Community Health Champions | Tel: 01782 683030 | [email protected]

Winter Vaccination FAQs

The Stoke-on-Trent City Council Public Health team have answered some of the most common questions about winter vaccinations:

How do I get my flu jab/COVID-19 booster?

Go to http://nhs.uk/wintervaccinations  for eligibility information and to book your vaccines. Eligible people may also be contacted by their GP to arrange a vaccination. 

Can I have the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time?

It’s safe to have both vaccines at the same time, but you need to book them separately.

If you’re eligible for either vaccine, you do not need to wait to be contacted to get vaccinated. Go to http://nhs.uk/wintervaccinations 

Why were there so few cases of flu last year?

Cases of flu have remained low since the start of the pandemic, mitigation measures used to contain COVID-19, such as physical distancing and mask wearing are likely to be the major reason for this. With all of the measures lifted this year we are seeing an increase in the number of people with respiratory infections, such as flu.

Flu vaccination is important because, while flu is unpleasant for most people, it can be dangerous and even life threating for some people, particularly those with certain health conditions. For more information on the flu vaccine you can visit the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/flu-influenza-vaccine/

Can you get flu from the flu vaccine?

The flu vaccine is very safe. The flu vaccine does not contain live virus and cannot cause flu.

The most common side effects of the flu vaccine are:

  • a slightly raised temperature
  • muscle aches
  • sore arm near the site of the injection

These are mild side effects and only last for a day or so. It’s very rare for anyone to have a serious allergic reaction to flu vaccine.

For more information on the flu vaccine you can visit the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/flu-influenza-vaccine/

 If you would like to read more about general vaccine safety you can visit the Oxford vaccine knowledge project website: General vaccine safety and science | Vaccine Knowledge (ox.ac.uk)

Why do I need to get the flu vaccine every year?

Vaccination provides the best protection against flu. It is important to have a flu vaccine every year because the flu virus changes over time, and each year there are different strains around. 

Flu vaccines help protect against the main types of flu viruses. There is still a chance you might get flu after vaccination, but it’s likely to be milder and not last as long.  

For more information on the flu vaccine you can visit the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/flu-influenza-vaccine/

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?

Millions of people have had a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine. Reports of serious side effects are very rare. 

Like all medicines, the COVID-19 vaccines can cause side effects, but not everyone gets them.

Most side effects are mild and should not last longer than a week, such as:

  • a sore arm from the injection
  • feeling tired
  • a headache
  • feeling achy
  • feeling or being sick

You cannot catch COVID-19 from the vaccine, but you may have caught it just before or after your vaccination. 

Find out more on the NHS website.

Which COVID-19 vaccine will I recieve?

You will be given a booster dose of a vaccine made by Pfizer or Moderna. You may be offered an updated combination version of these booster vaccines – the combination vaccines include a half-dose of the previous vaccine combined with a half-dose of a vaccine against the Omicron variant. For a very small number of people another vaccine product may be advised by your doctor.

 Find out more on the Gov.uk website here. 

Can you still get COVID-19 after the vaccination?

The COVID-19 booster will reduce the chance of you becoming severely unwell from COVID-19 this winter. It may take a few days for your body to build up some extra protection from the booster.

Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective – some people may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, but any infection should be less severe.

Find out more on the Gov.uk website here.

If you have a COVID-19 positive result, when can you have your autumn booster?

If you are unwell, wait until you have recovered to have your vaccine. If you have had confirmed COVID-19 you should ideally wait 4 weeks before having your autumn booster. You should not attend a vaccine appointment if you are self-isolating or waiting for a COVID-19 test.