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Manchester's Director of Public Health answers the community's COVID-19 vaccine questions

Having a vaccine is a really important step in how we fight COVID 19 and we understand that people may have fears, so David Regan, Manchester's Director of Public Health has answered the following questions which have been fed back to us through community groups:

Who will get the vaccine and when will they get it?

Everyone over the age of 16 is now eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. 16 and 17 year olds will be invited by their GP for vaccination. They can also attend any of our vaccination sites or vaccination pop-ups across Manchester.

In Manchester there are three ways you might be contacted to get your vaccination:

  • By your GP practice, which will book you into your local vaccination centre.
  • By your local hospital as an inpatient or outpatient.
  • By letter from the national booking service, if you are eligible and haven't already been vaccinated. This will invite you to go online or call 119 to book a vaccination appointment.

Having the vaccine is the best way to protect the most vulnerable people from coronavirus and has the potential to save tens of thousands of lives.

The vaccine had been developed very quickly – how can we know It is safe?

I’m sure a lot of people will want to ask this and that’s very understandable.

And, yes the vaccine has been completed at speed –but that’s because we are In a pandemic and it is a priority with our best scientific minds working on it, and dedicated to it.

The vaccine has undergone months of rigorous testing and will only be used once the strict safety approvals have been met. This includes approval from the MHRA, the official UK regulator, like all other medicines and devices.

I’m going to have it and I hope my family will too.

Does it change your DNA?

No, it definitely doesn’t. The content of the Covid vaccines does not go anywhere near our own genetic material and has no ability to change it or us.

There’s lots of rumours about it containing human or animal products?

No, it doesn’t contain either human or animal products (so no porcine content either).

I’ve heard you can catch flu from the flu jab – can you get Covid from this vaccination?

Taking flu first: the flu vaccination used in our country does not contain live virus, so it does not – and cannot – give anyone flu.

If people do feel a bit under the weather after a flu jab it is because their own immune system is kicking in after the vaccination. Sometimes, if people catch a cold at the same they think it is due to the vaccination, but it isn’t -it’s just a coincidence.

The Covid vaccination does not contain the actual virus, so it’s physically impossible to catch the disease from it.

What if I’ve had Covid already – will the vaccination work for me?

Even if you have had Covid, and were eligible for the vaccination, it would be a good idea to have it. This is because we still do not know how long immunity lasts. Having the jab would help to ensure your immunity is as strong as it can be.

Will I be forced to have the vaccination?

No, you won’t, it is by choice. If you decide against it you would need to be aware that you are at greater risk of the virus and of passing it on.

I’ve heard that the vaccine trials did not include people from ethnic minority backgrounds – is that true?

No, trials did include people from ethnic minority backgrounds. The vaccine producers did make a call for more volunteers recently so that the study matched vulnerable groups – just like they did with the over 65s too.

Should I leave a gap between getting the flu and Covid vaccines?

We are also encouraging people to have their flu vaccination as soon as possible. The flu vaccine is important because if you're at higher risk from coronavirus, you're also more at risk of problems from flu. Research shows people can catch both diseases at the same time, with serious and potentially serious consequences.

People also need to have at least 7 days between a flu and a Covid vaccine.

Community Briefing note and Q&As on COVID vaccinations in Manchester 

Information about how the community vaccination for COVID-19 is being organised in Manchester and the city’s Director of Public Health Dave Regan answers community questions about the vaccine. 

This Information available to download in PDF format in the following languages:  

Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Polish, Romanian, Somali, Spanish, Tigrinya and Yiddish.

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