Published on: 30th March 2022

People aged 75 years and older, residents in care homes for older people, and those with weakened immune systems are now eligible for a spring booster of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine. They will be contacted by the NHS but can also book an appointment or attend a walk-in clinic if their last vaccination was more than 6 months ago.

Bookings for the vaccination can be made:-

COVID-19 is more serious in older people and those with a weakened immune system. Protection from the vaccine may be lower and may decline more quickly and for this reason, people aged 75 years and over, those in care homes and those aged 12 years and over with a weakened immune system are being offered the spring booster.

Although vaccines are expected to provide good protection against severe COVID-19 disease, protection against mild infection with the Omicron variant seems to decline quickly, even after the booster dose. This spring booster is being offered as a precaution to those at extremely high risk, most of whom received their first booster around 6 months ago. If the number of infections increases over the summer, this booster should help to reduce the risk of being admitted to hospital with COVID-19.

There are very few people who should not have the spring booster. If a severe reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine was experienced, it is recommended patients discuss with their GP.

The spring booster will be a dose of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Both vaccines boost well and have already been given to millions of people in the UK. Studies have shown that people only need a half dose of Moderna to boost the immune system well. This half dose of Moderna is expected to have a low rate of side effects, including myocarditis. The vaccine offered may be the same or different from the vaccines received previously.

It is highly recommended, that if patients have not had all their vaccinations, that is either the first 2 doses of the vaccine or third dose (for those with weakened immune system), they should have them as soon as possible.
If the first booster was missed, it is advisable to have the spring booster as soon as possible.

If patients have a COVID-19 positive result, or are unwell, they must wait until fully recovered before having the vaccine, ideally wait 4 weeks before having the spring booster.
Patients must not attend a vaccine appointment if self-isolating or waiting for a COVID-19 test.