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Frequently asked questions

It is more important than ever to continue with the vaccination rollout as the vaccine is the way of eventually getting on top of this pandemic.

If you have any COVID-19 symptoms, have returned a positive result on lateral flow device or you are self-isolating, please call 111 to rearrange your appointment.

As more of the population are vaccinated, we expect to see lower transmission of the virus and fewer people becoming ill, and this will lead to the easing of restrictions and a return to a more normal way of life.


The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is an independent advisory body to the UK Government. The Isle of Man vaccination programme follows the JCVI’s evidence-based guidance and the JCVI is referred to in many of the answers below. 

Updated: 29 September 2021

On this page:

COVID-19

Vaccination schedule

Booster Programme

Second Doses

Third vaccine for immunosuppressed individuals

Vaccines and children aged 12-15 years

Translated information

COVID-19

What is COVID-19 or Coronavirus?

COVID-19 is caused by a new coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV-2. It was first identified in late 2019. It is very infectious and can lead to severe respiratory disease.

Many people who are infected may not have any symptoms or only have mild symptoms. These commonly start with cough, fever, headache and loss of taste or smell.

How COVID-19 is spread

COVID-19 is spread through droplets expelled from the nose or mouth, particularly when speaking or coughing. It can also be picked up by touching your eyes, nose and mouth after contact with contaminated objects and surfaces.

You are advised to continue to follow current guidance which may include:

  • practising social distancing
  • wearing a face covering
  • washing your hands regularly
  • opening windows to let fresh air in

Current guidance is detailed at www.gov.im/coronavirus

Vaccination schedule

Who will be offered the vaccine?

The order in which people will be offered the vaccine is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), you can read the latest JCVI COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritisation Guidance.  

Pregnant women should be offered COVID-19 vaccines at the same time as people of the same age or risk group. Please read advice for childbearing, pregnant or breastfeeding women.

All children aged 12-17 will be offered at least one dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. 

Those who are within the 3 month mark of turning 18 will be offered both doses of Pfizer vaccine.

All people aged 12 and over who are severely immunosuppressed or were severely immunosuppressed at the time of receiving their first or second dose will be offered a third dose of the vaccine.

Additional information on the vaccination programme is available at gov.im.

What about household contacts of immunocompromised adults?

Adults who are household contacts of immunosuppressed adults have been prioritised for the vaccine following guidance based on evidence that susceptibility to infection is reduced in those who have been vaccinated and so vaccinating individuals aged 12+ living with any person who is immunocompromised is considered to be a beneficial approach by increasing protection.

Who cannot have the vaccine?

There are very few people who are not suitable for the vaccine. The vaccines do not contain organisms that grow in the body, and so are safe for people with disorders of the immune system. These people may not respond so well to the vaccine but it is still better to have the protection it offers. A very small number of people who are at risk of COVID-19 cannot have the vaccine – this includes some people who have a history of systemic allergic reaction such as anaphylaxis to a previous dose of vaccine and people with a prior allergic reaction to any component (excipient) of the COVID-19 vaccine e.g. polyethylene glycol. People in these circumstances can discuss with their medical advisor.

Is the vaccine compulsory?

There are no plans to make the COVID-19 vaccine compulsory. The Isle of Man operates a system of informed consent for this vaccination before it can be administered.

Should people who have already had COVID-19 be vaccinated?

Yes, they should get vaccinated. There is no evidence of any safety concerns from vaccinating individuals with a past history of COVID-19 infection, or with detectable COVID-19 antibody so people who have had the COVID-19 disease (whether confirmed or suspected) can still receive the vaccine.

You can have the vaccine 28 days after you had a positive test for COVID-19 or 28 days after your symptoms started, so you may need to wait.

Booster Programme

Why is a COVID-19 vaccination booster programme necessary? 

The COVID-19 vaccines have provided high levels of protection against serious illness, reducing the number of people who need hospital care and preventing many deaths.

The booster vaccination programme has been recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) which provides expert advice to the UK Government.

The JCVI has advised that adults over the age of 50 and people with underlying medical conditions which make them more vulnerable to becoming ill with the virus, should be offered a booster jab of COVID-19 vaccine.

It is important to maintain our immunity to COVID-19 through the winter months when we are likely to spend more time mixing with other people indoors, in situations which allow viruses to circulate more readily.

Having a booster will help prolong your immunity to COVID-19 and by reducing transmission will protect you, your family and friends from becoming seriously ill and needing hospital care.

It is important that we don’t add to the normal winter pressures on our health and care services. By having a booster, you are helping to protect our health and care services over the busy winter period.

Suppressing cases of COVID-19 in the community means there is less chance of a return to the restrictions seen earlier in the pandemic.

Who is eligible for the booster jabs?

The JCVI is advising that booster vaccines be offered to those more at risk from serious disease, and who were vaccinated during Phase 1 of the vaccine programme (priority groups 1 to 9).

This includes:

  • frontline health and social care workers
  • those living in residential care homes for older adults
  • all adults aged 50 years or over
  • all those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19
  • adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals

The booster jab can be given at least six months after the two-dose primary vaccine course is complete.

People whose second dose was given within the last six months should wait until at least six months has passed before having a booster jab.

I didn't receive my primary COVID vaccinations in the Isle of Man. Can I still have my booster in the Isle of Man?

Yes you can still register for your booster in the Isle of Man. Please contact 111 with evidence of your vaccination status and they will complete your registration for the booster for you.

For information about obtaining evidence of your vaccination status in either digital or paper format, please visit the NHS web page.

The local telephone number for requesting a vaccination certificate letter is 0808 1624 119.

Where will I have my booster jab?

This depends on which group you are in.

 Our plan for giving booster vaccinations looks like this: 

  • Frontline health and care staff, including those working in care homes in the public and private sectors, will be invited to attend drop-in clinics at the Chester Street vaccination hub in Douglas
  • People living in residential homes and the housebound will be visited by Manx Care’s community vaccination team as they were during the initial rollout
  • Adults aged between 50 and 69 and 16-64 year olds with underlying conditions will be sent an appointment letter inviting them to attend the Douglas hub for their booster
  • Island GPs will invite adults aged 70 and over, clinically extremely vulnerable individuals and the immune-suppressed contacts group to attend their GP surgery for a booster

When will I be invited to have a booster? 

We are preparing to start giving booster vaccinations mid-late September.

Manx Care will invite health and care staff and staff of residential homes for older people to make an appointment at the Chester St vaccination hub.

For those aged 70+ or clinically extremely vulnerable who are a patient at a GP practice participating in the COVID-19 booster programme, you will receive notification from your GP via letter, email or text message with details on how to get your COVID-19 booster and flu vaccine.

For those registered with a GP that aren’t participating in the booster programme, you will receive an invitation letter from Manx Care with details of your appointment at the Chester St Vaccination Centre. Please note the Chester St Vaccination Centre is not delivering flu vaccines so please make alternative arrangements to receive this, either via your GP or local pharmacy.

The invitation letter will tell you what to do if you cannot attend your appointment.

Which vaccines will be used? 

Following its review of the COV-BOOST trial data, the JCVI has advised that boosters will be an mRNA based vaccine, either Pfizer-BioNTech(Comirnaty) or Moderna(Spikevax), regardless of which vaccine type was received for the first two primary doses.

Either Pfizer-BioNTech(Comirnaty) or Moderna(Spikevax) vaccines will be offered and where mRNA vaccines cannot be offered, for example due to allergies or medical reasons, then the AstraZeneca(Vaxzevria) vaccine may be considered.

Other than in the case where a contraindication to a mRNA vaccine is indicated, there will be no choice of vaccine provided.

What if I can’t have the mRNA vaccines (i.e. Pfizer or Moderna)? 

If you are unable to receive either of the mRNA vaccines due to allergies or medical reasons, please call 111 and inform the team who will take your details. A clinician will then arrange to call you back to discuss the situation and confirm you are not eligible to receive an mRNA booster (you may need to provide proof from your GP or specialist).

Following this you will be provided with an appointment to receive AstraZeneca vaccine at the next available AZ clinic – please be aware that there may be a wait.

Note – if you received AZ for your primary course, you do not need to have AZ again unless there are medical reasons – it is safe to receive the mRNA vaccines.

Will younger adults and young people be offered a booster COVID-19 vaccination?

This is under review.  JCVI will continue to review data and evidence as they emerge and consider further advice on giving booster vaccinations to other groups when more information is available.

In general, younger healthier individuals generate stronger immune responses to vaccines than older people. It is not yet clear whether booster vaccinations in this population group will be required.

Will I need to give consent for a booster vaccination?

Yes, you will need to give consent in the same manner as you did for the first two vaccinations. This can be found in the vaccine consent form

Can I have both the COVID-19 booster and a seasonal flu jab?

Yes. The COVID-19 booster vaccinations can safely be given with the seasonal flu vaccination. 

They are separate vaccines and will be given separately, but you might get both jobs in one appointment, though they will not be given in the same arm. 

There is potential for an increased wave of influenza infection during the winter period 2021/22, which some predictions suggest may be up to 50% larger than typically seen. This is due to the low level of influenza virus circulating globally in 2020/21 - and consequently lower levels of immunity in the population. 

With an end to lockdowns and greater social mixing, there is potential for flu viruses to circulate alongside COVID-19 during the winter months. The possibility for waves of infection to peak at the same time presents a particular challenge this winter. 

Research from Public Health England suggests that co-infection with both influenza and COVID-19 is associated with a greater risk of more severe illness and death. 

As with COVID-19, there is a danger you may be unaware you are carrying the flu virus if you don’t have symptoms, and you could transmit the virus to other more vulnerable people. 

Vaccines continue to offer our best protection against flu and COVID-19. 

For those eligible, having both jabs will boost your immunity this winter, and will protect you, those around you, the wider community and our health and care services.

Second doses

For most people and vaccines it is a two dose schedule and is given as an injection into your upper arm.

You will have the second dose three to 12 weeks after having the first dose.

You will have two doses of the same vaccine. The first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine should give you good protection from COVID-19 from three or four weeks after you've had it.

But you need to have the two doses of the vaccine to give you longer lasting protection.

There is a chance you might still get or spread COVID-19 even if you have the vaccine but it is likely to be a less serious illness.

Should both vaccines be given in two doses?

The MHRA authorisation is individual for each vaccine. Currently all authorised vaccines require two doses for longer term protection.

If I get coronavirus after having my first dose, should I delay my second dose?

Having two doses of the vaccine is the best way to make sure you have long-lasting protection against the virus. Even if you catch COVID after having your first dose, you should still have a second dose. If you're still ill with the virus or you're self-isolating at the time of your second dose appointment, you should postpone it, but rebook as soon as possible with 111. If you have COVID-19 please alert the 111 team and wait four weeks until you have recovered before having the vaccine.

What happens if I miss my second appointment and don’t get the second jab within 12 weeks?

It is highly recommended that you attend your booked appointments and get a second dose between 8 and 12 weeks of having the first dose. However, if that isn’t possible for some reason, you should get a second dose as soon as you can to give you better long-term protection against the virus. You do not need to restart the programme, just have the second dose.

What should I do if I am not well when it is my next appointment?

If you are unwell, it is better to wait until you have recovered to have your vaccine, but you should try to have it as soon as possible.

You should not attend a vaccine appointment if you are self-isolating, waiting for a COVID-19 test or within 4 weeks of having a positive COVID-19 test.

Do I need a second dose if I’ve already had coronavirus?

Yes, you do. Having two doses of the vaccine is the best way to make sure you have long-lasting and effective protection against the virus.

Does the second dose have the same expected side effects or risks as the first?

You may get relatively minor side effects (chills, headaches, tiredness and pain in your arm) after either the first or second dose. It can vary between individuals and between types of vaccine whether the side effects are more noticeable at first or second dose.

I've heard protection from one dose of the vaccine is really good - why do I need the second?

The first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines offer good levels of protection, but to get maximum protection from COVID-19, everyone will need to get a second dose.

Third vaccine for immunosuppressed individuals

Why am I being offered a third vaccine?

Preliminary data shows that some individuals who are immunosuppressed may not have responded as well to their primary vaccines and therefore may be less protected compared to those who are not immunosuppressed. These people are more likely to become seriously ill with COVID-19 and so a third jab has the potential to increase their protection.

What vaccine will I receive?

The JCVI advises that for adults aged 18 and older, either the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines be administered for the third dose, as a number of studies have reported an increased immune response in some immunosuppressed people after a third dose of an mRNA vaccine. For those aged 12 to 17, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is preferred.

How do I get a third does?

A full list of those who should receive the third primary dose is available here.

If you are eligible to receive the third dose, please ring 111 and inform the team. A clinician will arrange to call you back and confirm your eligibility (this may take up to a week). Once confirmed, the clinician will arrange your appointment depending on the timing.

COVID-19 vaccines and children aged 12-15 years

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for children?

The MRHA has approved two vaccines for use in children aged 12-15 - Comirnaty® and Spikevax®. These vaccines have met the rigorous safety, quality and effectiveness standards required for vaccine approval.

These vaccines have been tested on thousands of people including children and young people aged 12-15 years as part of clinical trials. No additional safety concerns were identified in the clinical trial for children and young people aged 12-15 years.

How will a child provide consent? 

Parents will be asked to attend the appointment in order to give their consent at the point of vaccination.

Alternatively, it is possible that a child can give their own consent if they can clearly demonstrate an understanding of the treatment including the benefits and risks, and have the ability to explain their reasoning to the vaccinator – this is known as the Gillick Competence. This can also be used if a child wishes not to receive the vaccine against parents’ wishes.

What are the benefits of children receiving the vaccine?

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine should reduce the risk of getting COVID-19 and protect those vaccinated from serious complications of the illness. The aim in offering the vaccine to the population is to protect people and reduce the illness and deaths caused by this virus.

Reduce the risk of hospitalisation and death from COVID-19
The risk of a child being hospitalised because of COVID-19 is low, and the risk of any child needing intensive care treatment is very low.
7 in 10 children admitted to hospital with COVID-19 have some other underlying conditions, it is important to consider vaccination if your child has an underlying medical condition.

Reduce the risk to high risk close contacts
May help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others. This is especially important if children and young people are living with a child or an adult who is at risk of severe COVID-19 e.g. a younger child with complex medical needs, or with an immunocompromised adult.

Educational and social benefits
While children may not be at high risk of severe COVID-19, the virus has affected all areas of their lives. Vaccination will offer protection from COVID-19 which can be disruptive as children have to miss school and this can have impacts on mental and physical health.

What are the risks of my child receiving the vaccine?

The safety profile of the mRNA vaccine in people aged 12-15 years is similar to those in adults. Most symptoms are mild or moderate and self-limiting such as pain or redness at injection site, some will experience other systemic symptoms such as fatigue, muscle pain, headache, fever, chills, enlarged lymph nodes and nausea/vomiting. The majority of side effects resolve within 48 hours of vaccination.

What are the COVID-19 vaccine ingredients?

See About the vaccines.

Translated information

Are translations available?

Public Health England COVID-19 vaccination information has been translated into other languages. Content is available in Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Farsi, Gujarat, Hindi, Kurdish, Nepali, Polish, Punjabi, Romanian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Turkish, Urdu.

An overview of the vaccination programme: videos.

Visit the individual pages on this site for translated versions of the guidance documents.

Disclaimer: The contents of these translated documents may differ slightly from local literature produced to support the Isle of Man COVID-19 Vaccination Programme.