Covid-19 booster vaccination questions answered

When am I allowed to have my booster?

You can have your booster Covid-19 vaccine once you are three months past your second vaccine dose. The gap was previously six months but has now been reduced.

Who is eligible for a booster?

Anyone aged 18 and over is now eligible for a booster. People aged 16-17 with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe Covid-19 are also eligible for a booster. The NHS will aim to vaccinate people in order of clinical priority.

Can I have a booster if I’ve never been vaccinated?

You can’t have a booster until you are three months past your second Covid-19 vaccination. If you have not been vaccinated, you will need to have your first two vaccine doses eight week apart and then get your booster three months after your second dose People who are not vaccinated are at much greater risk of a serious Covid-19 illness, hospitalisation and death. So please do come forwards for vaccination if you are currently unvaccinated.

Does anything stop me from receiving a booster? (e.g., you need to wait if you’ve have Covid recently or received a flu jab)

If you have recently had another vaccine (e.g., flu) and your Covid-19 vaccine booster is due, you should still go ahead with this rather than delay your booster. Getting your booster promptly means that there is then not a delay in getting further protection from the booster. The only exception to this is the shingles vaccine, where a seven day interval should be observed between the vaccines.

Are booster jabs safe for everyone?

Research has shown that Covid-19 vaccines, including boosters, are very safe with only a very small risk of serious side-effects. The risks from a Covid-19 infection are far higher than from vaccination.

Why are boosters all of a sudden more urgent?

The immunity provided by Covid-19 vaccines begins to weaken after a few months. A booster vaccine substantially increase people’s protection from serious illness. Another reason why boosters have become more important is that the UK is now facing a wave of infection from a new Coronavirus variant, Omicron, which is more infectious than the previous Delta variant. Two doses of vaccines work less well against Omicron than Delta. A booster dose will provide a lot more protection against Omicron than provided by two doses. Ensuring that people receive a booster dose will reduce the number of people who are seriously from Covid-19, and keep down deaths and pressures on the NHS.

Can pregnant women have boosters?

Pregnant women are eligible for boosters and should get one when this is due. The vaccines being used for boosters have been shown to be safe during pregnancy for both the mother and baby.

Where can I get my Covid booster?

Boosters are available from a range of sites. This includes NHS vaccine centres, GP surgeries and pharmacies. You will need to check where the sites are in your local area as not all hospitals, pharmacies and GP surgeries are offering boosters.

Do I need to book or can I go to walk-in centre?

In the past, it was possible to go to a walk-in centre for a Covid-19 vaccination. However, because of the very high demand that there will now be for boosters, you may find that there is a very long queue or that you are turned away if you attend without an appointment.

What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant about the booster?

Covid-19 is a very serious illness. Vaccines are a safe way to protect yourself from these risks. By getting vaccinated, you are also helping to protect others – such as older family members or family members who are clinically vulnerable because of their medical problems. Vaccines have been fully tested and were shown to be safe and effective in clinical trials before they went into general use. We have now given many billions of vaccine doses globally, so we have excellent data in their safety and effectiveness from countries across the world.

A version of this article was first published in the Daily Mirror.