Dr Arun Mandepanda Thimmiah, a GP at the Abbey Road Surgery in Barrow, gives advice on health issues in his weekly column. This week, he explains whether receiving the Covid-19 vaccine means you are immune to coronavirus.

It's really important to stick to the guidance, even if you've had your vaccine.

The first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine should give you good protection from coronavirus from three or four weeks after you've had it, but you need to have the two doses of the vaccine to give you longer-lasting protection.

There is a chance you might still get or spread coronavirus even if you have the vaccine.

This means it is important to:

n continue to follow social distancing guidance

n if you can, wear something that covers your nose and mouth in places where it's hard to stay away from other people.

It's also important to stick to the guidance to protect those who have not yet had the vaccine and those who can't have it for medical reasons.

This is particularly important now that you are able to meet in groups of six, which increases the chances of coming into contact with the virus.

If you are offered a vaccination, please do accept the invitation and please do ensure that attend your appointment.

If you are unable to attend, please to get in touch with the clinic and let them know so that the vaccine can be given to another person.

Vaccines need to be stored in specific conditions and, once opened, the vials need to be fully used; therefore, missed appointments risk vaccines being wasted.

Most side effects of the Covid-19 vaccine are mild and should not last longer than a week, such as:

n a sore arm where the needle went in

n feeling tired

n a headache

n feeling achy

n feeling or being sick.

You can take painkillers, such as paracetamol, if you need to.

You may get a high temperature or feel hot or shivery one or two days after having your vaccination.

But if you have: a high temperature that lasts longer than two days; a new, continuous cough; or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, you may have coronavirus.

Stay at home and get a test.

If your symptoms get worse or you are worried, call 111.

Contact your GP surgery if you have a headache for more than four days after your vaccination or get bruising somewhere other than where you had your vaccination.