The Covid-19 vaccination programme in the UK is in the midst of its rollout, with bookings now open to over 18-year olds.
The UK is one of the world’s leading nations when it comes to it’s vaccine rollout, with over 60% of the population having received one vaccine dose as of June 2021. This makes them second in the world after Canada. It was also one of the first countries to pioneer vaccinations over 200 years ago!
As an international student studying in the UK, you are eligible to receive your first and second vaccinations for free though the National Health Service (NHS).
International students in the UK pay a surcharge for the NHS while they study abroad, which covers their entitlement for the Covid-19 vaccine.
Booking your Covid-19 vaccination in the UK is quick and simple. If you are already registered with a GP or Doctor’s Surgery in the UK then you will have been allocated an NHS number.
This number is used to access your medical files and can be found on any letter the NHS has sent you, prescriptions, or by getting in touch with your GP practice.
Once you have found your NHS number, you can use the NHS website to book your first and second vaccination appointments at a vaccination centre near you.
Your GP practice may also get in touch with you about booking your vaccination. However you shouldn’t wait to hear from them to book your appointment.
In the UK, there are four Covid-19 vaccine types that have been approved for use. These are:
Janssen vaccine (available late 2021)
In the UK, under 40s are only offered the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine or the Moderna vaccine. You should have the same vaccine for both doses. You cannot usually choose which vaccine you will be given.
On the day of your vaccination, you should arrive at the vaccination centre you are booked into half an hour before your appointment slot. You should wear a short sleeved t-shirt for ease and bring with you your booking reservation number.
You will be invited into the vaccination centre by a member of staff who will show you where to sanitise your hands. You must wear a face mask when you go to get your vaccination.
A member of staff will ask you for your name and date of birth and register you as having arrived. They will hand you an information sheet about the vaccination you will receive which you should read while you are waiting.
When your number is called, you will be invited into a booth to receive your vaccination.
After your vaccination, you will be directed into a waiting area where you must wait for 15 minutes so that you can be monitored for any side effects by the medical staff on hand.
Once your 15 minutes are up, you are free to leave.
Some people have mild side effects after receiving their vaccination. The Covid-19 vaccines in the UK have been approved for use after meeting strict standards of safety, quality, and effectiveness.
Mild side effects can last several days and include:
A sore arm from the injection
Feeling or being sick
More information about side effects can be found on the NHS website.
If you booked your vaccination through the NHS website online then you will have booked your first and second appointments together.
If you booked your first vaccination through your GP practice, then they will get in touch with you again closer to the time about booking your second appointment.
In the UK, your second appointment should be between 8 and 12 weeks after your first appointment.
It is important that you receive both your first and second vaccinations to ensure that you have developed maximum immunity to Covid-19.
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