COVID-19 vaccines are the safest way to help the immune system build protection against the virus that causes COVID-19.
To support you to help people feel confident in taking up the vaccine, particularly groups known or expected to be at risk of missing out on vaccination, use these COVID-19 vaccination resources.
Researchers estimate that vaccines saved 157,000 lives in England alone, and more than 470,000 across the 33 countries in Europe which were studied.
Data published by UKHSA shows that people who are unvaccinated are up to eight times more likely to be hospitalised with COVID-19.
Even if you have already had COVID-19, getting the vaccine will add extra protection, it serves as a boost to the immune system.
A booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine helps improve the protection you have from your first two to help give longer-term protection against serious illness from COVID-19.
Key points about the vaccines:
- protect against severe disease and death
- Reduce the risk of Long COVID
- reduce the risk of spreading the virus
- reduce risk to pregnant women and their babies: pregnant women with COVID-19 have increased risk of serious illness, preterm birth, still birth, risk of preeclampsia
- These vaccines have been tested on tens of thousands of people around the world, both men and women and people from different ethnic backgrounds, representative of the UK population and of all ages between 18-84.
- Most side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are mild and should not last longer than a week
The COVID-19 3 'A's Tool:
This tool is to help practitioners and volunteers have short conversations (deliver very brief interventions) with people to encourage uptake of a COVID-19 vaccine. Some members of the public may be hesitant about receiving a vaccination. This tool helps us to navigate conversations with people who may have questions and concerns.
- Getting the conversation going
- Using questions and reflections to get the person talk about what they feel
- Building understanding and assessing how you might help
- Deciding what information to offer
Once you understand the person’s views and feelings
- Offering appropriate information and advice
- Ensuring it’s personalised, tailored and appropriate
- Clarifying next steps
- Strengthening person’s intention/plan to get vaccinated
- Booking an appointment / signposting to further info or GP
The 3 ‘A’s approach is a simple structure for conversations to help them flow. It also ensures we listen to peoples’ concerns, reassure them and, as a minimum, keep them open to the idea of getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
See below for ideas and tips for each step in the conversation.
Very Brief Intervention
Have you had a chance to think about your COVID-19 vaccination?
Has anyone been in touch about your COVID-19 vaccine yet?
I’m just following up on the letter you should have received inviting you to book a COVID-19 vaccination. Did you want to book a time for your jab?
If yes, book the appointment (See ACT section)
If unsure, a quick conversation will be particularly useful: ask about their concerns e.g. Some people do have questions or concerns about the vaccines. I’m interested to hear what you think. Would it be okay if we discussed those?
The key message is that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective and gives you the best protection against coronavirus.
If a definite no, reaffirm it’s their decision and if they change their mind to get in touch.
Do you have any concerns or worries about taking a COVID-19 jab?
Don’t pressure the person.
Listen, then say back what you’ve heard.
Don’t take sides, just sum-up the pros and cons as they see it.
Barriers to vaccine uptake vary among age groups, social groups and community groups. There may be religious or cultural reasons influencing their decision, so understand and discuss the implications with them. We can support you with information, guides, leaflets and videos to support various communities here.
Rather than “pushing” the vaccine, focus on providing evidence-based information and answers to questions for people to make an informed decision.
May I share some information that might ease some of your concerns? Ultimately, however, the final decision is yours.
It’s great that you’re taking an interest in the vaccine. The information I’ve read has come from trusted sources like the NHS and this has reassured me about lots of these issues. Would you like me to share it with you?
Would you like to hear about how scientists ensured the vaccine is safe?
There are strict criteria and processes to make sure medicines and vaccines are safe before we roll them out to the public.
The COVID-19 vaccines have been tested on tens of thousands of people from a variety of backgrounds, ethnicities and ages, including those with medical issues. They were found to be very safe and effective in preventing coronavirus infection.
Although they have been developed rapidly, they have been through all the same checks as other vaccines we routinely use.
May I share the reasons how the vaccines were developed so quickly, then you can tell me what you think?
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the scientists, doctors, ethics approval boards, manufacturers and regulatory agencies all came together to work faster.
Vaccine trial volunteers were recruited at the start of the process, so they were ready to go once the vaccine was ready to trial.
Plus, the trial phases were run in parallel, speeding up the overall time of vaccine production, but not the critical research time.
Plans were made for the next phase of trials by the companies without having to wait for investor decisions.
Companies made decisions to begin large scale production of vaccines so that when the vaccines were found to be safe and effective, they would be ready to be distributed.
It was possible because scientists were focused on finding a way to beat COVID-19 and had already developed similar vaccines for other types of coronaviruses.
Rest assured though, that there are strict criteria to make sure medicines and vaccines are safe before they are rolled out to the public.
Would you like to hear about some of the benefits of COVID-19 vaccinations and how it works that we’re aware of?
Through vaccination, we can stop those most at-risk from getting the virus, meaning a reduction in hospitalisations and fewer deaths, ultimately saving thousands of lives.
The latest medical knowledge is saying that the immunity you will get from the vaccine may be longer lasting than any natural immunity.
The vaccine does not have any virus in it. It only contains a component from the virus that will make your body recognise the virus if you ever encounter it in the future - think of it as ‘memory’. If you do pick up the virus in real life, your body will kill the virus straightaway and you shouldn’t feel unwell.
Vaccines work by getting your body ready to fight off the virus. It’s not the vaccine that deals with it, it’s your body that fights it off.
Without a vaccine there will always be a risk that new outbreaks of the disease will emerge. Ultimately the vaccine programme is to stop people suffering with the virus and save lives.
Even if people have already had coronavirus they should get vaccinated…
Vaccines can stimulate a better immune response than the natural infection. It is hoped that vaccines for COVID-19 will provide protective immunity for at least as long as natural immunity or longer, which is why you will still be offered the vaccine even if you’ve had COVID-19 in the past. (Source: British Society for Immunology)
If asked… The vaccine does NOT cause infertility, change your DNA or contain any stem cells, alcohol or meat or meat products.
How do you feel knowing this information?
Can I share some more resources with you?
See next page for resources
People aged 16 and 17
You can get a COVID-19 vaccine if you're aged 16 or 17.
The NHS will contact you when it's your turn to get the vaccine. You'll be invited to a local NHS service such as a GP surgery.
You cannot book your appointment online.
People aged 18 and over
You can get a COVID-19 vaccine if you're aged 18 or over.
You can book appointments at a larger vaccination centre or pharmacy now, or wait to be invited to go to a local NHS service. Walk ins are also available.
Reassure them their GP Practice will be in touch when their vaccine is available
Ask if they have any access needs in order to take up the vaccine – from appointments in accessible format and follow up reminder and reassurance calls, to provision of wheelchairs accessible transport, to having facilities for guide dogs.
Agree to speak again
Signpost them to reliable information:
- COVID-19 vaccine information - NHS
- COVID-19 information and extensive commonly asked questions sections – British Society for Immunology
- COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation Toolkit - DCMS
- COVID-19: Vaccination programme FAQ explainer videos - PHE - COVID-19 FAQ explainer videos to answer the frequently asked questions about the types of vaccines including eligibility, safety, at-risk groups, rollout, intervals, common side effects, importance of two doses, who needs the vaccine and many more.
More useful resources to support your conversations:
- COVID-19 Resource centre - PHE
- Easy read – A guide to your COVID-19 vaccination for people with a learning disability and their carers - PHE
- COVID-19 vaccination: guide for older adults – available in multiple languages - PHE
- COVID-19 vaccination: guide for healthcare workers – available in multiple languages - PHE
- COVID-19 vaccination: a guide for social care staff – available in multiple languages - PHE
- Video of Dr Vanessa Apea discussing building trust within BAME communities – Barts Health Trust
- COVID-19 Vaccine information sheet for pregnant women - Royal College Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
- Young People’s Engagement Toolkit – Hackney council
- Young People’s Engagement Toolkit animation – Hackney council
- COVID-19 vaccination: British Sign Language resources - PHE