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On 2 December 2020, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) granted a ‘temporary authorisation’ for the first Covid-19 vaccine in the UK (the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine) meaning that it could be administered to patients. Roll-out of the vaccine began the following week, with the first NHS patient receiving the first of two doses of the vaccine on 8 December 2020. The MHRA has since granted a temporary authorisation to a second Covid-19 vaccine (the AstraZeneca vaccine) and it is now being rolled out across the UK, while a third vaccine (the Moderna vaccine) received a temporary authorisation from the MHRA on 8 January 2021. Deployment of the Moderna vaccine began in Wales on 7 April 2021, with England following the week after.

The Government has published a UK COVID-19 vaccines delivery plan (11 January 2021). The plan sets out how Covid-19 vaccines will be supplied, prioritised for those most at risk, made accessible across the country and administered by the healthcare professionals. It has also published a COVID-19 vaccination uptake plan (13 February 2021), explaining how it intends to make sure that as many people as possible take up the offer of vaccination.

Below are links to resources and guidance on the Covid-19 vaccine programme published by Public Health England, the NHS and other health bodies. Background information on vaccination, published by the House of Commons and Lords Libraries, and the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) is also included.

These sources and others have been used to address commonly asked questions about the Covid-19 vaccine programme. These will be updated as needed.

Please note that NHS guidance emphasises that if you are not yet eligible for a vaccination you should “wait to be contacted” adding:

The NHS will let you know when it’s your turn to have the vaccine. It’s important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then.

The same guidance also states that if:

  • you are aged 45 or over;
  • you are at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable);
  • you have a condition that puts you at higher risk (clinically vulnerable);
  • you have a learning disability;
  • you get a Carer’s Allowance, get support following an assessment by your local authority or your GP record shows you are a carer.

you can book a vaccination appointment online or, if you do not have access to the Internet, by telephoning 119 (lines are open 7 days a week, 7am to 11pm). If you fall into one of the categories above, you do not need to wait to be contacted by the NHS.

The information in this briefing is not medical advice, or a substitute for medical advice. Individuals seeking advice on their own medical treatment should consult their GP or use the NHS 111 service (in England). For the latest official guidance on coronavirus and the Covid-19 vaccination programme, please consult the NHS and Public Health England guidance linked to in section 1 of this briefing.

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