Flu and COVID-19 vaccinations

Eligible staff (frontline or meeting other criteria) will be offered the flu and COVID-19 vaccine from October to December.

You can now book your flu and COVID-19 vaccine appointment on the Simply Book site

All Mersey Care staff are invited to attend one of our vaccination clinics for their annual flu and COVID-19 jab. You can search all available dates and locations using Simply Book which will be updated regularly.

Read the latest advice (8 August 2023) from JCVI on Autumn boosters here.

Useful information

There’s some good advice for BAME communities from a resident and senior leaders in the Cheshire and Merseyside Partnership.

You can find more information about the position of BIMA on their website.

Actor Adil Ray, OBE and others from the BAME community have come together to share an important message about the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Public Assessment Report contains all the scientific information about the trial and information on trial participants. You can read it in full here or read a summary of the report here

Sir Lenny Henry urges black Britons to get the COVID-19 vaccine

Miss Toli Onon talks about the COVID-19 vaccine and fertility - YouTube


The latest guidance for people receiving botox injections and cosmetic dermal fillers can be found on YourSpace.

Everyone working in care homes to be fully vaccinated under new law to protect residents - GOV.UK

New legislation means from October 2021 anyone working in a CQC registered care home in England, for residents requiring nursing or personal care must have two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine unless they have a medical exemption. It will apply to all workers employed directly by the care home or care home provider (on a full or part time basis), those employed by an agency and deployed by the care home, and volunteers deployed in the care home.

Those coming into care homes to do other work, for example healthcare workers, tradespeople, hairdressers, beauticians and CQC inspectors will also have to follow the new regulations, unless they have a medical exemption.

For those staff yet to have a vaccine visit: https://merseycarenhsfoundationtrust.nhsbookings.com/v2/ If you have any questions or concerns, please speak to your line manager who will be happy to help.

If you have a question or an issue with your second appointment, please email: vaccinations@merseycare.nhs.uk.

Why is it so important that I receive both vaccines this year?

Flu vaccination is especially important this year as more people are likely to get flu this winter. This is because less people will have built up immunity against the virus this year due to measures put in place for COVID-19 (mask-wearing, physical and safe distancing, restrictions on international travel).

This is also the first year that flu will co-circulate alongside COVID-19. Research has shown that if you catch both viruses at the same time you are at increased risk of getting seriously ill. The best way to avoid catching and spreading flu is by having the vaccination before the flu season starts.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has reviewed available data and provided the advice that COVID-19 boosters are first offered to the most vulnerable to provide maximum protection during the winter months. This includes frontline health and social care workers. It is vital that you maintain protection against severe illness from COVID-19, specifically hospitalisation and deaths during winter. The aim is to protect those who are most vulnerable and to protect the NHS.

How effective is the flu vaccine?

The flu vaccine will help prevent you getting flu and is your best protection against the virus. It will not stop all flu viruses but if you do get flu after vaccination, it’s likely to be milder and shorter-lived than it would otherwise have been. It takes between 10 and 14 days for your immune system to respond fully after you’ve had the flu jab.

How effective is the COVID-19 vaccine?

The vaccination programme has already substantially reduced the risk from severe COVID-19 in the UK population.

Can I still catch COVID-19 after having the vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccination will reduce the chance of you suffering from COVID-19 disease. It may take a few days for your body to build up some protection from the booster. Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective – some people may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, but this should be less severe.

Can I have my flu vaccine and COVID-19 booster in the same appointment?

Yes, as a healthcare worker you are eligible to receive both vaccines and therefore may be offered both jabs in the same appointment. However, it is important that you do not delay receiving either vaccine if you’re unable to get them at the same time. It is vital that you are fully protected as soon as possible.

Is the NHS confident the vaccines are safe?

Yes. The NHS would not offer any vaccinations to the public until it is safe to do so. The MHRA, the official UK regulator authorising licensed use of medicines and vaccines by healthcare professionals, has said these vaccines are safe and highly effective, and we have full confidence in their expert judgement and processes.

As with any medicine, vaccines are highly regulated products. There are checks at every stage in the development and manufacturing process, and continued monitoring once it has been authorised and is being used in the wider population.

Will there be any side effects from the booster vaccine?

As with your previous dose the common side effects are the same for all COVID-19 vaccines used in the UK, and include:

  • having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection. This tends to be worst around one to two days after the vaccine
  • feeling tired
  • headache
  • general aches, or mild flu like symptoms.

You can rest and take paracetamol (follow the dose advice in the packaging) to help make you feel better. Although feeling feverish is not uncommon for two to three days, a high temperature is unusual and may indicate you have COVID-19 or another infection.

Although a 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. Symptoms following vaccination normally last less than a week. If your symptoms seem to get worse or if you are concerned, you can call NHS 111.

If you had serious side effects after any previous dose you may be advised to avoid or delay further vaccination. You should discuss this with your doctor or specialist.

Will I get any side effects from the flu vaccine?

The most common side effects from the flu vaccine can be a slight temperature or your arm may feel a little sore where you had the injection. Other side effects are rare.

I’ve only just had my first or second COVID-19 vaccine, can I have a booster jab?

No, the JCVI advises that the booster vaccine should be offered no earlier than 91 days after completion of the primary vaccine course.

What type of vaccine will the COVID-19 booster be? What if it’s different to the one I have had?

After reviewing data on booster responses from different combinations of COVID-19 vaccines, JCVI advises a preference for the Pfizer-BioNTech (vaccine to be offered as the booster dose irrespective of which type of vaccine was used in the primary schedule). There is good evidence that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is well tolerated as a booster dose and will provide a strong booster response.

Alternatively, individuals may be offered a half dose of the Moderna vaccine, which should be well tolerated and is also likely to provide a strong booster response. A half dose of Moderna vaccine is advised over a full dose due to the levels of reactogenicity (side effects) seen following boosting with a full dose in clinical trials.

Where mRNA vaccines cannot be offered, for example, due to contraindication, vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine may be considered for those who received AstraZeneca vaccine in the primary course. More detail is available in the green book.

Can I have the booster if I haven’t completed the first vaccination course?

No, you need to finish the first course of your vaccination.

I haven’t yet had the COVID-19 vaccination, can I still get my first jabs?

Everyone that is eligible that hasn’t already had their first or second COVID-19 vaccination is still able to get vaccinated.

How do I get my COVID-19 booster?

Your employer will provide more information on how to get your flu vaccine and COVID-19 booster.

Can I have the flu vaccine if I’m pregnant?

Yes, all pregnant women are recommended to receive the flu vaccine. There is evidence that suggests pregnant women are at increased risk from complications if they contract flu, the flu vaccine is the best protection against this.

Can I have the COVID-19 booster if I’m pregnant?

Yes. If you are pregnant and in one of the groups that the JCVI has recommended for the boosters, you are eligible to receive a booster, no earlier than 91 days after completion of the first course of vaccination.

I had the flu vaccination last year. Do I need to have it again?

Yes. The viruses that cause flu can change every year, which means flu (and the vaccine) this year may be different from last year.

Do I still need to get my flu jab if I’ve had both of my COVID-19 vaccines?

Yes, the COVID-19 vaccine does not protect you from the flu, and vice versa. If you are eligible for both vaccines you should have them both.

I’ve recently had COVID-19, can I still have my flu vaccine?

If you’ve had COVID-19, it’s still safe to have the flu vaccine. It will still be effective at helping to prevent flu.

Information for vaccination hesitant colleagues

Within the Trust we have: supportive conversations with managers, access to our specific email address for questions: Mandatoryvaccinations@merseycare.nhs.uk, access to our staff support services including psychological therapies and two specific question and answer sessions.

Information for vaccine hesitant colleagues

The Trust is finalising the policy regarding mandatory vaccinations and consistencyacross divisions. Within the Trust we have:

In addition to the support offered by Mersey Care, colleagues at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (LUHFT) have established a dedicated referral route for all local NHS colleagues with unanswered clinical questions. This document should be used for individuals to refer in confidence by sending the completed form for first triage to: LUH.VACCINEHUB@liverpoolft.nhs.uk. On receipt, a team of vaccinators led by occupational health will conduct a first phone consultation with the individual where the team will offer advice and support and as clinically indicated, will be able to advise as to vaccine suitability. 

If in the event the employee is deemed unsuitable for vaccination, the vaccination team will signpost them to the mechanism by which they should apply for a medical exemption with the support of their GP. This is a short-term intervention aimed at supporting staff with their decision-making process. 

Also, NHS England and NHS Improvement have provided daily drop-in vaccine confidence Q&A sessions from through to 3 February 2022. These sessions are for all staff to attend and will offer an opportunity to ask specific questions you might have regarding COVID-19 vaccines.

Each of the drops-in sessions will be tailored towards a specific audience and hosted by a relevant clinical professional who will answer questions and signpost you to any additional information. These sessions will provide a safe and supportive environment and dates and themes are:

  • Saturday, 29 January: 7pm to 8pm - Vaccines and Your Faith
  • Sunday, 30 January: 7pm to 8pm - Vaccines and Your Faith
  • Monday, 31 January: 12 noon to 1pm - Vaccines for Nursing and Midwifery Staff
  • Tuesday, 1 February: 1pm to 2pm - Vaccines and Fertility
  • Wednesday, 2 February: 12 noon to 1pm - Vaccines for Healthcare Students
  • Thursday, 3 February: 4pm to 5pm - Vaccines and the Science.

To register, go to: https://www.events.england.nhs.uk/events/staff-vaccination-daily-q-and-a

Please find helpful links with further information:

Blood clots

The MHRA statement.

The  AstraZeneca statement 


Please find resources below that may be helpful:

Breastfeeding, fertility and pregnancy:

  • Advice for pregnant women, women trying to become pregnant and those who are breast feeding can be found on the GOV.UK website here
  • If you are concerned about the impact of the vaccine on fertility, please click here to see the latest advice from the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
  • For advice to people currently undergoing or considering fertility treatment please see advice from Liverpool Women’s Hospital, Hewitt Fertility Centre here
  • Two experts from Liverpool Women’s Hospital have put the following short video together to provide some reassurance on issues relating to fertility and pregnancy. You can hear from Alice Bird, Consultant Obstetrician and Andrew Drakeley, Consultant Gynaecologist and Clinical Director for the Hewitt Fertility Centre in a three minute video here.


Dr Alice Bird, consultant obstetrician at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, talks about the COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy in this short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1G9wTksLu8U

If you’re not eligible to be vaccinated at our clinic, please call 119 or go online to register for your vaccine appointment. You can also attend walk in, mobile or pop up vaccination clinics in your area. For more information about the COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy, please read here.

Suspected adverse drug reactions and how to report them

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) request that all suspected side effects to COVID-19 vaccines are reported via the dedicated coronavirus Yellow Card site

Suspected side effects should be reported using one of the following routes:

Your GP must be informed of any adverse reaction to a vaccine so it can be recorded in your medical records. Similarly, if reporting sickness absence due to side effects, please let your line manager know.

What to report - all suspected vaccine induced side effects, even minor effects (sore arm, headache, feeling unwell). The vaccines are new and it is especially important that they are monitored closely and any suspected incidents are quickly reported.

When to report - at any point following administration of the vaccine. This can be immediately after the vaccine is administered or at any time in the following days or weeks. There is no time limit. Side effects can be reported after the first dose, after the second dose or after both doses if necessary.

When reporting side effects to vaccines or medicines, patients and healthcare professionals are encouraged to provide as much information as possible, the MHRA states that the following information should be provided:

  • Information on the person who has experienced the side effect (essential)
  • The name of the vaccine suspected to have caused the side effect (essential). Include the vaccine brand and batch/lot number if available
  • A description of the side effect (essential)
  • Any other medicines being taken around the same time, including non-prescription and herbal remedies (if available, if not please do not let this prevent you submitting a report)
  • Any other health condition that the person who experienced the side effect may have (if available, if not please do not let this prevent you submitting a report).

For further information in relation to this, please contact: Debbie.bowden@merseycare.nhs.uk

Vegan/vegetarian friendly?

There is no material of foetal or animal origin, including eggs, in either vaccine. All ingredients are published in healthcare information on the MHRA’s website. For the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine information is available here:



If you’re still not convinced, hear from Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam.

Please find a link to information on the COVID-19 vaccine in easy read for sharing.

General resources for specific groups:

1. A Facebook post shared thousands of times has claimed that “the new vaccine for COVID-19... will literally alter your DNA. It will wrap itself into your system. You will essentially become a genetically modified human being".

mRNA vaccines work by introducing a molecule into the body which instructs cells to build a disease-specific antigen. The antigen is then recognised by the immune system which produces antibodies to fight the real thing. It doesn’t change the body’s DNA or “wrap itself into your system”. mRNA vaccines are generally viewed positively as they are cheap, and don’t involve using part of a virus, like some traditional vaccines.

2. Facebook posts have claimed that Government is planning to change the law to allow untested and unlicensed vaccines to be given to the public - which is untrue. Any vaccine given to the public has to go through several stages of testing. Tom Phillips, Editor of FullFact, said: "Vaccines are some of the most scrutinised forms of medical interventions. The data says that they are safe and effective. They have side effects, but all medicines have side effects and the benefit of using them far outweighs the small risks that there are."

3. A Facebook post claiming to show how a “mandatory coronavirus vaccine” would be enforced has been shared hundreds of times. As it stands, no vaccines are mandatory in the UK. It will be up to Government ministers to decide if a COVID-19 vaccine would become a legal requirement. Health Secretary Matt Hancock previously said that he would like and encourage people to get a vaccine when it is available but has not said he would make it mandatory for everyone.

4. False news reports have been circulating online claiming that Dr Elisa Granato, one of the first participants in the UK's human trials of a possible vaccine for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, has died shortly after being injected with the vaccine. But Dr Granato is not dead and the reports are fake. She took to Twitter in a bid to stop the misinformation from being shared.

5. Claims of any effect of COVID-19 vaccination on fertility are speculative and not supported by any data. Dr Edward Morris, President at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “We want to reassure women that there is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines will affect fertility …There is no biologically plausible mechanism by which current vaccines would cause any impact on women’s fertility. Evidence has not been presented that women who have been vaccinated have gone on to have fertility problems.” Follow the link for more.

Scam messages

Lots of people are getting in touch with screenshots of a new scam emails around vaccines. Anything that asks for bank details is a scam. Do not click these links. Please forward the email to: report@phishing.gov.uk

Executive Director of Nursing Trish Bennett has recorded a message to all staff about the importance of protecting our patients as infection rates rise.

Mersey Care's Vaccination Team encourage you to get both the Flu and COVID-19 vaccination.