All adults in the UK will be offered a Covid booster, the government has announced.
Children ages 12 to 15 will also receive a second dose of vaccine.
Second blows for children and reinforcements for millions
The government has announced a number of changes, amid concern over a new variant of Covid:
People aged 18 to 39 will be offered reinforcements. Reinforcements will be prioritized according to age and for risk groups. The minimum distance between receiving a second dose of Covid vaccine and booster will be reduced by half to three months. Children 12 to 15 years of age will be offered a second dose, three months after the first. People with severe immunosuppression will be offered a fourth dose of the vaccine as a booster. The booster will be the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
England’s deputy medical director, Jonathan Van-Tam, said people should show up “by the time the NHS calls you,” to help combat the Omicron variant.
What is a booster?
A booster is an additional dose of the Covid vaccine, to prolong protection.
How can I get a booster?
You can expect to be contacted or, depending on where you live in the UK, book online or call 119.
Extending reinforcements to millions more is a “big step forward,” says Health Secretary Sajid Javid. He said there will be more details on how people will be invited to a third time in the coming days.
Currently, the NHS England website still says people have to wait 152 days after receiving the second vaccine before booking a booster.
Will the reinforcement be effective against Omicron?
However, compared to other variants of Covid, such as Delta, vaccines have still been able to reduce the risk of serious illness.
How many people have had a boost
People with all three vaccines have reached 31%
However, 7.8 million people received the second dose at least six months ago – and are therefore eligible for reinforcement – but have not yet received one.
Although 500 new vaccination sites have been opened since April, the vaccination rate dropped from a high of nearly 800,000 daily in March 2021 to less than 500,000 today.
What if I am sick or have had Covid?
If you tested positive for Covid, you must wait four weeks (28 days) before receiving the booster, counting from the date of the test.
You should not receive reinforcement if you have a serious illness or high fever. However, patient information from both Pfizer and Moderna says a mild fever or cold is no reason to delay.
Does the booster dose appear in the NHS app?
If you are 16 or older, the NHS application generates an NHS Covid Pass that can be used to prove your vaccination status in the UK or abroad (not to be confused with the NHS Covid-19 application which warns you if you have been close to someone with the virus).
The NHS Covid Pass now also records whether users in England have had a booster dose. This will not be available immediately through the Covid Pass card service, which will be updated in due course.
The boosters will appear at Covid Pass in Wales from 29 November.
What children are being vaccinated?
All 16- and 17-year-olds can now book a second dose of the Pfizer jab; this should be given at least 12 weeks after the first.
There is currently no approved vaccine for children under 12 in the UK.
What about pregnant women?
The government has also highlighted the particular risks to pregnant women. The new figures show that of the 1,714 pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid between 1 February and the end of September, 98% were not vaccinated.
More than 98% of those admitted to intensive care during the same period were not vaccinated.
The head of the Chief Medical Office in England, Chris Whitty, has urged all women who are pregnant (or planning to become pregnant) to receive their blow:
“The whole medical opinion is really clear that the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks in all areas.”
What are the vaccination rules for NHS staff?
All NHS frontline staff in England must be fully vaccinated against Covid by 1 April.
These rules only apply in England.
Vaccination is not mandatory for other people in the UK, although people who have received two doses do not need to isolate themselves after contact with a positive case.
How can I reserve my first or second vaccine?
What vaccine will I get?
Pfizer is currently offered to children under the age of 18, although the Modern vaccine has also been authorized for use in children.
Most reinforcements will be a dose of Pfizer or a half dose of Moderna, regardless of what blow you initially received.
What about side effects?
They are part of the body’s normal immune response to vaccines and tend to resolve within a day or two.
Why it is normal for some people to experience short-term side effects from Covid-19 vaccines
Separately, a very small number of people have experienced a severe allergic reaction after receiving the Pfizer vaccine.
Before getting vaccinated, you should talk to your professional about any serious allergies that exist