The NHS is responsible for the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines and will be in touch with you when it’s your turn to be vaccinated.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine is safe and effective. It gives you the best protection against coronavirus.
The COVID-19 vaccination will reduce the chance of you suffering from COVID-19 disease. It may take a few weeks for your body to build up protection from the vaccine. The vaccine has been shown to be effective and no safety concerns were seen in studies of more than 20,000 people.
The vaccine will be provided free to all UK residents. You will not be charged and can only get it through the NHS. Please do not agree to any vaccination where you will be charged. These are not genuine vaccinations and could cause harm.
The NHS will never ask for your bank details, or just turn up on your doorstep offering the vaccine. These are fraudulent activities.
Who is eligible for the vaccine?
The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine those at highest risk of catching the infection and of suffering serious complications if they catch the infection. High priority groups were invited to get vaccinated first and now the NHS is extending this to everyone over 38.
Who can get the vaccination?
- you're aged 38 or over, or you'll turn 38 before 1 July 2021
- frontline health and social care workers
- care home residents and staff
- those with certain clinical conditions
- people with a learning disability
- unpaid carers
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the government on which vaccine/s the UK should use and provide advice on who should be offered the vaccination first.
This will require patience; this is the biggest vaccination programme that the NHS has ever undertaken. It will take months to get to everybody.
Where can I get vaccinated?
If you are eligible for the vaccination, you may be invited by your GP to make an appointment at their vaccination centre.
Alternatively, you can book through the national booking service which can be accessed at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination.
The system allows you to choose a time slot and location that suits you.
Vaccinations centres in Central Bedfordshire are in the following sites:
- Rufus Centre, Steppingley Road, Flitwick, MK45 1AH
- Weatherly Centre, Eagle Farm Road, Biggleswade, SG18 8JH
- Priory House, Monks Walk, Shefford, SG17 5TQ
- Watling House, Dunstable, LU6 1LF
- Biggleswade Hospital, Potton Road, Biggleswade, SG18 0EL
There are also centres in Bedford and Luton that can be booked if these are closer to you.
Please note, when you try to book an appointment, only those centres with available appointments will show. If a centre is fully booked it will not show. If you want to wait to book a specific centre, you can do this, but you will need to keep checking online to see when appointments become available.
Anyone unable to book online can call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week.
Please note that the vaccination centres at the council offices in Chicksands near Shefford (Priory House) and Watling House in Dunstable are being run by the NHS, not the council. If you have queries about your appointment please contact the patient helpline on 0300 7900 267.
When it is time for your appointment, please don’t turn up early. We need to keep everyone safe by socially distancing in waiting areas, so they are limited to the numbers they can hold.
Please remember to take your booking number with you when attending a vaccination appointment. Those who arrive at the centres without their booking number will be turned away.
If you have queries about your appointment, please contact the patient helpline on 0300 7900 267.
The same vaccine should be used for both doses. Take your ID and the card you were given when you received your first vaccine to your second appointment. This details which vaccine you received so that vaccinators can be sure you are receiving the correct second dose.
The first dose of both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine offer good levels of protection, but to get maximum protection from COVID-19, everyone will need to get a second dose.
People who received their first dose in a hospital hub or through a GP service will be contacted to receive their second dose, if they haven’t already. You do not need to contact the NHS.
People who booked their appointments through the national booking service or by ringing 119 will have booked both their first and second appointments at the same time.
People who rang 119 will have been given details of their second appointment over the phone.
People who booked online can remind themselves of the place and time of their second dose using the ‘manage my appointments’ section on the NHS coronavirus vaccination website.
If you need more information, please visit the Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group website.
If you can’t find your answers there, you can call the Patient Enquiry Helpline on 0300 7900 267.
Please note this helpline cannot be used to discuss personal patient information or to book a vaccination appointment.
You can use the Journey planning website to plan you journey by public transport - the journey planner is up to date with changes to routes and timetables.
Where possible, local public bus services that pass vaccination centres will be diverted to either enter the site or stop very close by where this facility does not currently exist.
Local transport businesses and volunteers have offered to take those who have no access to a transport or someone to help them to the centres.
Dial-a-ride operators have confirmed they will offer free transport to the local vaccination centres in their areas. South Beds Dial-a-Ride & BRCC can offer trips to the Stevenage centre (charges apply).
Please note, the number of vehicles available are limited, so booking for transport will be based on a first come first served basis and at the discretion of the operators. Dial-a-ride operators (South Beds Dial-a-Ride & BRCC) can offer transport to vaccinations at weekends if required.
To book a Dial-a-ride for a vaccination appointment, please follow the instructions on our website.
Leighton Buzzard Voluntary Patient Transport
The Leighton Buzzard Voluntary Patient Transport (LBVPT) provides transport for the elderly and vulnerable to and from local hospitals and vaccination centres.
The service is available to those who do not qualify for NHS non-emergency transport or are unable to go to hospital appointments by any other means.
LBVPT asks for a donation to cover the cost of providing the service.
Further information on using this service can be found on their website Leighton Buzzard Voluntary Patient Transport (LBVPT or by sending an Email to email@example.com.
Telephone: 07873 497633 - 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday
We have a network of volunteer-led groups and local Good Neighbour Schemes with volunteer drivers who can assist vulnerable residents to attend their vaccination appointment if they don’t drive, or have family close-by, or a support bubble that can’t help them or they cannot afford a taxi. Find out more about good neighbour schemes in Bedfordshire.
Mutual Aid groups can also help but please note that the types of support available from each group may be slightly different. Visit the CVS website to find a list of groups in your area.
Good Neighbour Groups and Mutual Aid groups can also assist vulnerable residents with shopping, collecting medication and checking you are ok.
Guidance when sharing a car
Car sharing is not permitted with someone from outside your household or your support bubble unless your journey is undertaken for an exempt reason. An exempt reason includes getting to medical appointments and also getting your vaccination.
It is difficult to socially distance during car journeys. Where it is essential to car share, you can reduce the risk of transmission by:
- sharing the transport with the same people each time
- minimising the group size at any one time
- opening windows for ventilation
- travelling side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them, where seating arrangements allow
- facing away from each other
- considering seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicle
- cleaning your car between journeys using standard cleaning products – make sure you clean door handles and other areas that people may touch
- asking the driver and passengers to wear a face covering