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Booster

If you were 2nd jabbed before 28 May, you can now come forward for your vaccination, read on to learn more.

Monday 15 November – extension to the booster vaccination programme

Booster doses for over 40s – The extension of booster jabs to those aged 40-49 (cohort 10) was recommended by the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on Monday 15 November. The NHS will contact people in this age group directly to let them know when it is their turn to get their booster vaccine, but the National Booking Service has now been enabled so that bookings by this newly eligible group can be made online or calling 119.

COVID-19 Vaccination Booster Programme

The COVID-19 vaccination booster programme is now live across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), has said that for the 2021 COVID-19 vaccination programme, the following people should be offered a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the same order as the first part of the vaccination programme.

  • those living in residential care homes for older adults
  • all adults aged 40 years or over
  • frontline health and social care workers
  • all those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 (as set out in the green book), and adult carers
  • adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals

The JCVI advises that the booster vaccine dose should be offered no earlier than six months after completion of the first course of vaccination.

The NHS has been busy preparing for a COVID-19 vaccine booster programme and, now JCVI guidance has been published and the programme has been approved by government, NHS England and NHS Improvement has set out immediate next steps with a view to starting vaccination rollout, which has now commenced in BLMK.

The NHS will contact people when it is their turn for the booster however, a number of sites are now offering the option to walk in provided they meet the criteria for a booster vaccination and it has been six months (182 days) since their second dose of the vaccination. If you’re eligible, you can also pre-book your COVID-19 booster appointment from five months (152 days) after your second dose. Visit www.nhs.uk/book-covid-booster or call 119 to book.

Booster walk-in sessions

As long as you have proof that there have been at least six months (182 days) since your second vaccine, you can now walk into a variety of locations across BLMK to get your COVID-19 booster vaccination. We have plenty of sites that are offering drop in sessions with no appointment needed. Visit our vaccination drop-in page for the latest sites and their opening hours.

Frontline NHS Volunteers can now self-refer for Boosters at Vaccination Centres

Please note that frontline, patient-facing volunteers are now eligible for a booster vaccination as they are classed as ‘frontline healthcare workers’. This means they can self-declare and present themselves at vaccination centres, alongside other frontline healthcare workers.

Read more details and further information about how this verification process will work.

FAQs:

What is the COVID-19 booster programme?

The COVID-19 booster programme is the rollout of an additional vaccine dose to people who have previously received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to ensure continued protection for those most at risk from COVID-19.

Why is the COVID-19 booster programme needed?

We want to provide the people that are most likely to become seriously ill from COVID-19 and those who care for them with the best possible protection for this winter. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has reviewed available data and provided advice that COVID-19 boosters are first offered to the most vulnerable in order to provide maximum protection during the Winter months.

The flu vaccination programme is now running which protects people from serious complications from getting flu, so we would also encourage people that are eligible for a COVID-19 booster to also get their flu vaccination. More information on the flu vaccination is at www.nhs.uk/flujab

Who is eligible for the COVID-19 booster vaccine?

The following people should be offered a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in the same order as the first part of the vaccination programme.

  • those living in residential care homes for older adults
  • all adults aged 40 years or over
  • frontline health and social care workers
  • all those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 (as set out in the green book), and adult carers
  • adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals

The JCVI advises that the booster vaccine dose should be offered no earlier than six months after completion of the first course of vaccination.

I am severely immunosuppressed. When will I get my booster?

JCVI have advised that individual who are severely immunosuppressed get an additional third dose of vaccine as part of their primary course of immunisation.  This offer is separate to the booster programme. More information is available here: JCVI issues advice on third dose vaccination for severely immunosuppressed – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Is there anyone that 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.

If I’m eligible when and where can I get my vaccination?

The NHS will let eligible people know to have their booster vaccine when it is their turn. A number of sites are now offering the option to walk in provided they meet the criteria for a booster vaccination. If you’re eligible, you can pre-book your COVID-19 booster appointment from five months (152 days) after your second dose. Visit www.nhs.uk/book-covid-booster or call 119 to book.

The JCVI advises that the booster vaccine dose should be offered no earlier than six months (182 days) after having the second dose of the vaccination. Like your previous doses, the vaccine will be given in your upper arm.

People will be offered the vaccine through a range of services. Primary care teams will vaccinate care home staff and residents. Health and social care staff will be directed to book their appointments through employers and members of the public will be invited to get their booster through a GP-led service and/or be contacted by the NHS to book through the national COVID-19 vaccination booking service to get their vaccination in a designated pharmacy, vaccination centre or GP-led service.

Can I choose where I go to have my booster jab?

All those who are eligible can wait to be contacted to have their booster jab at a local vaccination site in BLMK.  People will be contacted directly to be offered a suitable and convenient slot to receive their booster vaccine. If an invitation is received but you have already booked a booster vaccination, you do not need to do anything else – please ignore this and attend for the vaccination as per your appointment.

A number of sites are now offering the option to walk in provided they meet the criteria for a booster vaccination. If you’re eligible, you can pre-book your COVID-19 booster appointment from five months (152 days) after your second dose. Visit www.nhs.uk/book-covid-booster or call 119 to book.

We urge anyone who has NOT already received a COVID-19 vaccination (first or second dose) to get this as soon as possible.

Can I have my Flu jab with my booster jab?

The flu jab can be given at the same time as the booster vaccine. At this time not all vaccination clinics have both flu and COVID vaccines available to give at the same time so you may be asked to attend separate appointments.

This year it’s extra important to get your flu jab if you’re offered one. There are concerns that flu levels could be very high this winter. Thanks to social distancing and other measures taken to stop the spread of COVID-19, flu levels were extremely low last winter. As a result, it’s expected people will have a lower level of immunity against the flu this winter. Precautions such as washing your hands can limit the spread of many infectious diseases, including flu.

Why is a different vaccine being given for the booster jab?

In line with JCVI and government guidance, you will be given a booster dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. You will be offered the right vaccine for you which may be the same or different from the vaccines that you had before.

If you have been advised to have the Astra Zeneca booster for clinical reasons, you can find booking details on our drop-in page.

Why aren’t most younger people being offered a booster?

As most younger adults will only have received their second COVID-19 vaccine dose in late summer or early autumn, the benefits of booster vaccination in this group will be considered at a later time when more information is available. In general, younger, healthy individuals may be expected to generate stronger vaccine-induced immune responses from primary course vaccination compared to older individuals.

Will there be any side effects from the Booster vaccine?

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

Can you still catch COVID-19 after having the vaccine?

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.

The COVID-19 booster and the flu vaccine can be given on the same day and for people that are eligible for both, there may be opportunities to have both together. We would encourage you to get your vaccinations as soon as possible and get fully protected rather than waiting as it may not always be possible to get them together.

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

Everyone that is eligible that hasn’t already had their first or second COVID-19 vaccination will still be able to get vaccinated, even when the COVID-19 booster programme begins. This may be through a GP-led service or by booking through the NHS COVID-19 Vaccination national booking service.

Everyone aged 18 and over can book their initial COVID-19 vaccination through the NHS booking service (call 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 and in one of the groups that the JCVI has recommended for the boosters, you are eligible to receive a booster, no earlier than six months after completion of the first course of vaccination. The NHS will contact you when it is your turn.

Do I need to have had my booster dose of the covid vaccine, and proof of it, to obtain a covid pass for travel or attendance at events?

Boosters and third doses now appear on the COVID Pass in England, making it easy for people to show their vaccine status when travelling abroad. In the meantime, however, you only need to have proof of your first and second dose to obtain a COVID pass required for events and travel.

Booster and third doses will not be added to the domestic COVID Pass as it is not a current requirement for individuals to receive booster doses to qualify as fully vaccinated. It will also not be necessary to show evidence of a booster for travel into England at this time.

How you can help

Please do not call your GP surgery / local doctor about this as we need to keep the phone lines free to help patients requiring appointments and urgent medical care. We will regularly update information on our web pages and social media channels so please keep checking.