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Information on a COVID-19 vaccine, who will get it and when.

First published:
30 October 2020
Last updated:

Why vaccines are important

Vaccines teach your immune system how to protect you from diseases. It's much safer for your immune system to learn this through vaccination than by catching diseases and attempting to treat them.

It’s likely you’ve had a number of vaccinations in your lifetime to prevent catching diseases that could cause serious illness or death.

If enough people are vaccinated it’s possible to reduce or eradicate some diseases. But, if people stop having vaccines, it's possible for infectious diseases to quickly spread again.

Vaccine safety

The safety standards of vaccines generally have to be higher than those for medication to treat illnesses, as vaccines are usually given to healthy people to prevent disease.

The long term response to the pandemic requires a safe and effective vaccine to be available for all who need it.

Many potential vaccines for COVID-19 are being studied and tested. A vaccine will reach the public only when it is proven to work and be safe.This process has been sped up by prompt funding and a reduction in paperwork.

The length of the trials have not been shortened, and the usual safety measures remain in place.

Vaccine roll out 

The vast majority of people have said they would get a COVID vaccine when it’s available, to protect themselves and keep friends and family safe.

There may only be small quantities of a vaccine at first, so it will be offered to those who need it most.

It’s hoped small quantities of a vaccine could be available for those at the highest risk before the end of the year.

The Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has made recommendations for the provisional prioritisation for COVID-19 vaccines. Wales and other UK administrations will be guided by the recommendations. The advice is based on preliminary information on the vaccines in development, and provisional timelines for vaccine availability, and is subject to change.

Getting enough doses for everybody will take a while after a vaccine becomes available.

In the meantime you should continue doing your bit to prevent the spread of coronavirus: regular hand washing, social distancing, and wearing a face covering where required to protect yourself and others.