back another day should supplies run out on a given day.

For information about vaccines, visit the NHS website.

I’ve had my first Coronavirus vaccine, where can I find more information on what to expect next?


When you are contacted by the NHS for your second dose of the vaccine, please attend your appointment.  You can also book online yourself.

Visit the NHS North West London website for further detailed information.

Are the vaccines safe?


Yes, the vaccines have been proven to be safe. The NHS will not offer any Coronavirus vaccinations to the public unless independent experts have signed off that it is safe to do so. The MHRA, the official UK regulator, have said the three types of vaccine are safe and highly effective. There are checks at every stage in the development and manufacturing process, and monitoring continues after authorisation.

But what about the AstraZeneca vaccine, is that safe to have?

The Medicines Regulator, the MHRA, has confirmed the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing COVID-19 continue to outweigh the risks, this is despite a possible link between the vaccination and extremely rare and unlikely specific blood clots.

To put this into context, the overall risk of these blood clots is about four people in every million who receive that vaccine.

The advice continues to be that the benefits of vaccination continue to outweigh any risks and that vaccines continue to be the best way to protect against COVID-19.

There is new, and specific advice for some groups:

1. Anyone who is at a higher risk of specific types of blood clots because of their medical condition should speak to their GP before receiving their COVID-19 vaccination.

2. For people under 40 without other health conditions, it’s currently advised that it’s preferable to have another COVID-19 vaccine instead of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Anyone who did not have these side effects should come forward for their second dose when invited.

For people aged 40 or over and those with other health conditions, the NHS advises that the benefits of being vaccinated outweigh any risk of clotting problems.

Will the vaccine protect me?


The vaccine will reduce the chance of you suffering from Coronavirus. Each vaccine has been tested in more than 20,000 people in different countries and shown to be safe. It may take a week or two for your body to build up some protection from the first dose of vaccine. Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective, so you should continue to take recommended precautions after vaccination to avoid infection. Some people may still get Coronavirus despite having a vaccination, but this should be less severe.

Will the vaccine have side effects?


Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short-term, and not everyone gets them.

The Medicines Regulator, the MHRA, has confirmed the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine in preventing COVID-19 continue to outweigh the risks, this is despite a possible link between the vaccination and extremely rare and unlikely specific blood clots.

The advice continues to be that the benefits of vaccination continue to outweigh any risks and that vaccines continue to be the best way to protect against COVID-19.

If your first dose was with the AstraZeneca vaccine and you did not suffer any serious side effects, you should have the second dose on time as you may still be at high risk of the complications of COVID-19. Having the second dose will give you higher and longer lasting protection.

Visit the NHS North West London website for further detailed information.

Will the vaccine work with the new strain?


Yes, there is no evidence currently that the new strain will be resistant to the current vaccines. Viruses, such as the winter flu, branch into different strains, but these small variations rarely make vaccines ineffective.

Should people who have already had Coronavirus get vaccinated?


Yes, you should get vaccinated if you are offered the Coronavirus vaccine by the NHS. The MHRA, the official UK regulator, have decided that getting vaccinated is just as important for those who have already had Coronavirus as it is for those who haven’t.

Do I need to leave a space between having the flu vaccine and having the COVID-19 vaccine?


It is not essential to leave time between the flu and Coronavirus vaccine. There has never been a more important time to make sure you – and those you care for – are protected against serious illnesses such as the flu. If you haven’t already received your flu jab and are eligible for the free vaccine, please contact your GP or Pharmacist to book your appointment.

Can I get the Coronavirus vaccine privately?


No. Coronavirus vaccinations are currently only available through the NHS. Anyone who claims to be able to provide you with a vaccine for a fee is likely to be committing a crime and should be reported to the Police 101 service and/or Local Trading Standards.

I’m pregnant/breastfeeding, should I get the vaccine?


You can take the vaccine. The MHRA has updated its guidance for pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding.

If you're pregnant, you should be offered the vaccine when you're eligible for it.

It's preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine because they've been more widely used during pregnancy in other countries and have not caused any safety issues. Pregnant women are able to book through the NHS booking service and will be directed to vaccination centres offering Pfizer and Moderna in their local area in line with this guidance. If you are pregnant you can also speak to your GP practice or maternity service if you have any questions about the vaccine or can talk to a healthcare professional at your vaccination appointment.

You can also have the vaccine if you're breastfeeding.

Speak to a healthcare professional before you have the vaccination. They will discuss the benefits and risks with you.

There's no evidence that the Coronavirus vaccine has any effect on your chances of becoming pregnant. There is no need to avoid becoming pregnancy after vaccination. The vaccine cannot give you or your baby COVID-19.

Visit the NHS North West London website for further detailed information.

What about the allergic reactions that have been reported?


The Coronavirus vaccines are safe and effective for the vast majority of people – they have been tested on tens of thousands of people and assessed by experts. Tell staff before you are vaccinated if you have ever had a serious allergic reaction

(anaphylaxis). You should not have the vaccine if you've ever had a serious allergic reaction to a previous vaccine. If you do have a reaction to the vaccine, it usually happens in minutes. Staff giving the vaccine are trained to deal with allergic reactions and treat them immediately.

Can I catch Coronavirus from the vaccine?


You cannot catch Coronavirus from the vaccine, but it is possible to have caught Coronavirus and not realise you have the symptoms until after your vaccination appointment.

For more information on Coronavirus symptoms, visit the NHS website.

Can I give Coronavirus to anyone, after I have had the vaccine?


To protect yourself and your family, friends and colleagues you should:

  • practice social distancing
  • wear a face mask inside or if you are in close proximity to others
  • wash your hands carefully and frequently
  • let fresh air into your home by opening windows, doors and air vents as much as possible
  • follow the current Government guidance 
When will I have my second vaccine booked?


If your GP booked you in for your first vaccine they will contact you and book you for your second vaccine eight weeks later. Please note your GP may not contact you to book you in until six to seven weeks after your first vaccine. 

If you booked your first vaccine through one of the online booking systems, you will be able to book your second vaccine for eight weeks later through the national booking system , you can do this the day after you have had your first vaccine.

What happens if more than eight weeks passes before I have my second vaccine?

If for any reason you miss having your second vaccine eight weeks after your first, please make sure you book-in and have it as soon as possible.

Last updated: 6 December 2021