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COVID-19 vaccine: FAQs for Black, Asian and minority ethnic community members

A woman with black afro hair, wearing a white shirt, looks thought. She is surrounded by illustrated question marks.

On this page you will find answers to lots of BAME community members' most frequently asked COVID-19 questions. Click the links below to jump to each query.


The British Islamic Medical Association is continuing to respond to myths circulating around the COVID-19 vaccine.

Doctors and medical specialists from across south Wales have posted videos explaining the truth behind the rumours on the association's website.

So far, they have looked at things such as the safety and side effects of the vaccines, what the vaccines contain/were made with, whether the vaccines are halal and more.

Go to the British Islamic Medical Association website to find out more.

Follow this link to return to the full list of frequently asked questions.


The COVID-19 vaccine is an important and positive step in our long-term response to the global pandemic.

By taking up both doses of the vaccine when you are offered, it will help protect you, your family and community from the effects of the virus.

Since people around the world have started receiving COVID-19 vaccines, their effectiveness in reducing illness and hospitalisation has been proven.

The pages linked below give more advice on why you should have your COVID-19 vaccination.

Follow this link to read about Public Health England data which shows that the Pfizer and Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines are highly effective in reducing severe COVID-19 in older adults.

Go to this page to read more Public Health England research which shows the effectiveness of the vaccines in use across the UK.

Follow this link to the Public Health Wales webpage for more information on why vaccines are important for everyone, even if you have had COVID-19 or tested positive for antibodies.

Follow this link to return to the full list of frequently asked questions.


Everyone over 16 years old will be offered a COVID-19 vaccine in the UK.

People are being prioritised according to age and underlying health conditions which make them more at risk of suffering severely from COVID-19.

At present there are no plans to vaccinate anyone under 16 years old because the risk of children being badly affected by COVID-19, if they catch it, is lower than adults.

Follow this link to find out more about the priority groups, and when you are likely to get your vaccine.

Follow this link to return to the full list of frequently asked questions.


Evidence from the first and second wave in the UK has shown that people in certain Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups are at higher risk of hospitalisation from COVID-19.

Follow this link to read UK Government research on BAME groups and COVID-19.

But, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has found that there is no strong evidence that ethnicity by itself (or genetic characteristics) is the sole explanation for differences in rates of severe illness and deaths.

At Swansea Bay University Health Board, we follow the guidance set out by the JCVI and Welsh Government when it comes to how we roll out our vaccine programme. This means that we are committed to following the priority group strategy which focuses on age and underlying health conditions.

Follow this link for more information on the JCVI priority groups.

This may mean that you have already received your vaccine, or are a member of a priority group based on other health factors or your age.

Please remember that everyone in the UK over the age of 16 will be offered a vaccine. The current plan in Wales is to offer all adults a first dose by July 31 – although this does depend on things like supply.

Go to this page for further information on how the vaccine programme is being rolled out across Swansea Bay.

Follow this link to return to the full list of frequently asked questions.


For a vaccine to reach the general public it has to work and be safe.

There may be a misconception that vaccine research takes a long time but it isn’t the research that takes the time – it’s all the steps beforehand, like getting funding and approval. What has sped up the development of a COVID-19 vaccine is the funding. The UK Government funded trials to get them up and running quickly. 

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and Medicines Research Authority also sped up the process of approval – things like administrative paperwork that used to take months is now being done in days. This brought down the time for delivery of the clinical trials. 

Processes have also been streamlined and run in parallel. The length of the trials themselves have not been shortened, and the usual safety measures remain in place and high standards must still be met. 

It has also been enabled by new technology, including the ability to rapidly manufacture vaccines. And supply – production of the vaccines were started in advance so that as soon as each COVID-19 vaccine is known to be safe and effective it can be made available.

Go to this page on the Public Health Wales website for detailed information on the COVID-19 vaccine, safety, eligibility and delivery.

Further information on the COVID-19 vaccines' approval by the MHRA

To find out more about the vaccines' approval in the UK by the MHRA, use these links to the gov.uk website:

Follow this link to return to the full list of frequently asked questions.


Depending on vaccine supply, we’re following the Welsh Government plan to offer a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to everyone in Swansea Bay by 31 July 2021.

We are continually updating our plans as we work through the priority groups set out by the JCVI.

Go to our COVID-19 vaccination programme page for the latest updates on when different groups are being called for their first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

Follow this link to return to the full list of frequently asked questions.


At the time of writing (February 2021), three COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency for use in the UK. These are the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and the Moderna vaccine.

Swansea Bay University Health Board is currently vaccinating frontline health and social care workers and members of the community using the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines.

For supply and organisational reasons, you can’t choose which vaccine you receive but if you get a first dose of one type, your second dose will be of the same type.

If you can’t receive the Pfizer vaccine, because you have previously had a severe allergic reaction (known as an anaphylactic reaction) to a drug or injection, we will make alternative arrangements for you to receive the Oxford vaccine. Please ring the number on your appointment letter when you receive it and advise the booking team.

Go to this page on the Public Health Wales website for further information on the COVID vaccines, including safety and delivery.

Further information on the COVID-19 vaccines' approval by the MHRA

To find out more about the vaccines' approval in the UK by the MHRA, use these links to the gov.uk website:

Follow this link to return to the full list of frequently asked questions.


Some people have experienced side effects after having their COVID-19 vaccination but these have mostly been mild, and have gone away within a few days.

Common side effects to COVID-19 vaccines include:

  • a sore arm where the needle went in

  • feeling tired or achy

  • headache

  • feeling or being sick

Remember that any side effects are much less serious than developing COVID-19, or the complications associated with coronavirus.

As of early March 2021, millions of people in the UK have been given a COVID-19 vaccine and reports of serious side effects have been very rare.

Anaphylaxis can happen after vaccines or medicines and health professionals are trained to watch out for the early signs and start prompt treatment. All immunisation centres have anaphylaxis kits. The vast majority of people will not be at risk of anaphylaxis after being administered a COVID-19 vaccine, and the benefits in preventing the serious complications of COVID for most people outweigh the risks. 

You will be asked if you have ever had any serious allergic reactions before you are offered vaccination.

Follow this link to the Public Health Wales website for more advice on side effects to the COVID-19 vaccines.

Follow this link to return to the full list of frequently asked questions.


If you are the sole or primary carer for an elderly or disabled adult who is at increased risk of COVID-19 - and so is classed as clinically vulnerable - you may be eligible for vaccination as an unpaid carer under priority group 6.

Go to this page to read through our advice and work out if you are eligible for a vaccine as an unpaid carer. 

Follow this link to return to the full list of frequently asked questions.


If you can’t get to your GP surgery for an appointment, speak to them directly about alternative arrangements.

Working with our partners in the local councils for voluntary services and local authorities, we are now able to offer free transport to our mass vaccination centres for those with mobility issues who have received appointment letters.

To arrange transport Swansea residents can contact: 07538 105244 or amymeredithcovid@scvs.org.uk

And Neath Port Talbot residents can contact: 07494 966448 or covid19discharge@nptcvs.org.uk

On arrival at the centres our military colleagues, who have been trained to assist wheelchair users, will be on hand to help.

Follow this link to return to the full list of frequently asked questions.


The following links will take you to further advice published on our website, NHS.uk and gov.uk:

Go to this page for the latest information on COVID-19 vaccination in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot.

Follow this link to the Public Health Wales webpage for detailed answers to frequently asked questions around the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Follow this link for more information on getting the vaccine, its effectiveness and eligibility from the NHS. Please note this advice on this page on booking appointments does not apply in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot. You will be contacted when it is time for your vaccination.

Go to this page on gov.uk to read the latest JCVI advice on priority groups for the COVID-19 vaccination.

To find out more about the vaccines' approval in the UK by the MHRA, use these links to the gov.uk website:

Follow this link to read about Public Health England data which shows that the Pfizer and Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines are highly effective in reducing severe COVID-19 in older adults.

Go to this page to read more Public Health England research which shows the effectiveness of the vaccines in use across the UK.

Follow this link to return to the full list of frequently asked questions.

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