Health Secretary Sajid Javid said people eligible for a Covid-19 booster vaccine but who have not yet been invited by the NHS can book online.
He used a press conference on Wednesday to stress the need for people to take the third blow, “not just to save lives, but also to keep your freedoms.”
He told the Downing Street briefing: ‘If you are over 50 or in another priority group and had your second jab over six months ago, you are eligible for a booster and the NHS will send you an invitation.
“If you have not been invited within a week of reaching this six month milestone, please log into the national reservation service and book online, or call 119, not only to save lives, but also to preserve your freedoms.
“Because all these precious moments that we have been able to restore in recent months, the loved ones that we have been able to see and the collective experiences that we have been able to share, they have been possible thanks to our vaccination program and thanks to so many you who showed up when it was time.
“And if we are to secure these freedoms for the long term, the best thing we can do is come forward again when that time comes.”
Who can get a jab booster?
The government has so far announced that a third jab will be offered to all people over the age of 50, as well as younger people with health conditions that put them at increased risk of getting very sick from of Covid.
People should receive the booster no earlier than six months after their second injection.
The order of priority, established by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Vaccination (JCVI), is as follows:
- Residents of a retirement home for the elderly and their carers
- All people aged 80 and over and frontline health and social workers
- Every 75 years and over
- All people 70 years of age and over and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable
- Every 65 years and over
- All people aged 16 to 64 who have underlying health conditions that put them at a higher risk of serious illness and death
- Every 60 years and over
- Every 55 years and over
- Every 50 years and over
However, if you are in one of these groups and received your last jab at least six months ago, you can book your booster now.
According to the government’s coronavirus scorecard, 2.3 million people in England aged 80 and over had received both doses of the vaccine as of April 17 – therefore were eligible for a booster dose on October 17.
NHS England figures show that 1.3 million people in England in this age group (around half) had received a booster dose by that date.
How to book your jab booster
As with the first doses of the vaccine, when you are eligible, you must be notified by text message, letter or by your general practitioner to organize a reservation.
However, if you think you are eligible but have not been notified, you can now book it online through the NHS website, or by calling 119.
The jab booster is available in a single dose. The NHS advises to wait four weeks (28 days) after a positive Covid-19 test before booking your booster.
You can find all the details about booking and managing your appointment via the NHS website here.
What vaccine will I receive?
All third doses will use an mRNA vaccine – Pfizer or Moderna – which will be given as a half dose, after proof that a full dose is not necessary for full protection.
This also applies to people who have received the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine for their first two vaccines, which means that a “mix and match” approach will be used.
There is more scientific evidence available on the long-term effectiveness of mRNA injections, which have been most widely used in the EU and US, than the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine, which has accounted for the bulk. initial deployment in the UK.
Changing asthma rules
JCVI’s new guidelines differ from its draft advice released in June, which said anyone over 16 who qualifies for a seasonal flu shot would be included in the recall campaign.
This would have included millions of people with asthma.
The criteria for group six – which covers the underlying health conditions of people under the age of 65 – have also changed, affecting how people with asthma qualify for the recall.
Orientation in the government’s Covid Green Paper vaccine information for public health professionals was reduced in a recent update to refer to “poorly controlled asthma”.
This definition tightens the criteria for steroid use and hospital admission within 24 months, whereas under previous guidelines no time limit was imposed. This potentially limits the number of people eligible for the recall.