Can You Choose Which Covid Vaccine You Get?

As more of us book in for our vaccines, here's what the experts have to say about vaccine preferences...

Woman receiving vaccine

by Georgia Aspinall |
Updated on

As of this week, more than 32million people in the UK have no had at least one dose of a Covid vaccine with 10million fully vaccinated. As more people look towards getting their Covid vaccine then, there is one question proving popular on Google: ‘Can you choose which Covid vaccine to get?’

That’s right, with three different vaccines currently available in the UK, many are Googling ‘Can you choose which Covid vaccine to get?’ with the hopes of picking what they perceive to be the ‘best’ one.

Particularly since there have been reports linking the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to the 'very rare' side effect of blood clots, now people are also wondering if you can choose your second vaccine and have a different one to the first. For pregnant people, the government has only recently confirmed that it is safe for them to receive the vaccine - with the JCVI stating that it's preferred they have the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine (as studies in the US have so far only tested those two vaccines on pregnant people).

As you can expect then, Google is awash with a number of new questions. 'What vaccine will I get?', 'Can I refuse AztraZeneca vaccine' and 'Can you mix covid-19 vaccines UK' plus 'Should I get my second AstraZeneca vaccine' are all trending questions right now.

So, can you choose which Covid vaccine to get?

For most of us, the answer is no (scroll down if you're pregnant or undergoing fertility treatment). Although if you're under 30 the UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has advised that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be the preferred option offered as oppose to AstraZeneca where possible. Ultimately though, the UK is rolling out vaccines based on supply.

According to a government statement released after the MHRA's advise was issued, 'the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is safe, effective and has already saved thousands of lives.

'As the MHRA – the UK’s independent regulator – and the JCVI have said, the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks for the vast majority of adults. Everybody who has already had a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine should receive a second dose of the same brand, irrespective of age, except for the very small number of people who experienced blood clots with low platelet counts from their first vaccination.

'The government will follow today’s updated advice, which sets out that, as a precaution, it is preferable for people under the age of 30 with no underlying health conditions to be offered an alternative vaccine where possible once they are eligible,' the statement continued.

'When people are called forward, they should get their jab. Vaccines are the best way out of this pandemic and provide strong protection against COVID-19. More than 37 million jabs overall have already been administered, and we are on track to offer jabs to all over 50s by 15 April and all adults by the end of July.'

Can I choose a vaccine based on side effects?

The British Heart Foundation has also warned against comparing mild side-effects or showing preference for one vaccine over another as this can increase overall scepticism over vaccines and impact take up.

‘All the currently approved vaccines have been shown to be safe and to work well at preventing disease from the virus,' their website stated. 'The studies of effectiveness have measured them in different ways, so it isn’t necessarily helpful to compare them. Serious side effects are very rare in all of the approved vaccines.

It’s important to have whichever vaccine you are offered.

‘You won’t be able to choose which vaccine to have, so it’s important to have the vaccine you are offered. Whichever vaccine you are offered, it will have been through all the safety processes and will have been carefully reviewed and approved. It will also have been recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) for people of your age and risk group.’

So, even if you know someone who had a particular vaccine and experienced certain mild side-effects, while another who received a different vaccine experienced none, it’s important not to share generalised bias against any one vaccine as absolutely everyone’s experience of the vaccine will be dependant on their own immune system.

According to the NHS website, ‘most side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are mild and should not last longer than a week, such as: a sore arm where the needle went in, feeling tired, a headache feeling achy, feeling or being sick. You can take painkillers, such as paracetamol, if you need to.’

Of course, if you’re symptoms get worse or you’re worried, the NHS advise calling 111.

Either way, while you may or may not experience mild side-effects of the vaccine, and no matter what vaccine you’re offered, the fact we’re now seeing optimism about getting out of lockdown and away from coronavirus risking so many lives is a blessing.

Can I choose my covid vaccine if i'm pregnant?

For pregnant people though, they can choose their vaccine.

'The latest information from JCVI advice published on 16 April 2021 advises that it is preferable for pregnant women in the UK to be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna mRNA vaccines, where available,' states the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists .

'This is because these vaccines have been given to around 90,000 pregnant women in the United States and the data have not raised any safety concerns.

'If you have been offered COVID-19 vaccination, you should discuss the benefits and risks with a healthcare professional, including discussion of potential side effects. For pregnant women, those who have recently had a baby or those about to start – or who have started – fertility treatment, this discussion should cover the different types of vaccine available, and possible side effects including the extremely rare side effect of blood clots. The benefit/risk balance may be different for those who are healthy and receiving the vaccine as a health or social care worker, compared to those at increased risk of COVID-19 complications.

'If a woman chooses to have a particular vaccine, for example to avoid vaccination with the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, then they should be able to choose to do so,' they conclude.

Read More:

If You're Worried About The Vaccine Impacting Your Fertility, You Need To Read This

Can You Drink Alcohol After The Covid Vaccination?

Can My Boss Make Me Go Back To The Office Before I've Had The Covid Vaccine?

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