Booster COVID-19 vaccinations
Update following the 30 November national announcement
Local GP practices and NHS vaccination clinics are awaiting further clinical and operational guidance from NHS England BEFORE we can implement the changes to eligibility for booster vaccinations following recent national announcements.
Please note: Until we have the new clinical guidance in place we can only currently provide booster vaccinations to those who had their second dose six months ago and are:
- aged 40 years or over
- frontline health and social care workers (including those who work in residential and nursing homes for older adults)
- aged 16-39 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 or adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals.
We will let you know as soon as we can provide boosters sooner or to younger age groups. Please do not contact your GP practice or visit a walk in vaccination clinic if you are under 40 years old or have had your second dose within six months as we will not be able to provide you with a booster yet.
More information on 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. We want to make sure that the most vulnerable people maintain high levels of protection against covid as we go into winter.
Covid-19 booster jabs are being offered to eligible patients across the UK from September 2021, in line with national and JCVI guidance.
The guidance states that the following people should be offered a booster (third) 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 including those who work in residential and nursing homes for older adults
- all those aged 16 to 39 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
Eligible patients can
- Make an appointment for a booster via the NHS national booking service online at nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or call 119 (free), between 7am and 11pm seven days a week
- Visit a local walk in vaccination site offering booster vaccinations.
COVID-19 boosters are required because there are some signs that protection offered by the vaccine may start dropping off several months after the second dose - with the most vulnerable groups most at risk of this reduction in protection.
The COVID-19 booster must be given six months (182 days) after your second dose (not before). An interval of six months (182 days) between the second dose and the booster vaccine is considered the most effective for boosting protection.
Eligible patients can now pre-book their COVID-19 booster vaccine one month prior to them being due for their COVID-19 booster (six months since second dose).
This does not mean you will get your COVID-19 booster earlier than the six month interval, it simply means you can book an appointment earlier.
It has been recommended that people will have the Pfizer or a half dose of the Moderna vaccine for their COVID-19 booster, even if they had a different vaccine previously.
We need as many people as possible double-vaccinated and having received a COVID-19 booster as we go into winter to avoid serious illness and hospitalisations as the weather turns colder. The NHS is always under additional pressure during the autumn and winter as respiratory infections take hold. Reducing COVID-19 related hospital admissions will help the NHS cope better during the winter months and reduce disruption to routine and planned care.
We are asking people to make an appointment for their COVID-19 booster vaccine as soon as they are eligible / invited to do so.
The COVID-19 Booster vaccine can be given alongside the flu vaccination BUT you may not get your booster and flu jab at the same appointment. You may have to attend two different appointments for these vaccinations. The flu vaccination programme protects people from serious complications from getting flu, so we would also encourage people that are eligible for a COVID-19 booster to also have their flu vaccination. More information on the flu vaccination is at www.nhs.uk/flujab
Housebound vaccinations and home visits
GP practices across Norfolk and Waveney are under immense pressure to deliver primary care services and GP appointments alongside the roll out of the seasonal flu programme and COVID-19 vaccination boosters.
Local health teams will provide home visits for those patients who have no other alternative due to immobility or very serious ongoing health conditions. But we are asking all patients who are able to do so to attend their surgery, vaccination site or community pharmacy for flu or booster vaccinations rather than requesting a home visit.
If you require additional support to attend a vaccination site please ask a family member or friend to transport and accompany you to your booster or flu jab appointment.
If this support is unavailable to you there are a number of community transport options you can consider through the local authority and local voluntary sector.
Information and support for housebound patients who may be able to travel to a vaccination site for their COVID-19 booster
If you are able to attend a local vaccination centre, please book your vaccine through the NHS national booking service online at nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or telephone 119 (free), between 7am and 11pm seven days a week.
For patients who are unable to find support through family or friends, please see below options for community transport to your appointment:
Norfolk community transport information:
Support from Caring Together is available for carers and the people they look after to attend booster vaccination appointments. Norfolk patients can access this support by:
- Calling Caring Together on 0345 241 0954
- Completing the online form here: https://www.caringtogether.org/coronavirus-covid-19/support-for-carers-to-attend-covid-19-vaccinations
Is there anyone that shouldn’t have the COVID-19 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 JCVI advises that the booster vaccine dose should be offered no earlier than six months after having the second dose of the vaccination.
Like the previous doses, the vaccine will be given in your upper arm. People will be offered the vaccine through a range of services. You may be invited to get a booster through a GP-led service and/or be contacted by the NHS to book an appointment at a designated pharmacy, vaccination centre or GP-led service through the national COVID-19 vaccination booking service (NBS).
When and how will health and care staff get a COVID-19 booster?
Primary care teams will vaccinate care home staff and residents. Health and social care staff will be directed to book their appointments through their employers.
Why aren’t most younger people being offered a COVID-19 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.
What type of vaccine will the COVID-19 booster be? What if it’s different to the one I have had?
After reviewing data on booster responses from different combinations of COVID-19 vaccines, JCVI advises a preference for mRNA vaccines eg. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna irrespective of which type of vaccine was used for the first and second doses.
There is good evidence that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is well tolerated as a booster dose and will provide a strong booster response. Alternatively, individuals may be offered a half dose of the Moderna vaccine, which should be well tolerated and is also likely to provide a strong booster response. A half dose of Moderna vaccine is advised over a full dose due to the levels of reactogenicity (side effects) seen following boosting with a full dose in clinical trials.
Where mRNA vaccines cannot be offered e.g. due to contraindication, vaccination with the AstraZeneca vaccine may be considered for those who received AstraZeneca vaccine in the primary course.
Can you still catch COVID-19 after having the vaccine?
The COVID-19 vaccination will reduce the chance of you suffering from COVID-19 related disease. It may take a few days for your body to build up some protection from the booster. Some people may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, but the symptoms should be less severe.
Can I get the flu and COVID-19 booster vaccine at the same time?
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 can still get vaccinated.
Everyone aged 16 and over can book their initial COVID-19 vaccinations through the NHS booking service (call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week) or go to walk in clinic – search the list here