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How people over the age of 18 will be offered a COVID-19 booster dose.

First published:
25 October 2021
Last updated:

Overview

How to get my booster

Health boards are now contacting all eligible adults for their booster appointments.

We will continue to vaccinate in priority order in line with JCVI advice (gov.uk). This means we will prioritise older adults and those in a COVID-19 at-risk group.

Please take the appointment offered where possible.

In addition, walk-in clinics may operate in some areas for certain groups. 

Further details will be updated regularly on local health board websites and social media.

You do not need to contact your health board unless you need to rebook. 

Please do not contact your GP to ask about vaccination appointments.

Timing of booster vaccine

You will be offered a booster vaccine at least 3 months after your second dose.

Booster doses are being rolled out in the same order as the initial vaccination programme. This will maximise protection for those who are most vulnerable to serious infection first. 

If 3 months has passed since your second dose, it does not mean you are overdue your booster. Your health board will be in touch as soon as it is your turn.

Which vaccine will I be given?

The JCVI has recommended the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine for the booster programme.

The JCVI reviewed data on booster responses from different combinations of COVID-19 vaccines. This has shown both these vaccines are well tolerated as a booster dose and will provide a strong immune response.

This is irrespective of which vaccine was given as a primary dose.

Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as my flu vaccine?

There may be opportunities to give the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccines at the same time, but only where timing and logistics allow us to do this. 

Booster vaccination in care homes

Care homes for older adults

We are prioritising residents in care homes for older adults (aged 65 and over) for COVID-19 booster vaccinations. This is because these adults are at very high risk of severe disease and mortality (gov.uk). Therefore they are the highest priority for vaccination.

Booster vaccinations for younger adults in long-stay nursing and residential care settings

Booster vaccinations for younger adults in long-stay nursing and residential care settings.

Care home residents where the majority of residents are under 65 years are also eligible for a booster this autumn. They are also at a greater risk from the virus and are listed within the ‘underlying conditions’ group (gov.uk)

They will receive a booster at a later stage, having had their second dose more recently.

Booster vaccines for frontline health and social care workers

Eligible frontline health and social care workers are also being prioritised first for a booster vaccine. This is to protect workers at high risk of exposure who may also expose vulnerable individuals whilst providing care.

Protecting frontline health and social care workers protects the health and social care service. It also recognises the risks that they face.

Full details on occupations eligible are contained in the Green book COVID-19 chapter 14a (gov.uk).

We published additional detailed guidance on who was regarded as a frontline social care worker for eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination in Phase 1. This guidance is still valid.

Health boards and their respective social care colleagues are responsible for identifying eligible health and social care workers. They should ensure that eligibility is consistently applied across the system. This should be irrespective of the setting in which staff work.

Booster vaccines for homeless people

People who are or have recently experienced homelessness will be offered a booster dose first, as advised by the JCVI. They should be prioritised for protection due to their health vulnerabilities (gov.uk).

Health boards are identifying people who are eligible. Outreach teams and pop up clinics are then able to offer individuals the vaccines wherever they may be at the time. 

Booster vaccines for individuals with a learning disability or severe mental illness

Individuals who were eligible and prioritised in Phase 1 at the beginning of the programme will also be offered a booster first. 

This includes:

  • Individuals with a severe/profound learning disability
  • individuals with schizophrenia
  • individuals with bipolar disorder
  • individuals with any mental illness that causes severe functional impairment

This is because individuals in this group are at increased risk of being severely ill if they contract COVID-19 and should be protected (gov.uk).

Health boards are responsible for delivering the vaccine programme alongside partner 

We published guidance in Phase 1 on criteria for priority group 6 COVID-19 vaccination. This explains the criteria for identifying a learning disability or severe mental illness.

Read additional information for eligible individuals (mencap.org.uk) 

People with underlying health conditions

Individuals who are:

  • clinically extremely vulnerable or
  • have underlying conditions and were prioritised in Phase 1

 will be offered an additional booster vaccine first.

This is because they have an increased risk of severe disease and mortality from COVID-19.

Who is classed as having an underlying health condition?

The JCVI priority list guidance (gov.uk) include groups at higher risk, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable or have underlying conditions.

Full details are contained in table 3 on pages 14-15 of the green book chapter 14a (gov.uk).

Health boards will identify those eligible for booster vaccines via GP clinical systems.  

People with asthma

People with chronic respiratory disease will be prioritised for a booster vaccine. This includes people with 'poorly-controlled asthma' 

This is defined in the Green Book (page 14) as:

  • requiring continuous or repeated use of systemic steroids or
  • with previous exacerbations requiring hospital admission

This updated guidance on 16 September was part of a review of the risk of adverse outcomes from COVID-19 in people with asthma. This review involved the British Thoracic Society and academic partners. 

Unpaid carers

Adult unpaid carers who were eligible and prioritised in Phase 1 will be prioritised for a COVID-19 booster vaccination. This is to protect the vulnerable person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill.

You do not have to do anything if all of the following apply:

  • you are already registered as an unpaid carer with your GP
  • you were eligible in phase 1 under this category
  • you have received your first and second doses

You will be contacted 3 months after your second dose for your booster appointment. 

If you:

  • have not previously registered as an unpaid carer or
  • recently taken on a new caring role and are not eligible in any of the other categories, 

Contact your local health board to let them know.

The JVCI priority list guidance sets out groups at higher risk (gov.uk).

Read our guidance on who was regarded as an unpaid carer for eligibility for Phase 1 of our COVID-19 vaccination programme. 

Third primary and booster vaccination doses for immunosuppressed people

Adults and children aged 12 and over with a severely weakened immune system are being offered a third COVID-19 vaccine dose. This completes their primary vaccine course.

Once they have completed their 3 dose primary course, they will be offered a booster vaccination. There needs to be a minimum of 3 months between the third primary vaccination and the booster vaccination.

Household contacts of immunosuppressed people

Adult household contacts of the immunosuppressed will also be prioritised for a booster dose.

Those who are immunosuppressed have a weaker immune system to fight infections naturally. They are more likely to have poorer outcomes following COVID-19 infection. They also may have an insufficient response to the COVID-19 vaccines. 

Vaccinating household contacts will help limit the spread of the virus. This applies to individuals who expect to share living accommodation on most days.  (Where close contact is unavoidable) with individuals who are immunosuppressed.

How do I get my booster vaccine?    

You will be contacted automatically by your health board when it is your turn if: 

  • you are an adult (16+) household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed
  • were eligible and registered in phase 1 under this category, and 
  • have received your first and second doses

You are eligible for a booster vaccine 3 months after your initial dose if you are:

If you don’t receive an appointment within this timeframe contact your health board.