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Booster (third dose) COVID-19 vaccinations

PLEASE NOTE:  Walk-in vaccination clinics are still providing first and second doses and cannot currently give booster vaccinations.

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 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 50 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 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 NHS is contacting all eligible patients within these groups to invite them to make an appointment or a booster – BUT you don’t need to wait to be contacted.  You can make an appointment for a booster via the National Booking Service NBS if you are eligible within the groups listed above.

Go to the NHS national booking service online at nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or call 119 (free), between 7am and 11pm seven days a week.

Please do not contact your GP practice (local doctor) or attend a walk in clinic.  Booster vaccines are by appointment only for eligible patients.  Walk in clinics are NOT providing booster vaccinations.

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 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.

It has been recommended that people will have the Pfizer or a half dose of the Moderna vaccine for their booster, even if they had a different vaccine previously.

We need as many people as possible double-vaccinated and having received a 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-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 booster vaccine as soon as they are eligible / invited to do so.

The booster (third) covid vaccine and 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


Common questions

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

Those 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: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/jcvi-issues-advice-on-third-dose-vaccination-for-severely-immunosuppressed

Letters have been sent to individuals from the NHS in Norfolk and Waveney providing a walk-in option for their third primary dose. Instead of waiting for GP practices to invite these individuals forward, you can visit a walk-in centre.

If you have received a letter from the NHS saying you need a ‘third primary dose’, you can go to one of the following walk-in clinics. You should wait eight weeks after your second dose: https://apps.norfolk.gov.uk/Primary3. Please take your letter with you when you attend a walk-in clinic.

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 JCVI advises that the booster vaccine dose should be offered no earlier than six months after having the second dose of the vaccination. The NHS will let eligible people know to have their booster vaccine when it is their turn.

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 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 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.

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 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.

Can I have the booster if I haven’t completed the first vaccination course?

No, you need to finish the first course of your vaccination.

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 18 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). 

Anyone aged 16 and over can attend a walk in clinic that is offering the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine - see the full list of available clinics here: https://apps.norfolk.gov.uk/WalkIn/Form/AllAvailableClinics

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.

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