Covid vaccine: When, where and how will I get my jab? (2023)

  • Published

By Nicola Bryan & Peter Shuttleworth

BBC News

Have you been wondering when you will get your coronavirus vaccine, where you will have it and what to expect?

Public Health Wales figures show more than 630,000 people in Wales so far have had their first jab so far - but when will it be your turn?

The Welsh Government's vaccine strategy says everyone will be offered a jab by autumn.

Some have said people with mobility issues will find it tough to travel to mass-vaccination centres.

  • Pharmacy 'first in Wales to offer Covid jab'
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Here is a run down of everything you need to know.

When will I get the vaccine?

The NHS is vaccinating people in order of clinical risk, largely based on age groups from old to young.

The Welsh Government said its plans were dependent on Wales receiving vaccine supplies "in fair proportions and in fair time".

How will I be informed about my appointment?

People are asked not to contact their health board, GP, pharmacists or local authority for an appointment and you will be informed by letter about how the process will work in your area.

When, where and how will I get my Covid vaccine?

People will receive a letter, phone call, email or text from their health board with details of the location where they will receive the vaccination. Invitations will be generated automatically and sent when people are due their vaccination.

Where will I have to go to get the jab?

As the rollout ramps up, vaccines in Wales will be given in mass vaccination centres, GP surgeries, mobile units - and on Friday, the first pharmacy in Wales gave the Covid jab as community trials began.

There will be 35 mass vaccination centres across Wales but to ensure people - especially the elderly and those with mobility issues - can be inoculated in their community, about 250 GP practices across the country will be able to administer the jab by the end of January.

Most people will get their vaccine in a primary care setting - so at a GP surgery, pharmacy, optometrist or dentist, the Welsh Government has said.

What if I have mobility issues and have been asked to travel?

Vulnerable or at-risk people in high priority groups have been offered the vaccine at the earliest possible opportunity - which might be at one of Wales' mass-vaccination centres.

Due to Wales' rural geography, that could mean elderly or people with mobility issues being asked to travel many miles for a jab.

Image source, Family photo

Fay Hopkins, 88, who lives in Abercrave, Powys, has an appointment for a vaccine in Bronllys Hospital, one of the three vaccination centres in Powys - a 62-mile round trip from her home.

Her daughter Cathy Anthony said her "vulnerable" mother had "no choice" but to make the trip.

Powys health board said the vaccination centres offered the "quickest opportunity to receive their first dose of the vaccine".

On Wednesday, the health board announced that all 16 GP practices across Powys would start to call people aged 75-80 to book Covid vaccination appointments.

Ms Anthony said: "I really don't understand why if the community nurses can go into care homes, why can't they go into her home?"

The retired nurse said she has not seen her mother, who lives alone, for months as they have both been shielding since March.

"My mother is not very good at travelling because she gets motion sickness so it is not good for her anyway. She has no choice - she is going to have to otherwise she will miss out.

"My mother is lucky that my brother is well and can take her. I have MS and I am undergoing chemotherapy and my other brother has long Covid. What about people who have no-one?"

Powys health board said: "We wanted to get invitations out to these priority groups as quickly as possible (all letters to over 80s will have been posted) to give them the earliest opportunity to access the vaccine.

"We do very much recognise the challenges of travel in such a rural county - as well as the understandable desire to receive the vaccine as quickly as possible.

"This has meant a complex balance between providing as much vaccine as quickly as possible and local access."

If you are offered a vaccine at a mass vaccination and can't get there, call the number on your invite to cancel and wait for a second invite for a jab closer to home.

Those who are housebound and in care homes should be able to receive the vaccine from mobile vaccination units.

Will I have to queue to get my jab?

Betsi Cadwaladr's health board has to apologise after queues of up to three hours were reported at the vaccination centre at Ysbyty Enfys in Llandudno.

But the Welsh Government said by "using an appointment system, we hope to minimise queuing at vaccination centres."

Which vaccine will I get?

There are currently two approved vaccines being administered in Wales - the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

A third coronavirus vaccine has been approved for use in the UK - made by US company Moderna - but supplies are not expected to arrive until spring.

The Pfizer vaccine has to be kept at -70C, but the Oxford jab can be stored at standard fridge temperatures, and can be administered in doctors' surgeries, pharmacies and care homes.

Experts have concluded that both vaccines are very effective, and have not stipulated a preference for either one in any specific population.

Image source, AFP

Public Health Wales said everyone will be offered a vaccine that has been approved by the MHRA as safe and effective and recommended by the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) for people of their age or risk group.

What if I can't make my appointment?

Public Health Wales said: "Please try to attend the vaccination centre you are offered. If you cannot attend the centre you are offered you may have to wait to get the vaccine in a more convenient location."

What happens during my jab appointment?

You will need to bring a face covering, unless you cannot wear one for a health or disability reason, and your booking reference number if your appointment is at a vaccination centre.

  • If you need a carer you can bring them with you on the day.
  • Your appointment should last for about 30 to 45 minutes.
  • You will be asked some questions about your medical history.
  • The vaccine will then be given as an injection into your upper arm.

You will be asked to wait for 15 minutes after having the jab. This is in the unlikely event you have a serious reaction to the vaccine. You will also be given a leaflet about what to expect after your vaccination.

Can I expect any side effects?

Public Health Wales has said the vaccines are very safe but as with all medicines, side effects can occur.

It said most side effects of are mild and short-term, and not everyone gets them.

They can include pain at the injection site, feeling tired, a headache, or mild muscle aches.

A less common side effect is swelling of glands, which can occur a few days after the injection, and is a sign the immune system is responding to the vaccination.

Anaphylaxis can happen after vaccines or medicines but the vast majority of people will not be at risk.

Health professionals are trained to watch out for the early signs and initiate prompt treatment - all immunisation centres include anaphylaxis kits.

Public Health Wales says the benefits of preventing the serious complications of Covid for most people outweigh the risks.

You will be asked if you have ever had any serious allergic reactions before you are offered vaccination.

Do I have to have a vaccine?

The vaccine is not mandatory and you can choose to take up the offer of a vaccine or not.

How are the various health boards doing?

As of Monday, the Cardiff and Vale health board said it had vaccinated more than 24,000 people, including nearly 19,000 health, social care and care home staff, nearly 600 care home residents and nearly 3,000 other people aged over 80.

Cwm Taf Morgannwg health board in south Wales said it had vaccinated nearly 17,000 people as of Friday, and aimed to give all 100,000 people in the top priority groups at least a first dose by mid-February.

The Hywel Dda health board serving west Wales said on Monday it had given more than 18,000 vaccinations, including jabs to 42% of healthcare workers, 38% of care home staff, 25% of care home residents and just under 9% of people over 80.

Powys Teaching health board said letters should arrive by Tuesday to everyone aged over 80 inviting them to get a vaccination, with more than 7,000 people in the priority groups having received their first dose.

The Swansea Bay board said it was "on target" to vaccinate all care home residents with a first dose by the end of January and that all over-80s would be offered a vaccine "over the coming weeks"

In north Wales, the Betsi Cadwaladr board said it aimed to vaccinate 90% of the priority groups by the end of January.

In south east Wales, the Aneurin Bevan board's most recent update from 11 January said that in its 94 care homes for elderly people all residents had been vaccinated in 34 homes and all staff in 63.

Related Topics

  • Wales
  • Public health
  • Coronavirus vaccines
  • Vaccination
  • Welsh government
  • NHS Wales
  • Pfizer
  • Coronavirus pandemic

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