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 minority ethnic 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.

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

The COVID-19 vaccine is offered to pregnant women at the same time as the rest of the population, based on their age and JCVI priority group. If they have concerns, women should discuss the benefits and risks of having the vaccine with their midwife or healthcare professional and reach a joint decision based on their individual circumstances.

  • If you have already had a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, you should continue with your second dose.
  • If you are beginning your vaccination course, we will offer you an alternative vaccine to AstraZeneca. This is not due to safety concerns around AstraZeneca during pregnancy, there is just more data available for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in pregnancy.

If you are pregnant, you should book your first dose vaccine with your GP or at Ashton Gate Vaccination Centre, so you can be offered an alternative to AstraZeneca.

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 are effective and have an extremely good safety profile. They do not contain organisms that can multiply in the body, so they cannot infect an unborn baby in the womb.

Women trying to become pregnant do not need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination and there is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines will affect fertility or breastfeeding.

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

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.

Where can I be vaccinated?

If you live in England, please book by using the NHS online booking system, or by calling 119 free of charge between 7am and 11pm. You will need to bring proof of employment and identification to your appointment. If you live in Wales and work for BNSSG, please email bnssg.massvaccination@nhs.net to arrange your vaccine.

Transport to vaccination sites

Book a coronavirus vaccination

If someone under 40 has had a first dose of AZ, should they have AZ for their second?

  • Anyone who has already had a first dose of the AZ vaccine without suffering this specific form of extremely rare blood clot should have their second dose.
  • People under 40 will automatically be offered appointments at a clinic where there is an alternative to AstraZeneca – they don’t have to worry about being given the right vaccine for them. This includes people aged 18 to 39 years.

I’ve had my first dose of the vaccine but no longer work for the NHS, what should I do?

Any staff members who have had their first Covid-19 vaccine, and left their role before having their second dose, should book their second dose at the same location as their first. If this is not possible, please contact your GP to arrange your second vaccination.

New members of frontline health and social care staff, please book your vaccine by using the NHS online booking system, or by calling 119 free of charge 7am – 11pm.

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.

Second Dose Appointments

In response to the more transmissible Covid variant that originated in India, we are bringing forward second dose appointments from 12 weeks for people in the most vulnerable groups – over 50s and people aged 16 to 64 with underlying health conditions. This may include you or your clients. You don’t need to do anything unless we contact you.

It’s really important that you attend your appointment for your second dose of the COVID-19 vaccination and that you encourage your clients and patients to do the same. The second dose gives stronger protection from a severe outcome from COVID-19, particularly against new variants of the vaccine such as B.1.617, which originated in India.

Please make every effort to attend unless you are ill with a fever or have symptoms of COVID-19.

How do vaccines work? With Professor Jonathan Van-Tam

Coronavirus - getting vaccinated