Dr Kalia - COVID-19 vaccination FAQ's

01st March 2021

Our GP Dr Kalia, gives a useful and informative insight on the COVID19 vaccines currently being issued in the UK. 

How are vaccines coordinated?

I would encourage everyone to be registered with their local NHS GP practice and get to know their NHS number. Vaccinations will be rolled out via the NHS vaccination programme and currently cannot be purchased privately. You will generally be contacted by your NHS GP surgery/ NHS local healthcare commissioning group (CCG) to book an appointment based on your risk profiling. As we speed through vaccinations, and supply issues become less of a challenge, there are increasing options to book a vaccine through the NHS website at a local vaccination centre. Check the NHS website regarding coronavirus for the latest information.


You won’t be able to choose which vaccine you get - you will be offered the one that’s available. I would strongly urge patients not to be picky about which one they have as they may not get another opportunity to be vaccinated without a long delay.

Why do I need an NHS number and how do I find mine?

You will be required to provide your NHS number (or have one) to be eligible to have the COVID-19 vaccine.  You can find it on any letter the NHS has sent you, on a prescription, by contacting your NHS GP surgery or by using the following link:


Is it safe to take the vaccine?

The vaccine is just as safe as other vaccines offered in the UK. There is a lot of misinformation out there. As a medical practitioner we follow the most up to date research and guidance from trusted sources, this forms the basis of any medical advice we give to our patients.

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 products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Any coronavirus vaccine that is brought to market and approved must go through rigorous clinical trials and safety checks that all other licensed medicines go through. The MHRA follows international standards of safety. The MHRA have been working around the clock to push this through but haven't “cut corners”, MHRA are normally involved when a product goes to market, however they have been involved throughout with the Covid-19 vaccine.

So far, over 18 million people have been given a COVID-19 vaccine and reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions, have been very rare. Rare reactions to vaccines are not a new phenomenon. No longer term complications have been reported.

Ultimately, patients need to make their own decisions - no one can be forced to have it although we won’t generate herd immunity if not enough people take it. In my professional opinion, I would strongly encourage my patients to have the vaccine. 

You should not have the COVID-19 vaccine if you have ever had a serious allergic reaction (including anaphylaxis) to:

  • a previous dose of the same vaccine
  • any of the ingredients in the vaccine- ingredients are listed on the NHS website for each vaccine. Both vaccines contain a sugar known as sucrose and salts such as sodium and potassium. 

Serious allergic reactions are rare. If you do have a reaction to the vaccine, it usually happens in minutes. Staff giving the vaccine are trained to deal with allergic reactions and treat them immediately.


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