Making sure that the vaccine works for everyone, particularly those who are at increased risk from the virus, has been a vital part of the process.
"The Pfizer/BioNTech trial results clearly show that they've made sure to cover a broad population,” says Macey. “They've included people from risk groups including the Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups, and a large proportion of older people to make sure that the vaccines are safe and efficacious in these groups,"
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for everyone?
There have also been concerns about whether the vaccine will work for people who have suppressed immune systems.
"These patients were primarily not recruited into the vaccine trials, except for people with stable HIV, who were recruited into the Pfizer trial," says Anna.
She says that although we don't yet know its specific efficacy in people with compromised immune systems, we do know that the vaccine is safe in these groups. So people in immunosuppressed populations can accept the vaccine if it is offered to them, but you should talk to your doctor if you’re worried.
What will getting a COVID-19 vaccine feel like? What are the potential side effects?
"When people get the vaccine, just like when you get any vaccine, you can expect that it's going to be painful at the site where you have had the injection," says Anna "You can also expect that you might have a mild headache and you might be tired for a day or so."
These side effects are mild and short lived. If you develop any more severe problems after receiving the vaccine, you should contact your doctor.
Some people have been concerned about a lack of long-term safety data for the vaccines because they are so new.
"95% of all potential serious side effects happen within the first four weeks of the second dose," says Kate. "Both Pfizer and Oxford have now got substantially more than two months monitoring after the second dose, so we do have good data on safety."
Help us to monitor the health effects and impact of COVID-19 vaccination
You can play your part in contributing to the safety data by downloading the ZOE COVID Symptom Study app and taking just a minute every day to log your health and any side effects after you have received your vaccine.
"We are launching a vaccine side effect feature so that people who have these vaccines will be able to log their short term symptoms as well as any long term problems," says Tim. He highlights that this will help provide rapid, real-time data about vaccine side effects in the general population.
Because many people in the first wave of vaccinations are older and may not use a smartphone, you can also create a profile for elderly relatives and log health reports on their behalf.