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COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 vaccine – information for people living in Essex and Suffolk

You must continue to wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines when visiting our vaccination centres.

Having the vaccine

You can get a booster dose if you had your second dose (or third primary dose) of vaccine at least three months ago and:

  • you are aged 18 or over
  • you are aged 16 or over with a health condition that puts you at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19
  • you are a frontline health or social care worker
  • you live or work in a care home
  • you are aged 16 or over and are a main carer for someone at high risk from COVID-19
  • you are aged 16 or over and live with someone who has a weakened immune system (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)

Please book your booster via the NHS website, or visit one of our walk-in clinics.

If you are eligible for the booster, you can pre-book your appointment from two months after you received your second vaccine dose.

The Join Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommends that 5-11 year olds be offered the vaccine, which has been approved by the UK’s medicines regulator, to boost immunity and increase their protection against any future waves of COVID-19. The NHS wants to support families to make an informed choice, and to make things convenient and child-friendly for those who do decide to get it.

The COVID-19 vaccine is already making a big difference to help protect us all. The vaccine does not remove the virus, but research and experience in countries around the world shows it can prevent the worst effects of COVID-19 and reduce the risk of infection to your child and those around them.

You can get your child vaccinated at a site and time convenient for you– at vaccination centres, pharmacies and GPs offering jabs for this age group. You can view these sites and make an appointment through the National Booking Service or by calling 119.

Some walk-in sites are also available to vaccinate this age group and older siblings, or other family members, can be vaccinated together at the same time.

Children aged 5-11 with no other underlying health conditions will be offered two paediatric (child) doses of the vaccine, with at least 12 weeks between doses. A paediatric dose is smaller than doses given to those aged 12 and over.

If a child has had COVID-19 they will still get extra protection from the vaccine, but they will need to wait 12 weeks before getting vaccinated.

Those 5-11 year-olds who are more at risk from the virus can already get two paediatric (child) doses, eight weeks apart, and their GP or hospital specialist should be in touch to arrange this.

In the meantime more information can be found in this leaflet.

Most children will be offered the vaccine at school during school hours.

Children can get a first dose of the vaccine from the day they turn 12.

Most children can get a second dose from 12 weeks after they had their first dose. Children aged 12 to 15 who have a condition that means they are at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 can have their second dose from eight weeks after their first dose.

Second doses will be offered in schools from 10 January 2022. Children who have not yet had a vaccine can get their first dose during these vaccination sessions.

To make it easier for people in this age group to get protection, young people aged 12 to 15 can also book a vaccine outside of school if they prefer.

Dedicated vaccination clinics for 12 to 15 year olds are taking place at many of our vaccination centres in Essex and Suffolk. To make an appointment, visit or call 119.

Please note that walk-in clinics advertised on our ‘walk-in clinics: Pfizer’ page are suitable for people aged 16 and over only unless stated otherwise.

If your child has already been invited through school, you do not need to act on their invite unless you wish to get your child vaccinated outside of school.

If your child has tested positive for COVID-19, they need to wait four weeks before they can have a COVID-19 vaccine.

For more information on COVID-19 vaccinations for 12 to 15 year olds, please visit

See details of upcoming walk-in clinics on our COVID-19 walk-in clinics page.

If you plan to attend a walk-in clinic, please bring your NHS number and ID with proof of your age (for example, driving licence or passport). You must also wear a face covering and follow social distancing guidelines when visiting our vaccination centre.

If you attend a walk-in session but already had an appointment (first or second dose) booked, please remember to cancel your original appointment online at or by phoning 119.

  • Opening hours of walk-in sessions depend on the number of people turning up on the day and on vaccine supply.
  • People without booked appointments will be vaccinated on a first come, first served basis and the walk-in clinic will close once all vaccinations available for the day have been administered.
  • Capacity for walk-ins is limited on some days, and you may need to wait to be vaccinated, or you may be unable to get your vaccine on your chosen day.
  • To minimise wait times and avoid disappointment, we recommend booking in advance if you are able. You can book online via the NHS website, or call 119.

People aged 12 and over COVID-19 vaccination appointments online at or by phoning 119.

Don’t delay – appointments for both doses of COVID-19 vaccine are available across Essex and Suffolk. Please book as soon as possible.

Many of our vaccination centres have introduced a pre-screening form. If you have booked an appointment at one of our vaccination centres, you may receive a text and/or email from us inviting you to complete a pre-screening form in advance. Please check the sender of the message to ensure it is genuine. The text message is from NHS-NoReply and the email from vaccscreeningsupport (Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust).

Booking helpline (Essex and Suffolk): if you are eligible to be vaccinated and need further help to book an appointment, you can call 0344 257 3961 (open 9:00am-4:00pm, calls charged at your local rate).

Vaccination questions

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 COVID-19 vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through. The MHRA follows international safety standards.

So far, millions of people have been given a COVID-19 vaccine. Reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions or blood clotting problems, have been very rare. To find out more about each of the vaccines approved for use in the UK, see:

For more information on the development, testing, and safety of COVID-19 vaccines for different groups, please visit

You can be vaccinated against COVID-19 if:

  • you’re pregnant or think you might be
  • you’re breastfeeding
  • you’re trying for a baby or might get pregnant in the future

Pregnant women who have not yet had the vaccine are strongly encouraged take up the vaccine as soon as possible. Pregnant women are in the moderate risk (clinically vulnerable) group – getting vaccinated is the best way to protect against the known risks of COVID-19 for both mother and baby.

If you’re pregnant and have not had a COVID-19 vaccine yet, it’s preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. These vaccines have been widely used during pregnancy and no safety concerns for mother or baby have been identified.

If you’ve already had the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for your first dose and did not experience any serious side effects, you should have it again for your second dose.

You may also wish to discuss the benefits and potential risks of having a COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy with your GP or maternity team. You may find this information published by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists helpful.

A pregnancy and vaccines helpline has been set up by Full Fact, a charity which provides independent, confidential, factual information on a number of misinformation issues.  If you have a question about the Covid-19 vaccine you can add their WhatsApp helpline number, 07521 770995, and send your questions or concerns to their independent, impartial fact checking team.

The COVID-19 vaccine is given as an injection into your upper arm.

Everyone aged 12 and over is eligible for two doses of vaccine. It’s important you have at least two doses of vaccine against COVID-19.

People aged 18 and over, and those with underlying health conditions that may make them more vulnerable to COVID-19, are eligible to have their second vaccine dose eight weeks after their first dose. Children and young people aged 12 to 17 without underlying health conditions will be offered their second vaccine dose twelve weeks after their first dose.

People with a weakened immune system are being offered a third primary dose of vaccine. If you’re eligible, your GP or hospital consultant should contact you to let you know you can have a third dose.

All adults are urged to take up the offer of a booster vaccine, which is offered from twelve weeks after your second dose (or third primary dose if you had one). The booster vaccine provides longer-lasting protection from COVID-19.

The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus.

It’s being given to:

  • people aged 12 and over
  • people at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable)
  • people with other conditions that put them at higher risk (clinically vulnerable)
  • carers
  • people who live and work in care homes
  • frontline health workers
  • frontline social care worker

The order in which people will be offered the vaccine is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

If you’re aged 16 or over you can:

Children aged 12 to 15 will be invited to receive their vaccine at school, or parents can book an appointment at a dedicated clinic by visiting or calling 119.

You cannot usually choose which vaccine you have. When you book online (or by calling 119), you’ll only be offered appointments for vaccines that are suitable for you.

Most people can have any of the COVID-19 vaccines, but some people are only offered certain vaccines.

For example, if you’re pregnant or aged under 40 you’ll usually only be offered appointments for the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines.

You should have the same vaccine for both doses, unless you had serious side effects (such as a serious allergic reaction) after your first dose.

Across England the vaccine is being offered in some hospitals and pharmacies, at hundreds of local vaccination centres run by GPs, and at larger vaccination centres. A growing number of mobile initiatives including buses, vans and trailers, and pop-up community vaccination clinics are also offering the vaccine.

There are a number of large vaccination centres across Essex and Suffolk. These can give hundreds of vaccines a day, thousands a week, and can scale up or down according to supply and demand for the vaccine.

Large vaccination centres operated by EPUT in Mid and South Essex:

  • Alastair Farquharson Centre, Thurrock Community Hospital
  • Southend Civic Centre, Southend-on-Sea
  • The Lodge, Runwell, Wickford

For a full list of vaccination sites in Mid and South Essex, visit the Essex COVID vaccine website.

Large vaccination centres operated by EPUT in Suffolk and North East Essex:

  • Chevington Close, Bury St Edmunds
  • Clacton Hospital, Clacton-on-Sea
  • Gainsborough Sports Centre, Ipswich
  • JobServe Community Stadium, Colchester
  • Cedars Park Community Centre, Stowmarket

For a full list of vaccination sites in Suffolk and North East Essex, visit

Please only attend these sites if you have an appointment or if a walk-in vaccination clinic is taking place.

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