Frequently asked questions about the vaccination programme for COVID-19

Updated: Jan 6, 2021

UPDATED 4 JANUARY 2021


The BIMDG (British Inherited Metabolic Disease Group – the professional society for doctors, nurses, dietitians, scientists and psychologists involved in the diagnosis and management of individuals with inherited metabolic disease) has prepared these responses to frequently asked questions about the vaccine progamme for COVID-19.


The BIMDG is strongly supportive of the vaccination programme for COVID-19 and hopes that any patient who is offered vaccination will take up the offer.


1. Is there any particular inherited metabolic or lysosomal storage disorder where patients would be advised not to have a COVID-19 vaccination?


NO. Vaccination is considered safe for all inherited metabolic disorders.


2. Can I have the vaccine if I need to follow a prescribed low protein diet?


YES. The amount of protein in the vaccines is negligible and having the vaccine will neither affect how well your condition is controlled, nor will you need to reduce your protein intake (exchanges).


3. If I am offered vaccination would I need to have it done locally or with my specialist centre?


The NHS will aim to give you the vaccination within your local area. If they are not able to do so then you will be invited to a designated hospital which has been identified as a vaccination centre. You do not have to go to your specialist centre to be vaccinated.


4. Which vaccine should I have? Do go I get choose?


At this moment, the NHS is not able to give you a choice as to which vaccine you will be offered. Patients will be given the vaccine that is available in their local area.


Read about the approved Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 by MHRA on GOV.UK

Read about the approved Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 by MHRA on GOV.UK


5. Do the vaccines contain any live COVID virus?


NO. The current vaccines do not contain any live COVID virus. The vaccines also do not contain any animal products or egg.


6. What side effects might vaccination have?


Most side effects are mild and should not last longer than a few days to a week such as:

i. A sore arm where the needle went in

ii. Feeling tired

iii. Headache

iv. Feeling achy


7. Why are some patients with the same inherited metabolic disease being offered vaccination before (or after) me?


Even if patients have the same named condition, it does not mean that they are affected in the same way. Some patients may be very mildly affected with their inherited metabolic disease; others may be much more seriously affected with many complications of their condition. It is these complications that may put them more at risk of complications of COVID-19. Older patients and those who are deemed ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ will be offered vaccination earlier on in the programme.


Other patients may have a second, more common condition, such as diabetes or severe asthma, that makes them more vulnerable – and so it will be this, rather than their inherited disorder of metabolism, that puts them more at risk of complications of COVID-19.


8. Do you have to follow restrictions once you have been vaccinated?


YES. After vaccination, most people will be protected against COVID-19 symptoms. However, there is a small chance you might still get COVID-19 even after vaccination. We also do not know for certain yet whether people who have had the vaccination might be able to pass on COVID-19, even if they have no symptoms. For these reasons it is important that EVERYONE continues to follow social distancing guidance, wear a face covering in public and adhere to local lockdown measures.


9. I am pregnant - can I be vaccinated?


The available data do not indicate any safety concern or harm to pregnancy, but there is insufficient evidence to recommend routine use of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy. If you are currently pregnant