Booster programme

Updated 21 March 2022

Spring boosters

People aged 75 and over, care home residents and people with weakened immune systems are now being offered their Spring Booster. This follows the recommendation from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) that an extra dose should be offered to these groups to make sure those at greatest risk continue to have high levels of protection against COVID-19.

If you are eligible for an extra booster, the NHS will contact you when it is your turn with details of how to make an appointment. People are being prioritised according to when their had their previous booster and by clinical need so please wait to hear and do not contact your GP practice or other NHS services. Everyone who is eligible will be contacted between 21 March and early Summer, depending on when they had their last booster.

Once invited, people will be able to book an appointment at a convenient vaccination centre. Some people may also be contacted by their GP practice and offered an appointment but not all GP services are offering this service so please only contact your GP about a spring booster if you receive an invitation.

If you haven’t had your previous booster, you can visit www.nhs.uk/covid-booster or call 119 to book an appointment or see here for details of local walk-in clinics.

Frequently Asked Questions

A guide to the spring booster for those aged 75 years and older residents in care homes

Booster programme

Booster dose of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine

A booster dose of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine helps improve the protection you have from your first 2 doses of the vaccine.

It helps give you longer-term protection against getting seriously ill from COVID-19.

Who can get a COVID-19 booster dose

Everyone aged 16 and over who had a 2nd dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at least 3 months ago can get a booster dose.

Some children aged 12 to 15 are eligible for a booster dose if either:

  • they live with someone who has a weakened immune system (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)
  • they have a condition that means they’re at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19

Conditions that mean they may be at high risk are:

  • a severe problem with the brain or nerves, such as cerebral palsy
  • Down’s syndrome
  • severe or multiple learning disabilities (or they’re on the learning disability register)
  • a condition that means they’re more likely to get infections (such as some genetic conditions or types of cancer)

If you had a 3rd dose of the COVID-19 vaccine because you have or had a weakened immune system, you can get a booster dose from 3 months after your 3rd dose.

How and when to get your COVID-19 booster dose

If you’re eligible, you can get a booster dose at least 3 months after you had your 2nd dose.

If you’re aged 16 or over you can:

  • book a vaccination appointment online for an appointment at a vaccination centre or pharmacy
  • go to a walk-in vaccination site to get vaccinated without needing an appointment
  • wait to be contacted by a local NHS service such as a GP surgery and book an appointment with them
  • Eligible children aged 12 to 15 can go to a walk-in vaccination site or wait to be contacted by a local NHS service.

Note:

If you had a 3rd dose of the COVID-19 vaccine because you have or had a weakened immune system, your GP or hospital specialist will invite you for your booster dose when it’s due.

If you have a letter from your GP or hospital specialist inviting you for your 3rd dose, you can get your booster at a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination site. You’ll need to bring your letter with you.

Book your vaccination appointment online

You can pre-book your booster dose online if you’re aged 16 or over and it’s been 2 months (61 days) since you had your 2nd dose.

You’ll be offered appointment dates from 3 months after the date of your 2nd dose.

Please do not contact your GP practice for an appointment or information on the booster rollout. Practices are working together to offer vaccinations and will contact patients when it is their turn or people can choose to book an appointment at a different centre through the National Booking Service.

Book your COVID-19 booster dose appointment

Find a walk-in vaccination site

You can get your booster dose at a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination site if you had your 2nd dose at least 3 months ago and you are:

  • aged 16 or over
  • aged 12 to 15 and you have a condition that means you’re at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 – you’ll need to bring your letter, text or email inviting you to get your booster dose or a letter from your GP or hospital specialist about your condition
  • aged 12 to 15 and you live with someone who has a weakened immune system – you’ll need to bring your letter, text or email inviting you to get your booster dose, or a letter from the GP or hospital specialist of the person you live with confirming that anyone they live with should get a booster dose

Please note that not all walk-in sites are currently offering booster doses for children aged 12 to 15. More sites will become available over time. Please do not go to walk-in vaccination services or try to book an appointment until it has been announced that services are ready to offer boosters to this age group. Please do not come if you have Covid symptoms or it has been less than 28 days since you tested positive.

Please check our walk-in page for the latest clinics. 

Which COVID-19 vaccine will I get?

Most people will be offered a booster dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine or Moderna vaccine.

This means your booster dose may be different from the vaccines you had for your 1st and 2nd doses.

Some people may be offered a booster dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine if they cannot have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.

COVID-19 booster dose and flu vaccine

Some people who can get a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine are also eligible for the annual flu vaccine.

If you are offered both vaccines, it’s safe to have them at the same time.

FAQs

Is there anyone who shouldn’t have the 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 doctor.

What are the common side effects?

As with your previous dose the common side effects are the same for all COVID-19 vaccines used in the UK, and include:

  • having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection. This tends to be worst around 1 to 2 days after the vaccine
  • feeling tired
  • headache
  • general aches, or mild flu like symptoms

Rare side effects

You should seek medical advice urgently if, after vaccination, you experience:

  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering, or pounding heart

I haven’t yet had the COVID-19 vaccination, can I still get my first jabs?

Yes, you can still get your first or second vaccination if you haven’t had yours yet. Everyone aged 16 and over can book their vaccination using the online NHS booking service or by calling 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week.

Can I get the booster if I am pregnant?

If you are pregnant you can receive a booster at least three months after your second dose. The NHS will contact you when it is your turn.

Can you still catch COVID-19 after having a booster?

The COVID-19 vaccination will reduce the chance of you suffering from COVID-19 disease. It may take a few days for your body to build up some protection from the booster. Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective – some people may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, but this should be less severe.