A third Covid shot is coming your way this winter as two jabs may not give us sufficient protection, or at least not in the long term.
Booster jabs are being offered as part of a ramped-up vaccine campaign in England and City A.M. caught up with Phil Day, superintendent pharmacist at Pharmacy2U, to discuss what Londoners can expect in the months to come.
First of all, why should I get the Covid-19 booster jab?
Well, to maintain a high level of protection through the colder months and the flu season, a booster jab is recommended and is currently being offered to those at the greatest risk of serious problems from Covid-19. A booster vaccine will prolong your protection and reduce the chance of hospitalisation.
How long since your second dose do you have to wait before having your booster?
You should have the booster no earlier than 6 months after you received your second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. The NHS will invite you for your booster dose when it’s time.”
Which vaccine is given for the Covid-19 booster?
The NHS advises that the Pfizer vaccine should be given for the booster dose, regardless of which vaccine type you received for your first and second doses; clinical trials have shown this is well tolerated and provides a strong booster response.
Alternatively, a half-dose of the Moderna vaccine may be given; or if you’re unable to receive either of these vaccines, for example due to allergies, the AstraZeneca vaccine may be given to those who received it previously.
Who is currently eligible for the booster vaccine?
The booster vaccine is being offered to the most vulnerable people first, following the same pattern we saw at the start of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
Therefore, those who are currently eligible to receive the booster vaccine include people in these categories, whose second Covid-19 vaccine dose was given over six months ago:
- all adults aged 50 years or over
- frontline health and social care workers
- those living in residential care 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, and adult carers
- adult household contacts of immunosuppressed people
The NHS will announce when it’s your turn to have the vaccine or booster.
Can you still catch Covid-19 after having the booster vaccine?
The vaccine will reduce the chance of you catching Covid-19, and the chance of you becoming seriously ill if you do catch it. Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective, and some people may still catch Covid-19 and display symptoms despite having a vaccination, but they will be less severe in the majority of cases.
Finally, can I have the flu vaccine at the same time as my Covid booster?
Yes. Clinical trials have shown that there is no reduction in immune response to either vaccine when they are given at the same time, and it is safe to administer both injections together; they will usually be given in different arms.