Information on COVID-19 vaccination for front line health and care staff

This page is for all staff who work in health and care organisations in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire to find out more about getting vaccinated against COVID-19.  It complements our Frequently Asked Questions with information of particular use to those who work across our sector. For example you might work in a care home or you may be a social work practitioner.

This page has been created to help give you the information you need to make an informed choice about the COVID-19 vaccination.  You may choose to refer to it during team meetings or 121 sessions with colleagues.  It should act as a prompt to discussion and, hopefully, answer some of the questions you may have.

The page will be updated when new and relevant information is available and when topics of interest arise.  If you have a query which is not answered here or on the Frequently Asked Questions page, please speak with your line manager, trusted colleagues, or send us an email, clearly stating your name, role, and organisation.

Any forthcoming events for front line staff, like webinars or Question and Answer sessions will also be posted here with joining details, so do check back regularly.

How do I know if I qualify as front line health and care staff?

There are various national reference documents which define front line health and care staff. Some links are provided below. A simple definition to use as a guide, is anyone whose role involves either providing direct personal care or having direct contact with  people receiving care.

Vaccinating front line social care workers

Operational guidance for front line health and social care workers

Who can I speak with before I decide to have my vaccination?

It is best that you speak with your line manager. However, if that is not possible or you don’t feel comfortable, consider speaking with a trusted colleague or we can arrange for you to speak to a clinician. You can send in a question by email where a clinician will respond to you directly.  Please make sure to include your full name, role, and organisation in your message.

What more do we know about vaccine safety?

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has stated the vaccine is highly effective. The first dose of the vaccine should give you good protection from coronavirus, but you need to have the second dose to give you full protection which is longer lasting. After having both doses of the vaccine most people will be protected against coronavirus.

There is a small chance you might still get or spread coronavirus even if you have the vaccine. This means it is important to:

  • Continue to follow social distancing guidance
  • If you can, wear something that covers your nose and mouth in places where it’s hard to stay away from other people

Existing workplace and personal risk assessments will remain in place.

This video was created with social care workers in mind, but it provides some useful responses to common questions around vaccine safety.

Will a vaccination be compulsory for all health and care staff?

No, the COVID-19 vaccine is not compulsory. The UK operates a system of informed consent for vaccinations. However, it is strongly recommended that all front line health and care workers who can receive a vaccine choose to do so, in order to help to protect yourself and others from the possibility of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19.

Is the vaccine safe for BAME members of staff?

The vaccines in use currently across the UK were tested across a broad range of groups and were shown to have consistent efficacy across age, gender and ethnicity. Find out more in the ‘Getting Vaccinated’ section of our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Will the vaccine affect my fertility?

There is no evidence that the vaccine adversely affects fertility. Most people who contract COVID-19 will develop the same antibodies that you get from the vaccine and there is no evidence of fertility problems after having had COVID-19.

More information and FAQs about pregnancy and fertility and the Covid-19 vaccine is also available on the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists website.

For more information please view the ‘Vaccine Safety’ section on our Frequently Asked Questions page.

Can I have the vaccine if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

The coronavirus vaccine is being offered to two groups of pregnant women:

  • Those with high risk medical conditions who have a greater risk of severe illness from COVID-19
  • Health and social care workers – who are at high risk of catching COVID-19.

In these circumstances, you should discuss vaccination with your doctor or nurse, and you may feel that it is better to go ahead and receive the protection from the vaccine.

The Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists has published information for healthcare professionals and pregnant women eligible for vaccination, including a leaflet to help you decide whether to have the vaccine.

The COVID-19 vaccines available in the UK have been shown to be effective and to have a good safety profile. The early COVID-19 vaccines do not contain organisms that can multiply in the body, so they cannot infect an unborn baby in the womb.

Read more on COVID-19 vaccination: women of childbearing age, currently pregnant or breastfeeding

Where can I be vaccinated?

As a frontline health and care staff member, you can now book your vaccination directly through your GP. This replaces the previous system of using the NBS to book an appointment. If you live in Wales and work for BNSSG, please email bnssg.massvaccination@nhs.net to arrange your vaccine. You will be asked to provide evidence of your role and ID.

Transport to vaccination sites

Book a coronavirus vaccination

Will I get paid for going to a vaccination centre to be vaccinated?

It is not usual practice to be paid to attend a vaccine appointment.  However this is at the discretion of your individual employer.

How do vaccines work? With Professor Jonathan Van-Tam

Coronavirus questions. With Dr Nam Nguyen