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 20 April 2021 at 10.55am. 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 2020, the UK medicines regulator approved a second vaccine. The Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine 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, which is 94% effective, on 8 January 2021.
Am I currently eligible for the vaccine?
The UK government is aiming for people in the top 9 priority groups to have been offered their first vaccine by the end of April. Everyone aged over 18 will be offered a vaccine by the end of July.
There are different vaccination timetables in depending on where you live. Find more about the roll out where you live:
Between 3 and 12 weeks after your first vaccine, you'll be invited for your second dose. It is important that you have this vaccine to boost your protection against coronavirus. You will have 2 doses of the same vaccine.
If you’re eligible for the vaccine and live in England, the easiest way to arrange a vaccination is through the national booking service at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination. Or you can call 119 or contact your GP.
I'm a carer for someone with Parkinson's. When will I get my vaccine?
Carers are eligible for the vaccination now, regardless of your age.
Unpaid carers are defined as people who:
- receive Carer’s Allowance
- have a ‘carer flag’ on their GP record
- are known to local authorities through a carer’s assessment
- are known to local carer organisations
- have self-identified to their local authority.
If you are a carer for someone with Parkinson’s, and you haven’t yet been invited for a vaccine, there are ways you can register as a carer.
In England, the NHS advises that you speak to your GP surgery if you think that you should be eligible for a vaccine as a carer. They may be able to update your record.
In Wales, all unregistered, unpaid carers who are caring for someone who is at increased risk are being invited to complete an online self-referral form to receive the vaccine. This applies to anyone who is the sole or primary carer of someone who is clinically vulnerable. Each local health board in Wales is making the online form available on its website. Find out more about getting a vaccine as an unpaid carer in Wales.
In Scotland, anyone aged 16 to 64 who’s providing regular face-to-face care to a family member or friend at increased risk is eligible. If this applies to you and you haven't been invited for vaccination, please register online at www.nhsinform.scot/carersregister. Or call 0800 030 801 to register over the phone.
How will I get the vaccine?
The NHS will invite you for a vaccination when it is your turn. 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. There have been reports of scams asking you to book your vaccine or pay for the vaccine, claiming to be from the NHS. Scams can be via text message, letter, phone call, email or door-to-door.
NHS text alerts for the vaccine
From 9 March, the NHS is running a text alert service inviting people in England to book their vaccine. The message will include a web link for those eligible to click and reserve an appointment at either a vaccination centre or pharmacy.
The text message will be sent from the government's secure Notify service and will show as being sent from "NHSvaccine". The NHS will never ask you for payment or bank details.
For more information, visit the NHS website.
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.
So far, millions of people have been given a coronavirus vaccine. Reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions or clotting problems, have been very rare.
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.
Getting my coronavirus vaccination: Hamish's story
Hamish, 78, lives in Inverness in Scotland and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2016. He received his first dose of the coronavirus vaccination in February 2021 and said:
"From start to finish, it was a job very well done and since having the jab, I’ve had no side effects - other than relief."