Covid vaccinations

The COVID-19 vaccination programme is now live and being rolled out in Berkshire.

The NHS is leading the vaccine programme and is prioritising vulnerable groups to receive the injection first.  You don’t need to do anything – when it is your turn to receive the vaccine you will be contacted by the NHS directly. You may receive a letter, phone call, text message or email, so keep an eye out. Please don’t contact your GP to request a vaccination.
When you have had your vaccination, it is still vital that you follow the rules on washing hands, wearing a face covering indoors and keeping a 2m distance. This is to protect you and other people.  It takes a short time for the vaccine to take effect in your body, and even then no vaccine provides 100% immunity so you could still inadvertently pass the virus on to others if you don’t follow public health guidelines.
You may be aware of vaccine concerns circulating and it is important to make sure you get information from a trusted source. If you have any questions about the vaccine and your health, you should talk to your GP or another health professional.  You may also have heard about vaccine scams.  Be aware that the NHS will never ask you for money or bank details in order to get the vaccine. 

Getting your COVID-19 vaccination can protect you and may help to protect your family and those you care for. The COVID-19 vaccine should help reduce the rates of serious illness and save lives, and reduce pressure on the NHS and social care services.

More information on the Covid vaccine.

Read more about local vaccinations and find a comprehensive vaccination FAQ on the Public Health for Berkshire website.

Who is being offered the vaccine?

Patients are being prioritised for the vaccine according to the national criteria:

  • Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
  • All those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
  • All those 75 years of age and over
  • All those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
  • All those 65 years of age and over
  • All individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
  • All those 60 years of age and over
  • All those 55 years of age and over
  • All those 50 years of age and over
  • All those 40 years of age and over

As with many vaccines, for the COVID-19 jab to be most effective people will need to have two doses. These can be up to 12 weeks apart and people will be called for their second dose at the right time.  You should get vaccinated even if you have previously had COVID-19 as the protection the vaccine gives is likely to be greater and longer lasting than that created by the body’s response to being infected.

If you’re aged 40 or over, or if you turn 40 before 1 July 2021, you can now book your COVID-19 vaccine.

Where can I get my vaccination in Reading?

GP surgeries are working together in “primary care networks” to offer vaccination to their patients. This is being done from 5 sites

  • Tilehurst Village Surgery             
  • Watlington House
  • Circuit Lane Surgery     
  • Emmer Green Surgery
  • University Health Centre

In addition the Triangle pharmacy in Tilehurst and the Madjeski Stadium are undertaking vaccinations as part of the national network of high capacity sites.

You will be invited to be vaccinated when it is your turn, based on which cohort you are in. You do not need to contact these sites to arrange booking unless you think you have been missed out of your cohort or you previously declined the offer and now wish to have the vaccine.

How will I feel afterwards?

You may experience mild side effects such as: 

  • having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection
  • feeling tired
  • headaches
  • general aches, or mild flu like symptoms

Due to the urgency of the pandemic, the vaccine has been developed quickly. However it has passed all of the tests needed for any new drug or medicine to ensure it is safe. The vaccine developers followed well-established processes for clinical trials involving thousands of people who were closely monitored for side effects with no serious ill effects noted. The vaccine was then thoroughly assessed by the Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHPRA) which is the UK medicines regulator. 

How does it work?

The vaccine uses the virus’s genetic code to make your body’s cells create a protein that looks like COVID-19. This then allows your body’s immune system to develop the response cells ready to fight off the infection if you catch it at another time. The COVID-19 vaccine does not contain the live COVID-19 virus (so you cannot catch Coronavirus from the vaccine), and it does not contain any animal products or egg.

Having the vaccine is your choice. If you have any questions or concerns about the vaccine and your health, you should talk to your GP or another healthcare professional. 

Can I get help to get to my vaccination appointment?

Readibus is the dial-a-ride bus service for people with restricted mobility in and around Reading, UK. The Readibus service is available for journeys such as for shopping; for respite; for a hospital appointment; for going to a doctor surgery or for any other reason. If you need support to get to your vaccination, you can contact Readibus. You will need to register to use the service.
You can contact Readibus by calling (0118) 931 0000 (English) or (0118) 923 8759 (Urdu). Visit the Readibus website to find out more.

Recent concerns about blood clots

Following the recent media coverage regarding concerns about blood clots, Dr Phil Bryan, MHRA Vaccines Safety Lead offered the following advice:

“Blood clots can occur naturally and are not uncommon. More than 11 million doses of the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca have now been administered across the UK, and the number of blood clots reported after having the vaccine is not greater than the number that would have occurred naturally in the vaccinated population. We are working closely with international counterparts in understanding the global safety experience of COVID-19 vaccines and on the rapid sharing of safety data and reports. People should still go and get their COVID-19 vaccine when asked to do so.”

COVID vaccine information in 13 languages

Some Public Health Berkshire videos are available and can be accessed below in the following languages.

Vaccine information in Igbo
Vaccine information in Urdu
Vaccine information in Turkish
Vaccine information in Spanish
Vaccine information in Romanian
Vaccine information in Punjabi
Vaccine information in Polish
Vaccine information in Nepali
Vaccine information in Gujarati
Vaccine information in Bengali
Vaccine information in Arabic
Vaccine information in Swahili
Vaccine information in Yoruba

Local residents’ real life vaccination stories

Gul Khan’s story

Emma’s story

Jim’s story