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I'm trying to get vaccinated against COVID

Elspe profile image

In my area the NHS has only got the Astro-Zeneca variant. I would rather have a different one - Moderna maybe? But it is not available at my GP practice or anywhere else in town as far as I can see. I have major allergy issues and have had nasty adverse effects from several doctor-prescribed medicines, so am uneasy about this particular vaccination. I am not anti-vax. I just want to protect my own health. All the GP practice would tell me is to call 119. 119, as I found out after LONG waits on the phone, is a booking service. In spite of what their switchboard says, it's not possible to speak to anyone about the safety of the vaccines; they advised me to go back to my GP.

As my GP practice is pretty hopeless, does anyone else have any suggestion?

31 Replies

BTW I am 67, have asthma and diabetes and fatty liver, so am in the clinically vulnerable segment of the population. I was offered a jab from the NHS and turned it down because at that time I felt I didn't know enough about the ingredients of the various vaccines.

I don't know that you can choose - if your GP or any specialists consider the vaccines to be safe for you then you may have to go with that.

Are you under the care of an allergist? Have you had reactions specifically to vaccines in the past?

My understanding is that it is only those who require an epi pen who will be offered different vaccines. If this is you you should be offered something else. Otherwise you should be ok.You say spoken to gp practice but have you spoken to an actual gp? Suggest you phone and request an appointment with gp. Don’t have to go into details with receptionist. Say is about your asthma or something.

If it helps following vaccination you are asked to wait for 15mins or so in case of reaction.

Also could always take some antihistamine after jab to aid reduction in any possible side effects.

Elspe profile image
Elspe in reply to Bevvy

I carry an epi pen always. Yes, it was a receptionist I spoke to. Allergist? You HAVE to be joking. No such animal in this part of the world. Or if there is, I've never met it. I was referred after a very long wait to an NHS "allergy consultant" back when we lived in the big city. He was only interested in people allergic to shellfish. I think he had done papers on this. I didn't actually SEE him, was just given the usual asthma advice handouts - basic stuff like vaccuum every day, don't walk in the woods in pollen season by his registrar. Apologetically - he had been told to fob me off with this.

floating_ profile image
floating_ in reply to Elspe

What are you specifically allergic to?

Bevvy profile image
Bevvy in reply to Elspe

Well in light of epi pen speak to your gp. Like I say just ask for appointment and say about allergies or asthma. Don’t have to go into details. Is not for a receptionist to advise you about anything. Never mind Covid jabs.Having said that I was asked about allergies when I had my jabs. It MIGHT be worth arranging to go and see what happens at inoculation centre. THEY may be able to arrange different jabs.. no harm in trying.

pink123floyd profile image
pink123floyd in reply to Bevvy

BEVVY i think things have changed now as my daughter was given the Pfizer which she was told all under 40s can have that or any other vaccine available but not the oxford one

Bevvy profile image
Bevvy in reply to pink123floyd

I was just responding to the poster who said would only be offered one specific vaccination. I have no idea what options are available in her area. Was just trying to give sone ideas for her to try, in order to get vaccination that she comfortable receiving.Personally I DO think there will be options. She can’t be only person in this situation. Is just a matter of finding out from correct person/people. And receptionist at gp surgery isn’t necessarily that person!

Yes it's been widely publicised that they're offering under 40s jabs that aren't Astrazeneca - but Elspe is older than that and people can't, routinely at the moment, choose which vaccine they have. People with EpiPens were advised initially to avoid Pfizer (but I think even that changed and it was less cut-and-dried) but if someone doesn't meet criteria for not having a particular jab, then at the moment it's not a thing of choice.

floating_ profile image
floating_ in reply to twinkly29

If it makes a difference, I had a reaction to AstraZeneca when I got it in January and so was not allowed to get the second dose. Today I got my first dose of Pfizer (funnily enough they did book me in initially for AstraZeneca). I carry Epi-Pens, so it's definitely not cut and dry! It depends on you as an individual and what the doctor on site thinks.

Weirdly had an asthma attack post Pfizer.

twinkly29 profile image
twinkly29 in reply to floating_

Yes I understand that but that's still following a known reaction - at the moment I don't think people can just ask for a particular vaccine because they don't want another, unless there is guidance for not having one which is met by a person's needs (which actually I guess your vaccine swap was).

But glad you could have Pfizer despite carrying EpiPens (and your complex issues!) Hope it's ok for you and that they're able to prove good antibodies from the mix of vaccines as that would be good generally as well as for you personally!

floating_ profile image
floating_ in reply to twinkly29

Also true. The only way as far as I know is known reaction to excpients or previous reaction to COVID-19 vaccine. 🤷🏻‍♀️ so you're correct.

Basically I think OP needs to speak to their GP and get the vaccine, they screen you beforehand anyway (you likely already know this). I was told to wait 30 minutes this time rather than 15, so they could do that too. And to take their Epi-Pens with them too (obviously).

Thanks! It should be fine unless I get a delayed reaction. 😂 My allergist gave me pred just in case. So we shall see! Second dose of Pfizer is in September so fingers crossed all around!

twinkly29 profile image
twinkly29 in reply to floating_

I agree. The risk of covid will be way way more than the vaccine.

floating_ profile image
floating_ in reply to twinkly29

Definitely for OP.

Oh as an aside if there are allergy concerns there are clinics that clinicians can drop a patient in re: COVID-19 vaccines. Like there's one at Barts etc. So that's another potential avenue for OP if she does react poorly to it too.

Do you have vaccine buses in your area? We quite often have buses at our town centre. I only found about this on Facebook. The local authority and GP practice put posts up. These are drop ins for all ages and mostly offer Pfizer or moderna because they are aimed at the younger generation.

Elspe profile image
Elspe in reply to Troilus

Never seen any - and I don't do Facebook.

Troilus profile image
Troilus in reply to Elspe

I was the same Elspe - I never did Facebook, still don’t really. I set up an account specifically so that I could see what my go was putting on. They put info on there that is not on their website.Apart from that, there is nothing on my account - no photos, no posts, no friends. I have set it so that it is private. No one can find me! 😁

Because my practice had a nasty reception and were incompetent I was told I wasn’t on the vulnerable list so I gave up trying to get the Pfizer jab and rang the number to book by phone at any walk in centre, But when I rang the girl there was lovely, I explained all to her and it appeared to do the trick as my gps suddenly found me one for the vulnerable. If you can find the number to ring for a jab give it a go at a very unpopular time when the line is less busy . 👍🏻👍🏻 Or report your practice to PALS the patient advice line 👍🏻👍🏻Good luck

Just remembered also if you have had 3 flare ups on antibiotics in the year you are also eligible 👍🏻

I can tell you you are on a nearly on an impossible mission my daughter tried everyone she has an epipen. We both rang everywhere in desparation since feb. Eventually she booked an appointment at a nightingale drop in and having been refused by several nurses to administer a vaccine and discussion from a pharmacist astra and clots or moderna n anaphylaxis. She chose anaphylaxis this you can see clots you cant. A paramedic gave her the moderna... She was ok stayed a while and couldn't drive home. So my advice to you book somewhere that will give you moderna who have help if you need it. Good luck.

This may explain your difficulties, pulsetoday.co.uk/news/clini...

Sorry to hear that Elspe but you can go online and book vaccine appointments and have a choice which one you want i had the oxford and it was a blessing i had 8 weeks free from my inhalers and nebulous but am back to my sorry state now after finding out my bronchus has a medium collapse and they found a lung disease in the small lobes so don't be afraid just keep checking online appointments and you might touch lucky and find a chemist who administers the jabs and will have the one you want .take care and stay safe .xxxx

It is a shame you can't get someone who is on FB to let you know of a drop in this weekend doing a certain vaccine. We have a walk in here and they have published the vaccine. My friend came for her 2nd jab as a walk in from out of area, not on FB I told her. She equally had, had her 1st jab out of her area organised. I hope you get this resolved.

I’m not for a second suggesting that you are one of these aggressive people, but found this which may explain why you’re having difficulty with choosing your COVID vaccine.


Us over 40’s are being given the AZ because the Pfizer/moderna are kept for under 40’s (and there’s a shortage). Why don’t you want the AZ- are you worrying about the rare blood clots? Perhaps chat it through with a GP or nurse. I decided that the risk of COVID plus asthma was higher than the AZ blood clots for myself.

Me? Aggressive? Once upon a time... I have not the energy these days. That is why I am trying to get sorted before I even GO to any place for vaccine.

Blue-Breeze profile image
Blue-Breeze in reply to Elspe

This link may help


Hope someone can let you know the vaccine too. Good luck.

This doesn’t sound good.. I was asked before I had my 1st A Zeneca jab.. did I have any allergies- the nurse said it’s not good for allergies- I don’t so had it.. but in your case it’s not right if you want it - that you have to risk having the AZ.. especially if you are asthmatic? Call 111? Are you in UK as Under 30’s don’t get given AZ..

Hanne62 profile image
Hanne62 in reply to KBalders

I carry Epipens & have a history of severe reactions to drugs (tho not vaccines.) The centre I went to strongly advised me to have AZ rather than Pfizer etc. I did, and was fine apart from side effects (which were unpleasant but tolerable)

Hey Elspe

I am in a similar position as you are in because when it was my turn to be vaccinated against Covid-19 even after I contacted my doctor and said to them that I was hospitalized last year due to finding out that the Ethanol ingredient wore down my stomach lining so much so that I had to have my system flush out, with not only saline solution but their left over intravenous vitamin and mineral solution as well due to some internal bleeding.

As I have been partially diagnosed with chronic bronchitis or asthma (which is looking more like asthma now due to symptoms) since: 05/05/2020, I suppose it is no surprise that I am now allergic to the Ethanol ingredient because the NHS does say that: 1 in 100 asthmatics are allergic to Ethanol which is basically an inflammable alcohol solution; which means that as the AstraZeneca Oxford Covid-19 vaccine contains Ethanol, all I can be given is either the: Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

My doctor said to me that it is not a problem at all when it comes to being vaccinated with either two of the vaccines as mentioned above and to get either one I would need to turn up to another doctor’s surgery as they will be on the NHS Vaccination Centre list but guess what?.... they are not on the damn list! What is most annoying for me is that in my area I have luckily got access to all of the Covid-19 vaccines, but there is no transparency between GP Surgeries and the NHS Vaccination Centres when it comes to them notifying GP Surgeries of what type of Covid-19 Vaccines they are giving to the eligible age groups each day which means that if I did book and turn up to my Covid-19 vaccine appointment they could by accident give me the wrong vaccine, therefore having to spend another night in hospital!

Like I have done Elspe you may want to contact: NHS England via their email address: england.contactus@nhs.net or you could post them your situation via their postal address to: NHS England, PO Box 16738, Redditch, B97 9PT, email Professor Chris Whitty (Chief Medical Officer) via his email address: c.whitty@nhs.net and maybe you could also notify our Prime Minister Boris Johnson, by using his websites ‘Contact Us’ hyperlink about your situation because as you have found out that calling: 119 is a complete waste of time and at the end of the day if our country wants to get back to some sort of normality everyone needs to be vaccinated, so we both need them to help us so that we can help them and our country in return.

There is a legitimate online news article which basically says that after the Covid-19 Vaccination Centres have finished vaccinating the majority of the UK population, each Local Council member of staff will start to visit people’s homes who still have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 to ask them why they have not been and how this issue could be fixed??, so I am basically waiting for them to come to my door because I have done everything I can do on my side of the fence!

I wish you the very best of luck and take care.

Kind regards,


Might be worth calling around? Some centres have left over vaccines they need to use, so you might get slotted in somewhere.

Are you under any specialist re: ethanol issue? If you are, maybe contact them?

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