Covid vaccine rules: Do you need to maintain social distancing after jab?

Olivia Petter
·3 min read
 (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

More than 15 million people in the UK have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and over 500,000 have had both doses, as the largest vaccination programme in British history gets underway.

Currently, the target is to vaccinate every person in the top four priority groups by the middle of February and every adult by September.

“This is the biggest medical deployment in British history and it’s one of the biggest civilian operations that this country’s ever undertaken,” said health secretary Matt Hancock during a Downing Street press conference.

"We’re on track to deliver our plan to vaccinate the most vulnerable groups by the middle of February, the groups that account for 88 per cent of Covid deaths.

"Our approach is, of course, to save as many lives as possible – as quickly as possible and to reduce the pressure on the NHS."

But what should you do once you’ve been vaccinated? And why have vaccinated Britons been told not to hug family members once they’ve had the jab? Here’s everything you need to know.

What should you expect after being vaccinated?

Like all vaccines, there is a possibility of experiencing side effects after receiving the coronavirus jab. However, the government website states that they are likely to be mild and short-term.

Some common side effects include having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection, feeling tired, headaches, and general aches or mild flu-like symptoms.

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While these symptoms should not last long, you can phone NHS 111 if you are concerned. Be sure to tell them about your vaccination.

Can you return to normal activities after being vaccinated?

The government website states that you should be able to resume your normal activities after being vaccinated, so long as you feel well.

However, if you are experiencing pain in the arm where you received the jab, you are advised to refrain from doing any heavy lifting.

Why do you need to maintain social distancing after being vaccinated?

Scientists have warned those that have been vaccinated should not hug their relatives and those outside of their household even after receiving the jab.

Janet Lord, director of Birmingham University’s Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “I would certainly advise not to do [hug family members] at the moment because as you probably know with the vaccines they take several weeks before they are maximally effective.

“It’s really important that people stay on their guard even if they’ve had that first vaccination."

This echos guidance published on the government’s website, which urges those that have been vaccinated to maintain social distancing, wear a face mask when necessary and continue to abide by the guidance in your local area.

This is because, although a full course of the vaccine will reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill from Covid-19, it is not yet known whether being vaccinated will stop you from catching and passing on the virus to others, though the government website states it “does expect it to reduce this risk”.

How can I book my second dose of the coronavirus vaccine?

After receiving your first dose of the vaccine, you are advised to plan to attend your second appointment to receive the second and final dose.

“You should have a record card and your next appointment should be between 3 and 12 weeks later,” the government website states.

“It is important to have both doses of the same vaccine to give you the best protection.”

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