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Why are some people being invited for a spring booster?
COVID-19 is more serious in older people and those with a weakened immune system. Protection from the vaccine may be lower and may decline more quickly in these people. For this reason, people aged 75 years and over, those in care homes and those aged 12 years and over with a weakened immune system are being offered the spring booster.
When will people be able to book my spring booster?
Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice is that people should wait until around six months since their last dose for maximum effectiveness, and people are asked to wait until they are invited by the NHS to book. People should wait to be contacted by the NHS. The NHS will begin inviting people from the week beginning 21st March and will offer a top-up dose to all who are eligible during Spring and early Summer.
How do I get my booster dose of the COVID vaccine?
The NHS will invite you to book your COVID-19 spring booster around six months after your last dose. You can book through www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine or by calling 119.
Why is the COVID-19 spring booster programme needed?
Like some other vaccines, levels of protection may begin to wane over time.
The spring booster helps to reduce your risk of catching COVID-19 or being admitted to hospital if you do.
Boosting your immunity should extend your protection and may give broader protection against new variants.
Why are no other groups of people being invited to come forward for a spring booster?
The NHS vaccinates people in line with recommendations from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), as accepted by government.
I had my last jab more than three months ago but haven’t received an invitation. Can I get a spring booster at a vaccination centre?
The clinical advice from JCVI experts is to wait until around six months since your last dose for maximum effectiveness and to get the most benefit from the vaccine. You should book when you’re invited by the NHS. However, if you are in one of the eligible groups and attend a site that accepts walk-ins for booster doses, you will not be turned away if it has been more than three months since your previous dose and you haven’t had COVID within the last 4 weeks.
Will I have any side effects from the spring booster?
You may experience some mild side effects from the booster dose, regardless of how you reacted to previous COVID-19 vaccines. Side effects are very mild, do not last for very long and not everybody will get them. Side effects can include a sore arm, feeling tired, a headache, feeling achy, and feeling or being sick. If you do get them, a pain killer such as paracetamol is recommended.
Is there anyone who shouldn’t have the spring booster vaccine?
There are very few people in the eligible groups who should not have a booster. If you have had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine you should discuss this with your GP surgery.
I’ve just had COVID-19 – should I still get my booster dose?
You should not attend for vaccination if you are unwell. If you think you had a recent COVID-19 infection (e.g. you had a positive test, or you had symptoms and did not test but a family member or colleague did test positive) you should defer vaccination.
If you’ve had COVID-19, you need to wait 4 weeks before getting your spring booster. This starts from the date you had symptoms, or the date of the positive test if you did not have any symptoms.
If you had some symptoms but are not sure if you had COVID-19, you should still attend for vaccination once your symptoms are better and you can discuss this with a healthcare professional.
It is important you get your spring booster as soon as possible after this period to ensure you have the maximum possible protection against COVID-19 in the future.
Can I still catch COVID-19 after having the spring booster?
Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective but having the spring booster will reduce your chance of being hospitalised if you catch COVID-19.
Can I still come forward for a first or second dose if I’ve not yet done so?
It’s never too late to come forward for your first, second or (if you were immunosuppressed at the time of one of these) third dose of the vaccine. You do not need to be registered with a GP and can find a walk-in option, book an appointment or more information at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccine or by calling 119.