Information on the Spring booster campaign
Who is the booster being offered to?
COVID-19 is more serious in older people and in people with certain underlying health conditions.
For these reasons, people aged 75 years and over, those in care homes, and those aged 5 years and over with a weakened immune system are being offered a spring booster of COVID-19 vaccine.
What vaccine will I be offered?
You will be given a booster dose of a vaccine made by Pfizer, Moderna or Sanofi and approved in the UK. These vaccines have been updated since the original vaccines and target different COVID-19 variants.
For a very small number of people another vaccine product may be advised by your doctor.
These updated vaccines boost protection well, and give slightly higher levels of antibody against the more recent strains of COVID-19 (Omicron) than the vaccines you would have received previously.
As we cannot predict which variants of COVID-19 will be circulating this spring and summer, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) have concluded that all of these vaccines can be used and that no one should delay vaccination to receive a different vaccine.
What are the side effects?
Common side effects
As with your previous dose, the common side effects are the same for all COVID-19 vaccines, including the updated vaccines being used this spring 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
- general aches or mild flu-like symptoms
You can rest and take paracetamol (follow the dose advice in the packaging) to help you feel better.
Symptoms following vaccination normally last less than a week. If your symptoms seem to get worse or if you are concerned, you should contact your GP or Specialist. You can also report suspected side effects of vaccines and medicines through the Yellow Card scheme.
Serious side effetcs
Cases of inflammation of the heart (called myocarditis or pericarditis) have been reported very rarely after the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
These cases have been seen mostly in younger men and within several days of vaccination. Most of these people recovered and felt better following rest and simple treatments.
You should seek medical advice urgently if, after vaccination, you experience:
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
- eelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heart
If you had serious side effects after any previous dose you may be advised to avoid or delay further vaccination. You should discuss this with your doctor or specialist.
How to opt out of the Spring booster programme
You can opt out of the vaccination programme.
Can you still catch covid-19 after having the vaccine?
The COVID-19 vaccination will reduce the chance of you becoming severely unwell from the virus. It may take a few days for your body to build up some extra 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.
If you have not had all your vaccinations
If you have not yet had either of your first two doses of the vaccine you should have them as soon as possible.
If you missed your first booster or third dose (for those with weakened immune system), you should have them as soon as possible. If you are eligible and you have missed an earlier booster, you should have a dose this Spring to catch up. You will not need another dose during the Summer.
What should you do if you are not well on the day of your appointment?
If you are unwell, wait until you have recovered to have your vaccine. You should not attend an appointment if you have a fever or think you might be infectious to others. Call 111 to cancel and rebook your appointment.
Will I have to wait after my vaccine?
If you have a history of allergies, or if you had a reaction immediately after a previous dose, you may be advised to stay for 15 minutes after the vaccine. Please make sure you tell the Vaccinator on arrival at your appointment.