Have you had your Covid-19 booster yet? Millions of people have already received that vital extra dose of the vaccine – and with the highly infec- tious Omicron variant still spreading, now’s the time to book it in if you haven’t done so. You can do this at nhs.uk/covidvaccination; if you are in Scotland visit nhsinform.scot/covid-19-vaccine; for Wales visit gov.wales/get-your-covid-19-vaccination, and for Northern Ireland visit covid-19.hscni.net/get-vaccinated.
The booster dose is quick, easy and free for everyone. And if you haven’t already had your first or second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine it’s not too late to get those too. It’s the best way to protect you and your loved ones against Omicron.
Worried about side effects, or think you might not need it since you’ve already had Covid? If you still have questions, our experts have answered some of the most frequently asked ones here.
I’ve already had two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. Surely I’m protected already?
Yes, you’ve got protection from your two doses, but the Omicron variant is spreading fast, so it’s more important than ever to get vaccinated.
A booster will strengthen your protection from serious illness and give you the best possible defence for you and your family. Boosters bring your protection against Covid-19 infections with symptoms back up to over 88 per cent, which is essential with so much Omicron around.
My medical condition makes me immunosuppressed and thus more vulnerable to infection, so where does that leave me?
In certain circumstances you may be eligible to receive your booster jab sooner, and being immunosuppressed is one of those cases. If you haven’t had your booster, then go to the NHS website to book an appointment or find your local walk-in vaccination centre.
I had my second dose of the vaccine just before Christmas, so when can I get my booster?
You can get a Covid-19 booster three months after your second vaccine dose, so if that date’s coming up, book your appointment now.
If Omicron is still spreading so quickly, how do we know the booster actually works against it?
We now know that two doses does not give you enough protection against catching Omicron, so every adult in the country now needs to get a Covid-19 booster.
A booster will strengthen your protection from serious illness from Covid-19 and give you the best possible defence for you and your family. So if everyone who’s eligible comes forward to get boosted it will build a wall of defence against the Omicron variant.
I’m busy at work and if I don’t go in I don’t get paid. I’m worried I might need a day off due to the side effects of the vaccine. Is the booster actually safe?
Yes – it has been rigorously tested and approved for use by the MHRA. Millions of people have been protected from serious illness by getting vaccinated, and any side effects are generally very mild and don’t last more than 24 hours.
It’s easier than ever to get the jab, it only takes a few minutes and you can get it at a time that’s convenient for you – even at the weekend.
If you get Covid-19 you will definitely need to take several days off work to isolate and recover. So even if you have to take one day off work because of the side-effects of the jab, that’s a much better scenario in terms of your job situation.
Bradford-based NHS GP Dr Amir Khan says new vaccination sites make it easier than ever for people to schedule boosters
“We know many people are juggling busy lives, which is exactly why the NHS is making it as easy as possible for you to get your booster. New vaccination sites have been set up across the country, and existing sites have extended their opening hours so as many people as possible can get jabbed as soon as possible. And once you’ve had your vaccine, then why not encourage your friends and family to book as well – so we all have the best protection possible?”
I had Omicron over Christmas. Does that mean I don’t need the booster yet?
If you’ve had Omicron you still need a booster, but you will need to wait 28 days after you are Covid-19 free.
London GP Dr Farzana Hussain says…
“It’s a common myth: ‘Oh, I’ve had Omicron soI don’t need to have my booster’. So many of us have had Omicron – around one in 20 – and it would be wrong to say it doesn’t give you any immunity at all, but the booster will definitely top it up for you. You need to give it 28 days after getting over the infection before you have your vaccination, but we do still recommend you have it.”
I’ve never had Covid-19. Why should I get the booster?
Unvaccinated people are eight times more likely to be hospitalised than those who have had both vaccine doses and a booster.
If you catch Covid-19, there’s a chance you might get long Covid, which can have serious and debilitating long-term effects. Many people affected have said it has had a major impact on their lives, especially the ability to exercise, work and maintain relationships.
Boosters give you the best possible protection against the virus and significantly reduce your risk of serious illness and hospitalisation.
London A&E doctor Emeka Okorocha says…
“The Covid-19 vaccine is quick, easy and free. Don’t worry about side effects: as with all medicines, the vaccines may cause some, but most of these are mild and short-term, and not everyone gets them.
“As a doctor, I’ve seen firsthand the effect that Covid-19 can have on people. It is so important to get the jab to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. Omicron is highly transmissible and could still lead to significant numbers of people in hospital, so you should make sure your immunity is topped up – and come forward for your first or second dose if you haven’t already.
We don’t know what threat any future variants may pose, so if you haven’t had any jabs, it is vital that you
I’m pregnant and I’m really worried about whether I’ll risk mine and my baby’s health by getting the vaccine. Are you sure I should get the booster?
Yes. If you’re pregnant, make sure you get boosted now. Being pregnant can put you at greater risk of getting seriously ill with Covid-19, which increases the chances of your baby being born prematurely or even stillborn.
UK data* shows that 96.3 per cent of pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid-19 symptoms between May and October last year were unvaccinated, and a third needed respiratory support. Around one in five women who were hospitalised needed their babies to be delivered before their due date to help them recover, and one in five babies needed neonatal care.
Dr Jenny Jardine from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is seven months pregnant and has had her Covid-19 booster jab. She’s encouraging other mums-to-be to do the same
“I am both a doctor and a pregnant mother, and I can reassure other pregnant women that we can now
be very confident that the Covid-19 vaccinations provide the best possible protection against this virus for you and your unborn child.
“Therefore I would strongly call on all pregnant women, if you haven’t yet had the booster jab – or your first or second vaccine doses – to speak to either your GP or midwife if you still have questions and then book right away today.”
GET BOOSTED NOW
Everyone aged 16 and over now needs to get a COVID-19 booster vaccine, because two doses does not give you enough protection against catching Omricon. To book yours and find out more visit nhs.uk/covidvaccination
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