Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Covid booster jab: When will I get the third vaccine dose?

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A Covid booster vaccination hub with someone receiving a vaccine
Covid boosters are being rolled out with everybody eligible set to be invited for one before Christmas (Picture: PA)

The Covid booster jab campaign is officially underway, with certain groups of people being targeted for a third dose of vaccine to give them further protection against the virus.

Millions of over-50s, NHS and social care staff and clinically vulnerable people will be invited for a booster shot in the coming months – with health workers and the elderly, as well as those in care homes, among the first to receive their top-up jab.

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If you qualify for a Covid booster you might be wondering when it will be your turn to receive it – and if you can book one yet.

When will I get my Covid booster?

The precise timeline of when you might get your booster hasn’t been established – but the Government is working its way through the priority groups now, with those at greatest risk from Covid complications first in line for the top-ups.

It’s been recommended that those receiving a booster should have the jab at least six months after they had their second vaccine dose.

So if, for example, you had your second jab in June, you may have to wait until closer to Christmas to get your booster

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In stage one of the rollout a third Covid-19 booster dose and the flu jab should be offered to:

  • People who are immunosuppressed
  • People living in elderly care homes
  • The over-70s
  • People considered clinically extremely vulnerable
  • Frontline health and social care workers

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As with the previous vaccine rollout, frontline health workers and care home residents have been among the first to receive their jabs, with others becoming eligible depending on when they had their first round of vaccines.

Stage two should include:

  • The over-50s
  • Over-16s who are in a Covid-19 at-risk group or who already qualify for the annual flu jab
  • The adult household contacts of immunosuppressed people

Although there is no date yet for when those in stage two will be called for their jab, but- with Boris Johnson saying that all those aged 50 and over in the UK and in priority groups should have been offered a booster by Christmas.

The JCVI has not yet announced whether it recommends booster jabs for the under-50s – but if it does, it’s unlikely that these will begin before 2022.

How to book your Covid booster appointment

A man receives a Covid booster
The jabs will be offered to certain age groups and people with certain conditions (Picture: AP)

You can book your Covid booster appointment via the NHS website.

However you can only do so if you are a frontline health or social care worker, or if you are in one of the eligible groups and have been invited to do so by the NHS.

You’ll only be able to book the appointment if it’s been more than 180 days since your last vaccine.

If you have recently had Covid, you’ll need to wait at least 28 days after the onset of symptoms before having your jab.

This is to allow time to recover from the infection, as Covid symptoms can worsen in the second week of infection – and could be confused with side effects from the vaccine if it were given at the same time.

What is the recommended gap between Covid vaccines?

The current recommended time between doses is around eight-12 weeks.

Researchers at Oxford University concluded that this gap between doses allows for the body to generate more antibodies to prevent the virus from binding itself to cells in the body.

The research also revealed that while antibody levels may dip between doses, T-cells – which also help with immunity against Covid – remain high during this time.

There may be some cases where a shorter gap between doses would be preferable – such as in the case of people who are the recipients of organ transplants, or those suffering from illnesses such as cancer.

However, experts have suggested people should avoid getting their second jab sooner, as leaving eight to 12 weeks between them will mean they have protection for longer.

MORE : Unvaccinated pregnant woman urges others to get Covid jab after being in coma

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