Covid-19 vaccinations in Somerset
Last updated: 14 June 2021
Vaccines are the best way to protect people from COVID-19 and have already saved thousands of lives.
Last week, the Government announced that if you’re aged 25 or over, or if you turn 25 before 1 July 2021, you can now book your COVID-19 vaccine. You can choose from a range of vaccination sites across Somerset through the national booking system
Don’t forget – if you are aged 40 or over and you haven’t yet had your first dose, or booked an appointment please go online or call 119 to confirm your booking dates – there’s no need to worry there are plenty of slots and you haven’t missed out!
There is no need to contact your GP practice – all vaccination locations are bookable through the national booking service.
Vaccination sites across the county are continuing to offer both first doses and second doses. Following Government guidance, appointments for second doses of the COVID-19 vaccination are being brought forward from 12 weeks to 8 weeks for those people within the first nine priority groups who have not yet had their second dose.
This includes those aged 50 and over and those aged between 16 and 64 with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality from COVID-19. This follows guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation to ensure people across the UK have the strongest possible protection from the virus at an earlier opportunity.
Please do not contact the NHS – we will contact you.
- The NHS will contact those in these groups who have booked their second dose appointment on the National Booking Service on or after 31 May (if that appointment is more than 8 weeks after their first dose) to encourage them to book an earlier appointment.
- If your second dose is booked via your GP surgery to take place at a GP hub, they will contact you to move your booking forward if there is more than 8 weeks between your first and second doses.
Please continue to attend your vaccination appointments as planned.
Those aged under 50 with no underlying health conditions will continue to get their first dose, with their second dose at 12 weeks, as before.
Who are we vaccinating?
The National Booking Service is now open for those aged 25 and over. Bookings for locations across Somerset are now available through the National Booking Service. If you are within this age group and have not had your first dose, you can book online at nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by phoning 119.
If you already have an appointment over the coming weeks, whether for your first or second dose, it’s really important that you attend it as planned. If we need to make any changes to appointments, we will contact you directly.
Second dose vaccination appointments can be booked and amended through the national booking system online or by calling 119. If you have had your first dose, it is recommended through a GP-led community location ( GP practices) and are in your 11th – 12th week and have not yet heard about your 2nd dose appointment you should initially contact your GP surgery. We are working to match vaccine deliveries against people needing their second dose and will aim to ensure everyone receives their second dose within the timeframe.
Please be aware that over the next few weeks operating days and times at our vaccination sites will flex up and down in line with vaccine supply and bookings, following the JCVI guidance on priority cohorts and when to administer second doses. A small number of appointments may also be rescheduled to alternative days.
Where in Somerset are vaccinations being delivered?
Vaccinations are currently being delivered through:
- A range of GP-led community sites
- large vaccination centres located at Taunton Racecourse and the Bath and West Showground
- Pharmacy- led sites located in Taunton, Bruton, Burnham on Sea, Bridgwater, Alcombe, Glastonbury, Wedmore and Morrisons in Yeovil
Our GP-led sites are being organised by primary care networks (PCNs), which are groups of local GP practices in an area working together to deliver vaccinations in community locations. All our centres are staffed by vaccinators and clinical supervisors, as well as administrators, staff and stewards to ensure that the centre runs smoothly for those attending.
You can read the latest news and updates on the vaccination programme on our news pages here: Somerset CCG news pages
Other Frequently Asked Questions
How do you know the Covid-19 vaccine is safe?
The vaccines approved for use in the UK have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Any coronavirus vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through. The MHRA follows international standards of safety.
- Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine
- Oxford University/ AstraZeneca Vaccine
- Moderna Vaccine news release
- MHRA guidance on coronavirus vaccine safety
- Covid vaccine information – NHS
- Green Book – provisional guidance – Provisional guidance has just been added to the Green Book, which has the latest information on vaccines and vaccination procedures in the UK.
- Vaccine Knowledge Project website – This website provides independent information about how vaccines are tested licensed and monitored and meets the World Health Organisation’s criteria for providing high quality information.
On 7 April 2021, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued new advice, concluding a possible link between the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca and extremely rare, unlikely to occur blood clots. It concluded that the benefits of vaccination continue to outweigh any risks but advised careful consideration be given to people who are at higher risk of specific types of blood clots because of their medical condition. Please see the information above for further details.
What is the recent change in guidance with respect to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine?
On 7 April 2021, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued new advice, concluding a possible link between the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca and extremely rare, unlikely to occur blood clots. It concluded that the benefits of vaccination continue to outweigh any risks but advised careful consideration be given to people who are at higher risk of specific types of blood clots because of their medical condition.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has weighed the relative balance of benefits and risks of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and advise that:
- the benefits of prompt vaccination with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine far outweigh the risk of adverse events for individuals 30 years of age and over and those who have underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease.
- It is preferable for adults aged under 30 years without underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease, to be offered an alternative COVID-19 vaccine, if available. People may make an informed choice to receive the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to receive earlier protection.
What should I do next?
Public Health England has provided advice.
If you are over 50 years of age or have underlying medical conditions
The MHRA and the JCVI advises that you should still receive any of the available COVID-19 vaccines. The benefits of vaccination in protecting you against the serious consequences of COVID-19 outweigh any risk of this rare condition.
You should also complete your course with the same vaccine you had for the first dose. If your first dose was with AZ vaccine without suffering any serious side effects, you should have the second dose on time as you may still be at high risk of the complications of COVID-19. Having the second dose will give you higher and longer lasting protection.
If you are a healthy person between 30 and 50 years of age
The MHRA and the JCVI advises that all adults in this age group (including health and social care workers) should still receive any of the available COVID-19 vaccines. The benefits of vaccination in protecting you against the serious consequences of COVID-19 outweigh any risk of this rare condition. You should also complete your course with the same vaccine you had for the first dose.
If you are a healthy younger person aged 18 to 29
The MHRA and the JCVI continue to monitor the benefits and safety of the AZ vaccine in younger people. You should carefully consider the risk to both you and your family and friends of COVID-19 before making a decision. Currently JCVI has advised that it is preferable for people under 30 to have a vaccine other than AZ. If you choose to have another COVID-19 vaccine you may have to wait to be protected. You may wish to go ahead with the AZ vaccination after you have considered all the risks and benefits for you.
What about the second dose?
If you have already had a first dose of AZ vaccine without suffering any serious side effects you should complete the course. This includes people aged 18 to 29 years who are health and social care workers, unpaid carers and family members of those who are immunosuppressed. It is expected that the first dose of the vaccine will have given you some protection, particularly against severe disease.
Worried about pregnancy and the vaccine?
We understand women may be concerned about the effect on their fertility or having the vaccine while pregnant or breastfeeding. Pregnant women can now book on the National Booking Service – when you book you will be directed to a centre(s) which hold the type of vaccine you require.
The JCVI updated their advice on 16 April 2021 and are now advising that all pregnant women should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as the rest of the population, based on their age and clinical risk group. Previously their advice was that pregnant women at high risk of exposure to the virus or with high risk medical conditions should consider having a COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy (priority groups 1, 2, 4 and 6).
This latest advice means that COVID-19 vaccines should be offered to pregnant women at the same time as the rest of the population, based on their age and clinical risk group. Women can discuss the benefits and risks of having the vaccine with their healthcare professional and reach a joint decision based on individual circumstances.
We have included a few useful links to the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists which provides more FAQs (updated on Friday 7 May) around the vaccine and vaccine safety for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding as well as information on COVID, pregnancy and Women’s healthYou can also find Public Health England advice and guidance here
Does the vaccine contain animal or egg products?
The approved vaccines do not contain any animal or egg products. We have included links to the most relevant information on this subject.
Can I choose which vaccination I have?
You cannot choose which Covid-19 vaccine you receive. The vaccines have been tested extensively in thousands of people and are highly effective in providing protection against coronavirus. You can read more about the vaccines and their safety in our other FAQs.
Who will receive the vaccine – what is meant by priority groups?
The NHS is currently in the process of offering the vaccine to people aged 34+ as well as continuing to offer vaccines to those in priorities groups 1-9 as set out by the JVCI
The JCVI advises that the first priorities for the COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of mortality and the maintenance of the health and social care systems. As the risk of mortality from COVID-19 increases with age, prioritisation is primarily based on age.
So how do I book my vaccination?
There are a number of ways in which you might be offered to attend your vaccination – we are encouraging those who have received a letter inviting them to book through the National Booking Service to use this route and book their appointment.
The letter /text you receive will provide you with everything you need to book these appointments. The link to booking online is here
I can’t seem to book a local vaccination centre – what can I do?
Vaccinations centres are incredibly busy and slots are being booked as soon as they become available. If you have tried to book a slot at a local centre and are finding that you are only given slots for locations much further away, please keep refreshing. Slots and availability will flex based on current vaccine supply and to take into account second dose vaccinations. This means slots and availability will vary on a daily basis to account for these factors. Please be aware it may not always be possible to get a slot at a vaccination centre closest to you, but there are plenty of opportunities through the National Booking Centre for you to get vaccinated.
Why is my local GP practice not providing the vaccination?
Our GP practices are working together as Primary Care Networks. Currently all vaccines are being delivered from local vaccination centres, within each primary care network.
At the moment no GP practices have been able to vaccinate within their own practice unless they have been designated as the ‘local vaccination centre’ for their PCN.
The programme is evolving all the time and locations may change, but we urge those who have been invited attend an appointment to go where possible.
I am a health and care worker – who do I need to speak to?
We recognise the importance of providing protection to all health and social care workers across the county who are at increased, personal risk of exposure to infection.
Health and care workers can now book their vaccination appointments through the National Booking Service. This will allow you to attend one of the large vaccination or pharmacy-led centres listed.
You should be told what you need to take with you when you attend your vaccination, please remember to take your identity card or proof of your employer with you when you attend.
I’m under 65 and have been offered a Covid-19 vaccination by my local GP-led vaccination hub – is this right?
Our GP-led primary care network hubs are now inviting those in priority group six to come forward for vaccination at a GP-led hub. People in this group will be aged between 16 and 64 with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality.
Our GP teams are working through their lists of patients to identify those in this group and invite them to book an appointment as quickly as they can.
If you receive an invitation for vaccination from your local GP-led hub, we encourage you to take up the offer.
I am an unpaid carer. When will I be offered a Covid-19 vaccination?
We are currently inviting people in priority group six to come forward for vaccination at a GP-led hub. Priority group six includes those carers who are:
We are currently inviting people in priority group six to come forward for vaccination at a GP-led hub. Priority group six includes those carers who are:
- Eligible for a carer’s allowance and/or
- The sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of Covid-19 mortality and, therefore, clinically vulnerable.
Therefore, if you receive carer’s allowance and/or are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who fits the JCVI guidelines below, you should receive an invitation for a Covid-19 vaccination. Our GP teams are working through their lists of patients to identify those in this group and invite them to book an appointment as quickly as they can.
JCVI guidelines for those who are identified as clinically vulnerable for the purposes of priority group 6:
- children with severe neurodisabilities
- those who are designated as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable
- those who need care because of advanced age
adults who have underlying health conditions (such as diabetes, serious mental illness or chronic heart disease). Table 3 in the Green Book gives more information on the identified underlying health conditions and can be viewed here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/961287/Greenbook_chapter_14a_v7_12Feb2021.pdf
When will I get my second dose?
Information on Second dose vaccination appointments can be found on the main section of this site – guidance has recently changed, so make sure you have fully read the information and are clear on what this means for you.
I am not registered with a local GP – how will I get my vaccine?
Everyone is encouraged to register with a GP; this is the best way to access NHS care. If you are temporarily staying in Somerset, for example with family members you can register as a temporary patient at a local GP surgery.
If you think that during the time you are registered you are likely to be invited for your vaccination that you discuss with the surgery whether it would be more appropriate to register as a permanent resident as you will need to receive your second dose of vaccine from the same site as you receive your first dose.
This gap between the first and second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine is currently twelve weeks.
You can re-register with your normal GP when you finally return home. Any treatment or details of any visits/vaccinations will be recorded and added to your medical records, which will be shared with your regular practice on your return.
For more information registering as a temporary resident/permanent resident and support on finding a local GP please visit the NHS website for further information
Everyone is entitled to NHS care; this includes members of traveller communities. If you have any difficulties with registering with a GP surgery, please contact the Somerset CCG Patient Advice and Liaison team.
Other useful links include:
I would like to volunteer to help the vaccination programme – how do I offer my support?
It has been truly inspiring to see just how many people are wanting to provide their support for the COVID -19 vaccination programme. There are a number of ways in which you can get involved.
- You can contact visit the Covid-19 vaccination programme pages on Somerset Foundation Trust’s website to find out what they are looking for and then email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Visit the Spark Somerset website for information on ways to get involved including becoming a COVID Community Champion to volunteering to become a steward and help out at vaccination sites across the county.
Many people are also getting in contact to provide buildings and venues as suitable locations for vaccination clinics. We really appreciate all of your support and offers of help. The vaccine needs to be carefully managed in controlled conditions – for a number of reasons. For the majority of cases this will mean that certain locations may not be suitable. We are still happy for you to get in touch with these offers – you can email email@example.com
Covid-19 vaccine fraud – be aware!
We are aware that there are a number of criminals harnessing the vaccination programme and using it as a way to target member of the public and tricking them into handing over cash or financial details.
There are a number of ways in which this is being done including:
- Convincing looking text messages
- Phoning people directly pretending to be from the NHS or from a local pharmacy
The NHS will never ask for the following:
Please review this helpful information and share with friends and family who may not be alert to these scams.
- Payment – the vaccine is free
- Ask for your bank details
- Arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccines
- Ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of your personal documents, such as your passport.