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Covid: What do over-18s need to know about the vaccine?

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About 35% of those aged 18-30 – three million people – are completely unvaccinated, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.

All over-18s can now get their jab, and almost 90% of the adult population has had a first dose.

In England, either book online or by calling 119. There are also lots of walk-in clinics where you do not need to make an appointment. Check your local health providers and social media groups for details.

In Scotland, over-18s can now register for a vaccine on the NHS inform website or by calling 0800 030 8013.

Over-18s can also get jabbed without an appointment at various mass vaccination centres. Check local websites and social media for details.

In Wales, over-18s can get the vaccine.

In Northern Ireland, over-18s can book online or call 0300 200 7813

The “sweet spot” is eight weeks between jabs. Any earlier means you won’t be protected for as long, says government scientific advisor Professor Anthony Harnden.

Some centres have given out second doses after four weeks, but the longer the gap, the better for long-term protection.

You can’t choose what vaccine you get. It’s based on your age and whatever vaccines are available at the time.

If you’re under 40 or pregnant you will be offered Pfizer or Moderna.

Most are mild, completely normal and disappear after a few days.

They happen because the body’s defences are reacting to the vaccine, and include:

a sore armtirednessfeverheadachefeeling sick

The under 55s are more likely to get side-effects from Pfizer and Moderna.

With AstraZeneca (AZ), side-effects are more common after the first dose than the second.

Under-40s are being offered alternatives to AstraZeneca because of a possible link between the vaccine and extremely rare blood clots in a tiny number of people.

It’s not clear if the vaccine is the cause, but the clots appear to happen slightly more often in younger adults.

For everyone else, the benefits of AZ and the other vaccines far outweigh risks, the UK regulator says.

Remember, 1,900 people in every million have died from Covid in the UK, and blood clots are a common virus symptom.

No. But everyone is being urged to get two doses to protect themselves, their family, friends and wider society.

Younger people are less likely to die from Covid-19. But a study has found that adults aged under 50 who do end up in hospital are almost as likely to suffer from complications with kidneys, lungs and other organs as those over aged 50.

The vaccines:

have saved more than 30,000 UK lives and 46,000 admissions to hospital, according to Public Health Englandhelp reduce person-to-person virus spread, symptoms and serious illnesshelp protect against new variants

Without a jab, you may not be able to do certain jobs, or travel abroad.

In addition, clubbers and people attending some other venues in England will have to be fully vaccinated by the end of September.

A recent study suggests vaccination can help improve long Covid symptoms.

The vaccine could be pressing the body’s reset button and helping it recover, researchers say.

There is no evidence that vaccines cause fertility problems in men or women. Experts say there’s no realistic way they could. Claims to the contrary on social media are false.

The jab involves introducing into the body a harmless fragment of the virus’s genetic material, or the instructions to make it. It can’t give you Covid or affect your DNA in any way.

Doctors and midwives are urging pregnant women to get a vaccine to protect themselves and their babies.

Infections are rising and this means pregnant women will be more exposed to coronavirus, which can cause serious illness in some women in later pregnancy.

A recent study also found a slightly higher rate of stillbirth in pregnant women who tested positive for the virus around the time of birth (although the numbers were still very low).

You are encouraged to discuss any questions you have with your GP or midwife.

If you’re planning a pregnancy or are breastfeeding you can still get vaccinated, government guidance says.

There are plausible reasons the vaccine might cause changes to periods. The jab prompts an increase in activity in the immune system, which also plays a role in the menstrual cycle.

But there is nothing to suggest these changes can affect your fertility or cause any long-term health issues.

There is no published data on the effects of alcohol on how well the body builds immunity after the vaccine.

There’s no evidence to suggest you should avoid alcohol altogether, but drinking in large quantities can suppress your immune system.

A very small number of people have experienced a severe allergic reaction, anaphylaxis, after the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

This can happen with some vaccines. You should discuss any allergies with your healthcare professional.

When you are jabbed, say you don’t like needles. Then look away.

Many people say the injection is painless and hardly notice anything.

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