COVID-19 Vaccine
The vaccine offers us the best way out of the coronavirus pandemic

The vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from COVID-19

  • The vaccine will reduce your risk of getting COVID-19. Catching COVID-19 can be serious and may lead to long-term complications.
  • You can spread COVID-19 to family and those around you, even if you have very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.

How to make a vaccine in record time

Vaccines usually take decades to develop – so how is Oxford University’s ChAdOx1 nCoV-1 vaccine trial moving so quickly? It comes down to careful planning, extraordinary logistics and a whole lot of help from partners around the world. For more information, please watch the video on this page.

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?

NHS Scotland will only use a vaccine if it meets the required standards of safety and effectiveness. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has approved COVID-19 vaccines for use in the UK.

How do the vaccines work?

The COVID-19 vaccines do not cause COVID-19. They help to build up your immunity to the virus, so your body will fight it off more easily if it affects you. This can reduce your risk of developing COVID-19 or, if you do get COVID-19, it can make the symptoms milder. The vaccine is also suitable for people with disorders of the immune system.

The vaccines’ effectiveness will continue to be monitored as the vaccines are rolled out.

When will it start to be effective and how long will it work for?

After the first dose, the COVID-19 vaccination offers good protection within two to three weeks of the first dose. However, it’s very important to get further doses as required. Some groups of the population are already receiving their 4th and 5th doses.

Side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine

Some people may experience side effects after the vaccine. These are usually mild and may include:

  • Tenderness, swelling and/or redness at the injection site
  • Headache, muscle ache
  • Feeling tired
  • Fever (temperature above 37.8°C).

A less common side effect is swelling of the glands. This starts a few days after the vaccine and may last for up to two weeks. This is to be expected and is a sign of the immune system responding to the vaccine.

If you feel uncomfortable, take Paracetamol. Make sure you take Paracetamol as directed on the label or leaflet.

It is important to get two doses of the vaccine, even if you have mild side effects after the first dose.

Pregnancy, breastfeeding and the COVID-19 vaccine

For the latest guidance on pregnancy, breastfeeding and the COVID-19 vaccine visit:

NHS Inform
Pregnancy, breastfeeding and the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine | NHS inform

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
Coronavirus infection and pregnancy (
COVID-19 Vaccine info sheet (

Public Health Scotland
The COVID-19 vaccine – Pregnancy leaflet available in alternative formats and languages.


If you’re unsure about anything, or have any questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, call 0800 030 8013 (available 8am–8pm, 7 days a week).

Your Questions Answered

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit our FAQs page

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Flu vaccine, please visit our FAQs page



It's important not to contact the NHS or your GP practice for a vaccination. 

The public have an important part to play:

  • Please get your vaccinations and booster
  • Please don’t contact your GP to book your appointment
  • Please attend any booked appointments; and
  • Please continue to follow all the guidance to control the virus and save lives.

Your Questions Answered

We all have questions about when and where we can receive our vaccination. How many there will be? How long between injections? Are there side effects?

To find out the answers to these questions and many more please visit our Frequently Asked Questions page


National Call Centre

The centre is open from 8.00am to 8.00pm each day.

NHS Inform have set up a free helpline, 0800 030 8013, to help with:

  • Book or amend an appointment
  • Any general advice on coronavirus or the coronavirus vaccine

If you need help with your COVID vaccination status, please call 0808 196 8565 between 10am and 6pm.




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