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Why do I have to wait?

Why do I have to wait for my COVID-19 vaccine? | I am in one of the listed groups above, why do I have to wait? | Where can I get a COVID-19 vaccination? | What if the centre I am offered is not easy to get to? | Can I pay for a COVID-19 vaccine privately or at a pharmacy? | More Information


Rescheduling the second COVID-19 vaccine appointment

Due to new advice from the UK Chief Medical Officers on 30 December 2020, we need to reschedule the second coronavirus vaccination appointment for those who have already had one dose. The new medical advice is that the second dose of the vaccine remains effective when given up to 12 weeks after the first dose, and should be given towards the end of this 12 week period. The new guidance will ensure that as many people as possible benefit from the first dose of the vaccine as soon as possible. If you have received a first dose, you do not need to contact the health board, you will be automatically re-scheduled and called for your new appointment.

While two doses of the vaccine are needed to get the best long-term protection, in the short-term individuals will have high levels of protection from the first dose received. There are no safety concerns in the new guidance, and it will not negatively impact on the effectiveness of the complete course of COVID-19 vaccine.


Why do I have to wait for my COVID-19 vaccine?

Those people most at risk from the complications of COVID-19 are being offered the vaccine first.  

In the UK, there are three COVID-19 vaccines (made by Pfizer BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Moderna) likely to be offered first. They need two separate doses to provide the best protection. These vaccines will not have a full UK marketing authorisation (license) but will have been authorised by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) based on a full assessment of safety and effectiveness.  

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), an independent group of experts, has recommended that the NHS offers these vaccines to those at highest risk of catching the disease and of suffering serious complications or dying from COVID-19, and to protect the NHS and social care services. This includes older adults and frontline health and social care workers. When more vaccine becomes available, the vaccines will be offered to other people at risk as soon as possible.  

You should have the vaccine when it is offered if you are: 
  • a person living or working in a care home for older adults 
  • a frontline healthcare worker 
  • a frontline social care worker 
  • a domiciliary carer providing personal care  
The vaccine will be offered in the following order to: 
  • those aged 80 years and over 
  • those aged 75 years and over 
  • those aged 70 years and over and adults identified as clinically extremely vulnerable  
  • those aged 65 years and over 
  • those aged 16 to 64 years with long term health conditions (see list below) 
Long term health conditions include conditions such as: 
  • blood cancer (such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma) 
  • diabetes 
  • a heart problem 
  • a chest complaint or breathing difficulties, including bronchitis, emphysema or severe asthma 
  • kidney disease 
  • liver disease 
  • lowered immunity due to disease or treatment (such as HIV infection, steroid medication, chemotherapy or radiotherapy) 
  • having had an organ transplant 
  • having had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) 
  • a neurological or muscle wasting condition including epilepsy and dementia 
  • severe or profound learning disability 
  • Down’s syndrome 
  • a problem with your spleen, e.g. sickle cell disease, or having had your spleen removed 
  • being seriously overweight (BMI of 40 and above) 
  • severe mental illness 
At the same time as those aged 16-64 years with long term health conditions the vaccine will also be offered to: 
  • those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill 
  • younger adults in long stay nursing and residential settings, and staff 

After these groups, those aged 50 to 64 will be offered vaccination.  

When more vaccine becomes available in 2021 we will be offering it to more groups. 

I am in one of the listed groups above, why do I have to wait? 

COVID-19 vaccines will become available as they are approved for use, and as each batch is manufactured and delivered. People will be called in order, and you will be sent an appointment when your turn comes as soon as there is enough vaccine available.  

Where can I get a COVID-19 vaccination? 

Vaccines will be offered in a range of settings. Most people will go to the nearest vaccination centre.  Some vaccination teams will visit people to offer the vaccine, for example in care homes.  

What if the centre I am offered is not easy to get to? 

Please try to attend the vaccination centre you are offered. If you cannot attend the centre you are offered you may have to wait to get the vaccine in a more convenient location.   

Can I pay for a COVID-19 vaccine privately or at a pharmacy? 

No, the COVID-19 vaccination is only available for free through the NHS to eligible groups.  


More Information 

You can find out more information about COVID-19 vaccines, including their contents and possible side effects at and 

You can report suspected side effects online at  or by downloading the Yellow Card app.  

To find out how the NHS uses your information, visit 

To order more copies of this leaflet, visit