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Getting vaccinated

The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine is safe and effective. It gives you the best protection against coronavirus.

How do I get vaccinated?

The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus, including those who are clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable. If you are in one of these groups, you can book your COVID-19 vaccination appointments on the NHS website.

You need to be registered with a GP surgery in England to use this service. If you don’t have a GP you can register with one via this link on the NHS website.

If you are not eligible yet, you should wait to be contacted. The NHS will let you know when it's your turn to have the vaccine. It's important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then.

The Government aims to offer all adults the first dose of the vaccine by 31 July 2021.

I’m pregnant. Can I have the vaccine?

There's no evidence the COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe if you're pregnant, but more evidence is needed before it will be routinely offered to pregnant women.

You may be able to have the vaccine if you're pregnant and at high risk of getting coronavirus because of where you work, or have a health condition that means you're at high risk of serious complications of coronavirus.

You can have the vaccine if you're breastfeeding.

I am an international student resident in Cambridge. Can I get the vaccine?

Yes. International students have access to NHS services in the UK, including vaccination. Roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine is organised via GP practices, so you should ensure that you are registered with a GP. If you don’t have a GP you can register with one via this link on the NHS website.

Universities UK publishes regular international updates on COVID-19, and you can find more information on how to access NHS services in England if you are visiting from abroad here.

Does the vaccine cause side effects?

Most side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are mild – including a sore arm at the injection site, headache, tiredness or feeling achy – and should not last longer than a week.

If I develop a fever after the vaccine, should I get a COVID test?

You cannot catch COVID-19 from the vaccine but it is possible to have caught COVID-19 and not realise you have the symptoms until after your vaccination appointment.

The most important symptoms of COVID-19 are recent onset of any of the following:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

Although a mild fever can occur within a day or two of vaccination, if you have any other COVID-19 symptoms or your fever lasts longer, stay at home and arrange to have a test.

How effective is the vaccine?

The first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine should give you good protection from coronavirus, but you need to have two doses of the vaccine to get longer-lasting protection.

There is a chance you might still get or spread coronavirus even if you have the vaccine, so you should still follow social distancing guidance and wear a face covering at ALL times in ALL indoor work or study settings.

Can I have the vaccine if I’ve previously tested positive for COVID-19?

Yes, but you should wait for at least 28 days from a positive test before getting vaccinated.

Will vaccination increase the risk of a false positive result if I take an asymptomatic COVID test?


I am clinically vulnerable and have been vaccinated. Can I return to the office?

Not yet. You should continue with full COVID safe recommendations, including shielding where required. At the moment, offices cannot be guaranteed COVID safe because the vaccines are not 100% effective, and we don’t yet know if the vaccines stop you from passing the virus onto others.

As the vaccine programme is rolled out and the infection rate falls to significantly lower levels, it is expected that COVID safety rules can be gradually relaxed. The University will update its guidance in line with announcements from Public Health England and the Government.

When students are vaccinated, will the rules on social distancing, face coverings and ventilation change?

At the moment, vaccination does not allow for relaxation of any COVID safe practices. This is because no vaccine is 100% effective, and we don’t yet know if the vaccines stop you from passing the virus on to others.

In-person activities need to meet current COVID safe rules on social distancing, ventilation and face coverings.