There are very few people who should not get the coronavirus vaccine.
You should not get the coronavirus vaccine if you've had a confirmed anaphylactic reaction to:
- any of the ingredients in the vaccine
- a previous dose of the vaccine
The coronavirus vaccine is suitable for people with disorders of the immune system.
Adults and young people with underlying health conditions
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended that the vaccine was offered first to those at highest risk of getting coronavirus and of suffering serious complications if they get coronavirus. This group is now eligible for a booster vaccine following their first 2 doses.
Health conditions that put people aged 16 years and over at higher risk include:
Children aged 5 to 15 with underlying health conditions
The JCVI has recommended children and young people aged 5 to 15 years old with specific underlying health conditions that put them at risk of serious coronavirus, are offered 2 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
Children and young people at increased risk from coronavirus, who have recently tested positive for coronavirus, should ideally wait 4 weeks after the date they tested positive to get the vaccine (first or second dose).
Health conditions that put young people aged 5 to 15 years old at highest risk include:
Adults and children with a weakened immune system
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommended that people aged 5 years and over with a severely weakened immune system should be offered a third primary dose of the vaccine.
This includes those who had or have:
- blood cancers (such as leukaemia or lymphoma)
- lowered immunity due to treatment (such as steroid medication, biological therapy, chemotherapy or radiotherapy)
- lowered immunity due to inherited disorders of the immune system
- an organ or bone marrow transplant
- diseases that affect the immune system such as poorly controlled HIV
Further information about the third primary dose
If you're taking medication
You’ll be asked some questions at your vaccination appointment to make sure that there are no reasons for you not to have the vaccine.
You'll also have an opportunity to ask any questions or discuss concerns you may have.
People with bleeding disorders or taking medication to thin their blood or reduce bleeding
People taking medication to thin the blood, such as warfarin, can safely receive the coronavirus vaccine as long as their treatment is stable.
You should let the person giving you the vaccine know what medication you are on.
Stable means you will have been taking the same dose for a while and if you are on warfarin, your:
- INR checks are up to date
- your latest INR level was in the right range
People with bleeding disorders should consult their specialist or their individual care plan for advice on vaccination.
Cancer treatment and the vaccine
It is recommended that all patients with cancer, including all those receiving systemic anti-cancer therapy (which includes cytotoxics, immunotherapy and targeted therapies), radiotherapy or steroids, should consider getting the coronavirus vaccine.
The JCVI consider the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna coronavirus vaccines to be safe for patients with suppressed immune systems.
Immunosuppression may however reduce the effectiveness of vaccines.
Patients should not assume they are immune after receiving the vaccine, and strictly adhere to measures to reduce exposure to the virus.
This same advice is given to everyone receiving the vaccine.
If you’re about to receive planned immunosuppressive therapy, your doctor may advise you to get the vaccine before starting therapy (ideally at least two weeks before), when your immune system is able to respond better.
Where possible, it's preferable for your vaccine doses to be given before starting treatment. To provide maximum benefit, it's recommended that your second dose is given either 3 or 4 weeks after the first dose. But this will depend on the vaccine given. If you're eligible for a third primary dose, your specialist doctor will advise on the timing.