Watch our COVID-19 Vaccine Q and A

A panel of health and care experts from across Plymouth chaired an online question and answer session to help provide reassurance and the facts around the Coronavirus vaccine to local people. 

Hosted by Tony Gravett MBE from the local Healthwatch, the event took place virtually on 13 April. On the panel was: 
•    Dr Alex Degan, Medical Director for Primary Care for Devon
•    Sue Wilkins, Associate Chief Nurse and Director of Mass Vaccination
•    Ruth Harrell, the Director of Public Health at Plymouth City Council. 

If you missed the event, you can watch it online here


The vaccine has been prioritised according to who is most at risk from severe illness and complications from COVID-19. In addition, NHS and social care workers need to be protected first so they can look after everyone safely.

The NHS will let you know when it is your turn to have the vaccine. It is important to wait to be contacted by the NHS. Please do not to contact the NHS to ask about vaccination before then. 

More information is available on the NHS website and from the Clinical Commissioning Group for Devon.

The full priority list is available on the GOV.UK website.

The Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines have been approved for use in the UK. They have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

More information on safety is available on the NHS website.

You can read about the regulatory approval of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the Oxford/AstraZenica vaccine on GOV.UK.

There are five main ways people in Devon are accessing vaccination services.

  1. Hospital hub - including Derriford Hospital
  2. GP-led local vaccination services - the county's GP practices are working together in groups (called primary care networks (PCNs)) to set up local vaccination centres. Across the county, 20 centres are now in operation, serving all of Devon practices. In Plymouth these are at The Staddy Function Centre, Glenside Surgery and Plymouth Pavilions
  3. Care homes and people who are housebound - The GP-led centres have now visited nearly all the care homes in Plymouth to vaccinate residents and staff. They are now working with community nursing teams to vaccinate people who can't leave their house to be vaccinated, starting with the over-80s
  4. Large-scale vaccination centres - including Plymouth Argyle's Stadium (Home Park) in Plymouth
  5. Selected pharmacy sites - Several pharmacies are offering appointments for coronavirus vaccinations to people in priority groups who have received letters from a national booking system. They are located at: Plymouth Cricket Ground, Devonport, run by Devonport Pharmacy and Westward Ho! Baptist Church, run by Arnolds Pharmacy.

The NHS will let you know when it is your turn to have the vaccine. It is important to wait to be contacted by the NHS. Please do not to contact the NHS to ask about vaccination before then. 

More information is available on the NHS website.


Yes. While the vaccine may stop you from getting sick from coronavirus, it is not yet known whether the vaccine will prevent you from carrying the virus and spreading it to others. It is therefore important that we still keep washing our hands, keeping our distance and wearing our masks. 

More details can be found on the NHS website.

The COVID-19 vaccination programme has been underway since December 2020. More information is available from:

Social distancing is the only way to safe around people not in your household or support bubble at the moment until more people receive the vaccine. While the vaccine stops you from getting sick from COVID-19, you may still be able to carry the virus and pass it on. Therefore you still need to keep your distance, wear your mask and wash your hands to protect those around you. Others around you may not have received their vaccine so do not put them at risk of COVID-19.

Plans are currently being put in place to deliver the vaccine to older housebound individuals. The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine can be easily transported which means it is now possible to administer the vaccine in people’s homes. Initially, over-80s will be prioritised and GPs will work with community nursing teams to put arrangements in place.

The Government has now announced that vaccinations centres can start to call people over the age of 45 for a vaccination. You can book your vaccine here. The NHS will let you know when it is your turn to have the vaccine. It is important to wait to be contacted by the NHS. Please do not to contact the NHS to ask about vaccination before then. 

More information is available on the NHS website and from the Clinical Commissioning Group for Devon.

The full priority list is available on the GOV.UK website.

The NHS need volunteer marshals and stewards to help delivery the vaccinations locally. If you are interested in support the vaccine roll-out please contact Our Plymouth who are coordinating volunteers.

Some holiday operators have already stated that visitors will need COVID-19 vaccinations once holidays and flights resume and other airlines and destinations could follow suit. There is no specific information currently but if the vaccine does stop the spread of COVID-19, it is likely that countries may make it mandatory for those entering. Having the vaccination will at least possibly make travel easier, it is however early stages and there is no firm information on this to date.

There has been speculation on vaccine or immunity passports in the media and on social media in recent weeks. Currently, there is no specific information on vaccination passports and the UK government are yet to confirm if they will introduce them.

Yes, the vaccine contains less than 1 mmol of sodium per dose of 0.5ml, which is essentially classed as ‘sodium-free’. The vaccine also contains a very small amount of ethanol, 0.002g of alcohol per dose of 0.5ml which is not enough to cause any noticeable effects.

For more information, visit the GOV.UK website.

Neither Pfizer/BioNtech or Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines contain any products derived from animals. The British Islamic Medical Association, Hindu Council UK, and the Board of Deputies of British Jews [BA3] are in support of the vaccine roll out and are encouraging their communities to be vaccinated.

One 0.5ml dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine contains:

  • COVID-19 Vaccine (ChAdOx1-S* recombinant) 5 × 10^10 viral particles
  • Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
  • L-histidine
  • L-histidine hydrochloride monohydrate
  • Magnesium chloride hexahydrate
  • Polysorbate 80
  • Ethanol
  • Sucrose
  • Sodium chloride
  • Disodium edetate dihydrate
  • Water for injections

For more information, visit the GOV.UK website

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine contains inactive ingredients such as:

  • Potassium
  • Chloride
  • Monobasic potassium
  • Phosphate
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate
  • Sucrose

For more information, visit the Pfizer website.

Yes the vaccine is free, the NHS will contact you when it is your turn to have the vaccine but the NHS will never:

  1. Ask for your bank details or bank card
  2. Ask you for your PIN or banking password
  3. Ask you for proof of identity by sending personal documents such as a passport or bills or pay slips
  4. Arrive at your home unannounced to administer the vaccine

If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you are suspicious about an email you have received, forward it to Suspicious text messages should be forwarded to the number 7726 which is free of charge.

If you believe you are the victim of a fraud, please report this to Action Fraud as soon as possible by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting the Action Fraud website

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is safe, effective and has already saved thousands of lives. The MHRA (UK regulator) has undertaken a thorough review into UK reports of a very rare and unlikely to occur specific type of blood clot in the brain, following vaccination with the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. Up to and including 31 March 2021, the MHRA had received 79 UK reports of blood clotting cases alongside low levels of platelets following the use of the COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca.

Following a review, the MHRA - the UK's independent regulator - and the JCVI have said, the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks for the vast majority of adults.

Everybody who has already had a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine should receive a second dose of the same brand, irrespective of age, except for the very small number of people who experience blood clots with low platelet counts from their first vaccination.

The Government has also set out that, as a precaution, it is preferable for people under the age of 30 with no underlying health conditions to be offered an alternative vaccine where possible once they are eligible.

When people are called forward, they should get their jab. Vaccines are the best way out of this pandemic and provide strong protection against COVID-19.