Coronavirus vaccine and Parkinson's

When you can expect to get the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, and how safe it is for people with Parkinson's.

This page was originally published on 3 December 2020. It was updated on 26 January 2021 at 9.10am. This advice is updated as new information becomes available.

On 2 December 2020 the UK became the first country in the world to approve a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine offers up to 95% protection against coronavirus.

On 30 December, the UK medicines regulator approved a second vaccine. The Oxford University/AstraZeneca offers 62% to 90% protection against coronavirus, and was shown to prevent serious illness in all volunteers taking part in the clinical trial.

The UK approved the Moderna vaccine on 8 January 2021. It's 94% effective and is expected to be rolled out in the spring.

Who is getting the vaccine first?

The roll out of the vaccination for those in the highest priority groups began in December 2020. 

Your age, underlying health conditions, and any caring responsibilities will determine your priority level.

The Joint Committee for Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) sets out the following priority levels for people to get the vaccine based on clinical need:

  1. Older adults resident in a care home, and care home workers.
  2. All those 80 years of age and over, and health and social care workers.
  3. All those 75 years of age and over.
  4. All those 70 years of age and over, and those who are considered clinically extremely vulnerable
  5. All those 65 years of age and over.
  6. High-risk adults under 65 years of age, including people with Parkinson's and their carers.
  7. All those 60 years of age and over.
  8. All those 55 years of age and over.
  9. All those 50 years of age and over.

If you're the main carer for someone with Parkinson's but don't receive a carer's allowance, make sure to let your GP know so that you don't miss out on your vaccine.

How will I get the vaccine?

The NHS will invite you for a vaccination when it is your turn, probably by letter.

You might get the vaccine:

  • In your local hospital
  • At a nearby vaccination hub 
  • Via your GP or pharmacist
  • At your care home

The injection is not compulsory.

Be alert to fraud. A text message with a link to book your vaccine online has been circulating, claiming to be from the NHS. Similarly, there have been reports of phone calls asking people to pay for the vaccine over the phone. There is no charge for the vaccine and the NHS will not ask you to share any financial details.

Is the vaccine safe?

The UK has some of the highest safety standards in the world. All 3 vaccines meet the strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the UK’s medicines regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The MHRA has considered these license applications as quickly as possible without cutting corners, because a vaccine to protect people against coronavirus is a priority.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is the fastest ever to go from concept to reality. This is partly because companies shared trial data with the MHRA throughout development, which shortened the assessment process.

Is the vaccine safe for people with Parkinson's?

Our Clinical Director, Dr Donald Grosset, advises:

"The vaccine is safe for people with Parkinson's. There is no interaction with Parkinson's medication. Parkinson's is specifically included as one of the conditions that is in a 'clinical risk group' and every adult with Parkinson's should get the vaccine."

If you've had the vaccine

Continue to practice social distancing, wear a mask, and wash your hands frequently. The vaccine reduces your risk of becoming seriously ill with coronavirus, but it isn’t 100% effective and it may still be possible for you to pass on the virus to others. It’s important to continue following government guidance and restrictions for your area.

If you've had the coronavirus vaccine and are experiencing side effects, please report it on the government's Yellow Card website.

Understanding coronavirus and Parkinson's

Our priority is supporting people living with Parkinson's. That's why we’ve gathered the facts and guidance to help answer some of your most common questions about coronavirus and Parkinson's.