Coronaviruses are a ‘type’ of virus. The coronavirus we are all affected by is called COVID-19, but you may also hear it called - coronavirus.
A lot of false information about this virus is being shared - it’s very important that you make sure that the information you use comes from a trusted source - all of the information on this page has been sourced from the NHS.
What are the symptoms?
- a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
What to do if you have symptoms
If you have any of the main symptoms of COVID-19, even if they're mild:
- Get a PCR test (test that is sent to a lab) to check if you have COVID-19 as soon as possible. Get a PCR test to check if you have COVID-19 on GOV.UK
- Stay at home and do not have visitors (self-isolate) until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test. Check if people you live with need to self-isolate.
Get help from NHS 111 online. if you're worried about your symptoms or you're not sure what to do. Call 111 if you cannot get help online. Do not go to places like a GP surgery, hospital or pharmacy.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines
The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines are safe and effective. They give you the best protection against COVID-19. A booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine is available on the NHS for people most at risk from COVID-19 who have already had 2 doses of a vaccine. People aged 16 and over can get a 1st and 2nd dose of a vaccine. Most children aged 12 to 15 are currently only being offered the 1st dose. Find out more about who can get a COVID-19 vaccine
How to get your COVID-19 vaccine
If you're aged 16 or over you can:
- book your COVID-19 vaccination appointments online for an appointment at a vaccination centre or pharmacy
- find a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination site to get vaccinated without needing an appointment
- wait to be contacted by your GP surgery and book your appointments with them
If you cannot book appointments online, you can call 119 free of charge. You can speak to a translator if you need to. If you have difficulties communicating or hearing / or are a British Sign Language (BSL) user, you can use textphone 18001 119 or the NHS 119 BSL interpreter service.
Types of COVID-19 vaccine
The COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use in the UK are:
- Moderna vaccine
- Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine
- Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
- Janssen vaccine (not currently available)
Which vaccine will I get?
You cannot usually choose which vaccine you have. When you book, 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 under 40 you'll usually be offered appointments for the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines
- if you're under 18, you'll only be offered the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
You should have the same vaccine for both doses unless you had serious side effects (such as a serious allergic reaction) after your 1st dose.
How well do the COVID-19 vaccines work?
Anyone who gets COVID-19 can become seriously ill or have long-term effects (long COVID). The COVID-19 vaccines are the best way to protect yourself and others. Research has shown that vaccines help:
- reduce your risk of getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19
- reduce your risk of catching or spreading COVID-19
- protect against COVID-19 variants
The 1st dose should give you some protection from 3 or 4 weeks after you've had it. But you need 2 doses for stronger and longer-lasting protection. There is a chance you might still get or spread COVID-19 even if you have a vaccine, so it's important to follow advice about how to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19.
The COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the UK have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness. They can cause some side effects, but not everyone gets them. Any side effects are usually mild and should not last longer than a week, such as:
- a sore arm from the injection
- feeling tired
- a headache
- feeling achy
- feeling or being sick
More serious side effects, such as allergic reactions or blood clotting, are very rare. Find out more about COVID-19 vaccines side effects and safety
You can get 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
The vaccines you'll be offered depends on if you're pregnant and how old you are. The vaccines cannot give you or your baby COVID-19. Find out more about pregnancy, breastfeeding, fertility and COVID-19 vaccination
COVID-19 vaccine ingredients
The COVID-19 vaccines do not contain egg or animal products. The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine contains a tiny amount of alcohol, but this is less than in some everyday foods like bread. You can find out about the ingredients in the vaccines currently available in the UK: