Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine

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

From Monday 19 July 2021, you must continue to wear a mask and follow social distancing guidelines when visiting our vaccination centres

Booster jabs

Booster jabs have now been given the go ahead as part of the UK government’s autumn and winter plan for managing COVID in England and will start rolling out across our vaccination centres next week. People will receive their booster 6 months from the date of their second vaccine. Those eligible for the booster includes over-50s, younger adults with health conditions and frontline health and social care workers. Please book your booster using the NHS National Booking System. Booster jabs will not be given to people without an appointment.

Walk-in vaccination clinics

We are holding drop-in Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination clinics at most of our vaccination centres across Suffolk and Essex.  See details of upcoming walk-in clinics here.

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.

Please note: the opening hours of walk-in sessions depend on the number of people turning up on the day. 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. 

Pre-booked vaccination appointments

People aged 17 and within 3 months of their 18th birthday can book COVID-19 vaccination appointments online at or by phoning 119. If you are aged 16 or 17 (and not within 3 months of your 18th birthday), please attend one of our walk-in clinics

To book an appointment at the Southend Civic Centre, Victoria Avenue, please call 0344 257 3961. You can park in the Civic Centre North car park, Carnarvon Road SS2 6LR, for up to 30 minutes free of charge while having your vaccination at the Southend Civic Centre.

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

If you’re under 40, you’ll only be shown appointments for the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines. If you’re 40 or over, you’ll be asked if you’re pregnant to make sure you’re only shown appointments for these vaccines.

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).

How is the COVID-19 vaccine given?

The COVID-19 vaccine is given as an injection into your upper arm. It’s important you have two doses of vaccine against COVID-19 for maximum protection.

The NHS is now inviting everyone over 18 to bring their second dose appointment to eight weeks to ensure everyone has the strongest possible protection at the earliest opportunity. Receiving the second dose at least eight weeks after the first offers the best protection.

Who can receive the vaccine?

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

It’s being given to:

  • people aged 16 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 workers
  • children and young people aged 12-15 in the following groups:
    • 12-15-year-olds ‘at risk’ with the underlying health conditions specified below:
      • severe neuro-disabilities
      • Down’s Syndrome
      • underlying conditions resulting in immunosuppression
      • those with profound and multiple learning disabilities, severe learning disabilities or who are on the learning disability register
    • children aged 12 years and older  who are household contacts of individuals (adults or children) who are immunosuppressed

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 18 or over (or will turn 18 within 3 months) you can:

People aged 16 and 17 our walk-in vaccination clinics that are taking place across Essex and Suffolk. Find details of upcoming walk-in clinics here.

If your child aged 12 to 15 and is in one of the eligible groups, we will contact you by early September to invite you to book appointments for them for the vaccination.

Which vaccine should I have?

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.

Where can I get the vaccine?

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
  • Chelmer Valley Park and Ride, Chelmsford
  • Runnymede Hall, Thundersley
  • Southend Civic Centre, Southend-on-Sea
  • The Lodge, Runwell, Wickford
  • The Mill Arts and Events Centre, Rayleigh
  • The Practice, Tylers Ride, South Woodham Ferrers

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

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
  • Salvation Army Church, Violet Hill Road, 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.

How safe is the COVID-19 vaccine?

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

Pregnancy, breastfeeding, fertility and COVID-19 vaccination

You can be vaccinated against COVID-19 if you’re aged 18 or over and:

  • 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.

This is because these vaccines have been more widely used during pregnancy and no safety concerns 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.