Vaccination programme

Updated 06.10.21

The Government has released full guidance for schools on the vaccination programme of children and young people.

Where to get a vaccine

The Government guide for eligible children and young people aged 12-17

Everyone aged over 16 can now have the Covid-19 vaccine. All vaccine sites in Blackburn with Darwen offer both first and second doses, and appointments aren’t necessary – you can just walk-in.

Vaccination sites are as follows:

  • Blackburn Cathedral
  • Pharmacy 2U in Ainsworth Street, Blackburn
  • Ivy Street Community Centre, Blackburn
  • Everest Pharmacy, Darwen.

Vaccinations sites are open seven days a week, from 8am to 8pm – so you can easily fit in a jab around work or looking after the family.

Get more details and opening times.

If you prefer to make an appointment for your vaccination, the quickest way to do it is online through the National Booking System.

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.

Attending a vaccination appointment

If you are aged 16 or over, you don’t need to wait for a letter, text or phone call to invite you to make a vaccination appointment.

You can just walk-in to any of the vaccination sites in Blackburn with Darwen, which offer both first and second doses.

To be fully protected against Covid, you need to have two doses of the vaccine at two separate appointments.

Please take the following with you to your vaccination appointment:

  • a face covering, unless you cannot wear one for a health or disability reason
  • your booking reference number if you have booked an appointment in advance

If you are walking into a vaccination centre for your second dose, make sure you take your vaccine card which shows the date of your first vaccine. If you don’t have your card, you can still attend and they will check the date on your record. Be aware that if it is less than eight weeks / 56 days, you will be turned away until you are eligible for your second dose.

If you need a carer, you can bring them with you on the day.

What happens at the appointment

Your appointment should last for around 30 to 45 minutes. You'll be asked some questions about your medical history. It's important to tell the staff giving you the vaccination if you have ever had a severe allergic reaction or if you are pregnant.

If your appointment is at a vaccination centre, you'll be asked for your booking reference number.

You will then be given an injection of the vaccine into your upper arm.

All vaccination sites will help keep you safe from Covid-19. There will be regular cleaning and social distancing in waiting areas.

After the vaccination

You may be asked to wait for 15 minutes after having your vaccination. This is in the unlikely event you have a serious reaction to the vaccine. Research has found it's very rare to have a serious allergic reaction to the vaccine. If this does happen, it usually happens within minutes. The team are trained to deal with reactions and treat them immediately.

You will also be given a leaflet about what to expect after your vaccination to take home with you.

It’s normal for some people to feel a little unwell for around 24 hours after having the Covid vaccine – it’s a sign that the vaccine is working. But symptoms are usually mild and not everyone gets them. Common symptoms can include:

  • Headache
  • Fever and/or chills
  • Body aches
  • Feeling tired
  • Feeling sick
  • A sore arm where the needle went in

Taking paracetamol can help with these symptoms.

Find out more about what to expect after the vaccination on GOV.UK

First and second dose

It’s very important that you have both doses of the Covid vaccination. One dose will give you some protection, but you’ll be far better protected from Covid after having your second dose.

Vaccinated people are far 50-60% less likely to get Covid with symptoms and are even more unlikely to be seriously ill with Covid, to need hospital treatment, or to die from it. Vaccinated people are also less likely to pass the virus to others.

You can have your second dose eight weeks, or 56 days, after your first dose.

If you attended one of the larger vaccination centres or a pharmacy for your first vaccination, you will have been given a date for your second vaccination. Please note that you don’t need an appointment for your second vaccination – you can walk into any of the local sites,- as long as it has been a full eight weeks / 56 days since your first dose.

If you have any issues, contact either the online NHS National Booking System or call 119.

Booster vaccinations

The Government has released full guidance on booster vaccinations

People aged 50 years and over, health and social care workers and younger people at risk are being offered a booster dose of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine.

You will be called up to have the vaccine if both the following conditions apply:

  • You are aged 50 years and over, health and social care workers, and are a young person at risk
    and
  • It has been more than 6 months since your second vaccination.

You should not have the booster jab if you have had both vaccinations but have tested positive for COVID-18 within 28 days of planning your booking.

Frontline health and social care workers will be invited to book an appointment through their employer.

Most people will be offered a booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine or Moderna vaccine. This means your booster dose may be different from the vaccines you had for your 1st and 2nd doses. Some people may be offered a booster dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine if they cannot have the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

The NHS website has further information for online booking when you are contacted to have the booster vaccine.

COVID-19 booster vaccine and flu vaccine

Most people who can get a COVID-19 booster vaccine are also eligible for the annual flu vaccine.

If you are offered both vaccines, it's safe to have them at the same time.

Vaccinations guidance for parents/foster carers

The Government guide for eligible children and young people aged 12-17

All children aged 12 to 15 years are being offered a first dose of vaccine as part of the school-based COVID-19 vaccination programme. Children who are 12 years old and over on the day the School Age Immunisation Service (SAIS) team visits the school, will be offered a vaccination as part of the in-school vaccination programme.

The Government has released its full guidance on vaccinating children and young people.

The NHS leaflets provide more information for parents and children on the vaccine, including how it works and what to expect after COVID-19 vaccination.

Vaccinations in schools

Vaccines will be administered by healthcare staff working closely with the school. The expectation is that the vaccination programme will be delivered primarily within schools, however there might be certain schools where this is not possible.

There are benefits for both children and schools in regards to vaccination of 12 to 15 year olds. It will reduce the need for children to have time off school and should reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 within schools.

Parental consent

For those aged 12 to 15 consent will be sought from the parent or person with parental responsibility in the same way as for any other school vaccination programme.

A consent form and information leaflet will be sent to parents/carers when requesting consent. The school can provide you with leaflets and information, as well as sending out email links, letters and reminders. The school can also signpost you to official sources of information on vaccines.

In secondary schools, some older children may be sufficiently mature to provide their own consent. This sometimes occurs if a parent has not returned a consent form but the child still wishes to have the vaccine on the day of the session. Every effort will be made to contact the parent to seek their verbal consent. The school has no role in this process.

Common side effects

Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short term and not everyone gets them. The very common side effects should only last a day or two.

Side effects can include:

  • having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection
  • tiredness
  • headache, aches and chills

Children and young people may develop flu-like symptoms, akin to shivering and shaking for a day or two. If these symptoms occur, it is recommended for the child to rest and take paracetamol.

Vaccine safety

The Covid-19 vaccine is safe and effective.

Research into the type of vaccine that protects against Covid has been developed over decades, providing the foundations for scientists to make vaccines for whatever virus comes along.

Before any vaccine can be used, it must pass strict quality, safety and effectiveness tests and be approved by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The Covid vaccines are no different and have been approved by the MHRA.

The vaccine is suitable for people of all faiths and those following a vegan or vegetarian diet as it does not contain any animal products or egg. Full information on the ingredients.

Some people are exempt from having the COVID-19 vaccine. To find out who is exempt and how to prove exemption please read the Government guidance on COVID-19 medical exemptions: proving you are unable to get vaccinated.

Benefits of having the Covid vaccination

Vaccinated people are 50-60% less likely to get Covid with symptoms and are even more unlikely to be seriously ill with Covid, to need hospital treatment, or to die from it. Vaccinated people are also less likely to pass the virus to others.

Plus, people who have had both vaccine doses don’t need to self-isolate when they are identified as a close contact provided they get a negative result from a PCR test.

Travel for free to get your vaccination

When you go to get your Covid vaccination, you can travel for free on any bus service within Blackburn with Darwen – just tell the driver you’re going to get your Covid vaccine.

If you need any other help with transport to a vaccination site, contact our Help Hub on 01254 588111.

Free parking is also available in Blackburn for anyone going to get vaccinated, on the car park on Penny Street. This is close to vaccination sites at Blackburn Cathedral and Pharmacy 2U on Ainsworth Street.

Supporting you to get vaccinated

If you’re unsure about going to a vaccination site or need support to leave home, get in touch and we’ll do our best to help you.

In some circumstances we can arrange for you to have the vaccine in your own home, provided you meet certain criteria – like being Clinically Extremely Vulnerable or aged over 40.

Vaccination and pregnancy

The Covid-19 vaccination is safe for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.

The likelihood of a pregnant woman getting Covid-19 is not higher than anyone else, however pregnant women are in the clinically vulnerable group as a precaution, because they can sometimes be more at risk from viruses.

Although it’s very rare for pregnant women to become seriously ill if they get Covid-19, when it does happen, it may be more likely later in pregnancy. If this happens, there’s a small chance the baby may be born early or the mother may be advised to give birth earlier than the due date.

While the chances of having a stillbirth are low, there is some emerging evidence that the risk may be higher if the mother has Covid-19 at the time of birth.

If you’re planning a pregnancy, be aware that there’s no evidence that the vaccine has any effect on your fertility or chances of becoming pregnant, and there is no need to avoid pregnancy after having your jab.

Read more on the advice to pregnant women in Blackburn with Darwen to get vaccinated against Coronavirus.

More information relating to pregnancy, breastfeeding and fertility relating to Covid vaccination can be found on the NHS Website.

This pregnancy information video may answer some of your queries. For further information, please contact your GP.

Easy read documents

Easy read leaflets providing information for pregnant women have been produced and are available in multiple languages.

Vaccination roll out and lateral flow testing

The increased access to lateral flow testing and the vaccination programme are the corner stones to support the Government’s roadmap and phased re-opening.

It is important that people continue to participate in regular lateral flow testing once they have had an initial and second Covid vaccination.

Whilst early indications show that vaccines are very effective at preventing transmission of COVID-19, we are still learning to what extent people who have been vaccinated can catch the virus and pass it on to others.

Until very high proportions of the population are vaccinated, we must continue to protect each other by following all public health advice.

Protective behaviours remain as important as ever.

To keep ourselves, colleagues, families and the wider community safe regular testing is still required.

Information on testing and how to get a test

About the vaccine

The Covid-19 vaccine is safe and effective. It gives you the best protection against coronavirus. 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 produced Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

What are the benefits of the vaccine?

  • If you have two doses of the vaccine you are three times less likely to catch coronavirus than someone who has not been vaccinated.
  • You may be less likely to pass coronavirus to another person.

The vaccine is suitable for those following a vegan or vegetarian diet because it does not contain any animal products or egg. Full information on the ingredients.

The British Islamic Medical Association issued specific advice for those Muslims who observed Ramadan asking them not to delay getting the vaccine because injections for non-nutritional purposes do not invalidate the fast. They have also produced videos in community languages to answer myths that are circulating around the vaccination. All the videos.

Vaccinations do not provide 100% immunity and individuals can still contract Covid-19, be infectious and pass the virus onto others.

The increased access to lateral flow testing and the vaccination programme are the corner stones to support the Government’s roadmap and phased re-opening. It is important that people continue to participate in regular lateral flow testing once they have had an initial and second Covid vaccination. To keep ourselves, colleagues, families and the wider community safe regular testing is required. Any other questions you may have are answered in the Popular FAQs link below.

What does research say about the vaccine?

  • If you have two doses of the vaccine you are three times less likely to catch coronavirus than someone who has not been vaccinated.
  • You may be less likely to pass coronavirus to another person.
  • The vaccination programme has been successful in weakening the link between infection, hospitalisation and deaths.
  • You will build up immunity to the coronavirus at a faster rate if you are fully vaccinated.

For further information about this research is available on the ICL Website.

About the programme

The Covid-19 vaccine is safe and effective. It gives you the best protection against Covid-19. The 1st dose of the COVID-19 vaccine should give you good protection from COVID-19 from 3 or 4 weeks after you've had it.

You need to have the 2 doses of the vaccine to give you longer lasting protection.

There is a chance you might still get or spread COVID-19 even if you have the vaccine.

More information about the programme.

Community languages and easy read vaccination leaflets

Information about the COVID-19 vaccine is available in many different languages and also in easy read format, to help everyone get the information they need to decide to have their vaccination.

COVID-19 vaccination: guide for adults multi-lingual leaflets

Easy-read guides providing information on coronavirus (COVID-19) and vaccination.

Vaccination scams

Coronavirus vaccines will only be available via the NHS. You may be contacted by the NHS, your employer, a GP surgery or a pharmacy local to you, to receive your vaccine. Find out more about how you will be contacted.

Remember, the vaccine is free of charge. At no point will you be asked to pay and:

  • The NHS will never ask you for your bank account or card details.
  • The NHS will never ask you for your PIN or banking password.
  • The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.
  • The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.

If you receive a call that you think is a scam please hang up. If you receive an email that you think is a scam please do not click on any links or reply with any of your details.

Please visit Coronavirus vaccine scam warning | Action Fraud for more information.

Popular FAQ

NHS Covid Pass for work, events and travel

Please visit NHS COVID Pass - NHS (www.nhs.uk) for further details.

Flu vaccination

Ensuring as many people as possible take up the offer of a flu vaccine is an important part of our winter resilience planning, as fewer people have built up a natural immunity to it during the COVID-19 pandemic. The NHS has begun to roll out the annual campaign for the flu vaccination. A free flu vaccination will still be available for all previously eligible groups. This year, the Government has extended eligibility to include 50-64 year olds and secondary school children. Further information can be found on the Government website.