Covid-19 Vaccines: What do you need to know?
What is the Covid-19 vaccine?
The Covid-19 vaccine has been developed as the best and most effective way to protect yourself against Coronavirus (Covid-19). There are currently 3 UK approved vaccines available:
- Oxford University/ AstraZeneca
- Pfizer/ BioNTech
The NHS states that the vaccination is delivered as an injection into your upper arm. It is given in 2 doses, and the 2nd dose is administered 3 - 12 weeks after the 1st. A booster is then available 3 months after your 2nd dose.
Do people with epilepsy have priority to get the COVID-19 vaccine?
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has issued advice on who should have priority to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the UK. If you have any concerns, please speak to your doctor.
People aged 16 and over
Everyone aged 16 and over is eligible for two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination, as well as a booster vaccination. You can book and manage appointments on the NHS website.
Children aged 12 to 15 with epilepsy
All children aged 12 to 15 are being offered two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination. You can find out more information about the vaccination for 12 to 15 year-olds on the NHS website.
Children aged 12 to 15 with epilepsy are also eligible for a booster vaccination. This can be accessed at walk-in vaccination sites, or through your GP surgery.
Children aged 5 to 11 with epilepsy
Children aged 5 to 11 with epilepsy are eligible to receive two smaller doses of the COVID-19 vaccination. Your GP or other NHS services will contact parents of eligible children. If you have any questions or concerns, please speak to your child's doctor
What effect will the vaccine have on my epilepsy?
There is currently no evidence that people with epilepsy are at higher risk of experiencing side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine than anyone else. The ILAE (International League Against Epilepsy) have issued an article stating that there is no greater risk associated with epilepsy and also what you need to be aware of regarding the vaccine. The full article can be found here: COVID-19 vaccines and people with epilepsy
Does having epilepsy put you at increased risk from COVID-19?
There is no evidence that having epilepsy increases the risk of catching the virus or having a more severe case of the illness. The majority of children and young people will get mild symptoms which will pass after a few days.
However, illness can be a seizure trigger in many children and young people with epilepsy – so it’s important to take care. Follow the latest social distancing guidance and get plenty of rest and water if you or your child does get ill.
If you have any questions or concerns you should check with your doctor or epilepsy nurse.
The Government is regularly updating its guidance, so please check here for further information: www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Do epilepsy medicines stop the immune system working well?
Most anti-seizure medication does not affect your body’s immune system.
If you do take medication that affects the immune system (such as everolimus), please speak to your doctor before your vaccination appointment.