Covid-19 Vaccination FAQs

We have reached out and asked for thoughts from our community on the Covid-19 vaccination roll out. Over 2,300 people responded to an online survey and many voluntary/community organisations have also been asked for their input.

Cllr Miles Parkinson OBE, Leader of Hyndburn Borough Council:

“Coronavirus has had a devastating impact on our local economy and affected every single person in Hyndburn. The vaccination roll out is a huge leap towards our recovery and if there is anything we can do to support our local primary care network and NHS to encourage uptake of the vaccination we will help.

Currently the covid-19 vaccine is being offered to the elderly and most vulnerable in Hyndburn, but the time will come when it is more widely available.

We ran an online survey and have consulted with Hyndburn’s community organisations, who are the boots on the ground during this difficult time. We asked what information people needed for when it is their turn to be offered the vaccination and we hope the answers in our FAQ’s will help them stay informed. We are listening, will add to these FAQ’s as time goes on and value all constructive input.”

Results of our survey*

59% Said they will get the vaccine when it is their turn

16%  Said they are unsure if they will get the vaccine

25% Said they will not get the vaccine

+ over 300 responses giving further thoughts

*2326 participants, results as of midday 18/12/20

If you would like to request a ‘frequently asked question’ about the Covid-19 vaccination to be added to the below list please email: 


Frequently asked questions about the Covid-19 Vaccination programme


Now that we have a vaccine, can we end restrictions and lockdowns? 

  • An effective vaccine will be the best way to protect the most vulnerable from coronavirus and the biggest breakthrough since the pandemic began. A huge step forward in our fight against coronavirus, potentially saving tens of thousands of lives.
  • Once vaccinations begin, we will closely monitor the impact on individuals, on NHS pressures and on the spread of the virus.
  • As large numbers of people from at risk groups are given an effective vaccine, we will be able to gather the evidence to prove the impact on infection rates, hospitalisation and reduced deaths; if successful this should in time lead to a substantial reassessment of current restrictions
  • The full impact on infection rates will not become clear until a large number of people have been vaccinated with two doses, but as larger numbers do get vaccinated, we will hopefully move further along the path back to a more normal way of life.


What are the ingredients?


Are the ingredients Halal?

  • Yes, the British Islamic Medical Association (BIMA) has confirmed the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine as Halal. In a statement BIMA says that ‘no animal products in this vaccine and no animal derived cells were used’.


Has safety been compromised due to speed of development of the vaccine?

  • There are extensive checks and balances required at every stage of the development of a vaccine, and this is no different for a Covid-19 vaccine. No stages in the vaccine development process are bypassed.
  • All vaccines are tested through three phases of clinical trials to ensure they meet the gold standard. Phase 1 trials are with a small group of people to make sure there are no safety concerns and determines the appropriate dosage for the best immune response. Phase 2 trials are conducted on a larger group of people to check the vaccine works consistently and that the immune response is sufficient. Phase 3 trials test the vaccines on thousands of people for scientists to assess if the vaccine is producing immunity that will prevent disease.
  • Usually, these phases are run in sequence, but in an effort to find a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine as quickly as possible, once safety has been ascertained through Phase 1, Phases 2 and 3 are being run in parallel.
  • The data from each phase then goes to the regulator in a “rolling” review rather than once the trials have completed, which means the regulator can start looking at the results earlier than normal.
  • Companies have made decisions to begin large scale production of vaccines which are still in trials. This means that if the vaccines are not shown to be safe and effective and are not approved for use the companies will have to destroy what they have manufactured. If, however the vaccines are successful, that means the vaccines are ready to be distributed.


How was the Covid-19 vaccine developed so fast?

  • Vaccine technology and the technological approaches to making vaccines are getting better and better and we couldn’t have done it in this timeframe if we went back to the 2009 pandemic and we had a new virus about which we knew very little. We’re in a different place today because of the technology.
  • It was very clear that it was a global public health emergency from the word go and governments were prepared to put in lots of funding to manufacturers, without any guarantee of success, but hoping that they would find a solution
  • Manufacturers knew this had to be a straight run through, they didn’t have time for investment decisions and pausing or thinking about a commercial market at the end of it. It had to happen with real urgency.
  • But the vaccine trials have been just the same as normal vaccine trials. Phase one, phase two and phase three. Where time has been saved is by recruiting participants in advance, so at the moment the study protocol is in place, the Ethics Committee is in place, so are the vaccine trial participants – which speeds up the process. And that happened at phase one, phase two and phase three and therefore things ran very fast.


How can a vaccine be developed in nine months?

  • These vaccines have been through phase 1, phase 2 and phase 3 clinical trials just like ordinary vaccines. The Pfizer vaccine clinical trial size was around 45,000 people. These are very, very big studies.
  • Time has been gained is instead of getting an investment decision then going to ethics committee then starting to recruit volunteers, all of the recruiting volunteers was done in advance so that the people were completely ready to go and the ethics committees moved very fast to approve the trials.
  • Organisations like the National Institute for Health Research made this their top priority and plans were made for the next phase by the companies without having to wait for things like investor decisions.
  • But the numbers of people in the trials were the same as you would expect for any other vaccine, and on top of that the safety assessments and the assessments of effectiveness at the end are the same – it’s the same regulators doing the same job.
  • Companies have made decisions to begin large scale production of vaccines which are still in trials. This means that if the vaccines are not shown to be safe and effective and are not authorised for use the companies will have to destroy what they have manufactured. If, however the vaccines are successful, that means the vaccines are ready to be distributed.



How are vaccines regulated and authorised for use? 

  • The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the UK’s independent regulator. Their role is to ensure medicines, devices and vaccines work effectively and are safe for use.
  • Each COVID-19 vaccine candidate is assessed on a case by case basis and will only be authorised once it has met robust standards of effectiveness, safety and quality.
  • Teams of scientists and clinicians carefully, methodically, scientifically rigorously review all data on safety, effectiveness and quality as soon as they become available, and have done so throughout all tests and trials
  • The data looked at includes all the results from laboratory studies, clinical trials, manufacturing and quality controls and testing the product. The public on that basis should be very confident that all tests are done to the very highest standards, and only then will a COVID-19 vaccine be made available



What about people who are immunocompromised who can’t benefit from a vaccine?

  • The Government is exploring all avenues available to us, to ensure that a treatment for COVID-19 is found.
  • Treatments containing COVID-19 neutralising antibodies have been secured from AstraZenaca to support immunocompromised people who will not be able to benefit from a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The antibody treatment currently being developed by AstraZeneca is a combination of two monoclonal antibodies and has the potential to be given as a preventative option for people exposed to the virus, and to treat and prevent disease progression in patients already infected by the virus if successful.


Why do the JCVI’s recommendations focus on reducing people’s individual risk and not stopping transmission?

  • The most important thing is that we protect those who are most at risk of dying. At the start of any vaccination programme, we won’t know the impact of the vaccine on transmission and so we will vaccinate those who are at highest risk of serious illness and death. This includes older people and care home residents.
  • As vaccination programmes roll out globally, our understanding of the safety and effectiveness of each vaccine will increase, and these data will be used to develop advice on the next phase of the programme.


Why is vaccination not recommended for children? 

  • Almost all children with COVID-19 have no symptoms or mild disease and the vaccines not yet been tested in younger children. The Committee advises that only children at very high risk of catching the virus and serious illness, such as older children with severe neuro-disabilities in residential care, should be offered vaccination.


Is the vaccine safe for people with pre-existing conditions?

  • The trials have involved people with chronic underlying conditions deliberately, and they have involved people from very broad age ranges and quite a lot of people in the elderly bracket. The JCVI have looked at this, there’s no indication that there should be any difficulty in giving it to people with chronic underlying conditions.
  • The JCVI has picked out, not just by age, but people 18 to 65 with at-risk conditions. And, and the reason for that is that they are at extremely high risk from coronavirus compared with the general population.


Why is vaccination not recommended for pregnant women?

  • These vaccines have not yet been tested in pregnant women and so we are taking a highly precautionary approach. Women should not be vaccinated if they may be pregnant or are planning a pregnancy within three months of the first dose.
  • Data are anticipated which will inform discussions on vaccination in pregnancy. JCVI will review these as soon as they become available.


What about if a woman becomes pregnant between her first and second dose – what happens then? 

  • Although the available data do not indicate any safety concern or harm to pregnancy, there is insufficient evidence to recommend routine use of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy. Vaccination should be postponed until completion of pregnancy. If a woman finds out she is pregnant after she has started a course of vaccine, she should complete her pregnancy before finishing the recommended schedule.


How many people have taken part in clinical trials and what about ages, ethnic backgrounds and medical conditions?

  • All of the vaccines will be tested on between 15,000 to 50,000 people across the world. They are tested on both men and women, on people from different ethnic backgrounds, and of all ages between 18-84.
  • The studies have also looked as to whether the vaccines work on people with certain medical conditions and in older people, as their immune responses can work less effectively and therefore give them less protection through vaccines. As a result of this testing on a representative sample of the population, we can be confident that an approved vaccine will be effective for the wider population in the UK.
  • There will be further studies to look at how best to use the different vaccines, for example, which vaccine is most effective in which individuals and what sized dose is most effective A number of vaccines remain in development, and these may offer benefits over the first approved vaccine/s.
  • All this ongoing research will be vitally important to ensure we get the best protection from the vaccine. Research and vaccine development will not end with the first approved vaccine – there will be a process of continuous improvement.


How many doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine will need to be administered?

  • The vaccine is given in two doses – three weeks apart – and data from clinical trials showed the vaccine is 94 percent effective in protecting people over the age of 65 from coronavirus, with trials suggesting it works equally well in people of all ages, races and ethnicities. There were also no serious safety concerns reported in the trials.Full protection should begin 7-10 days after the second injection.