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Covid: Are booster jabs available for my age group?

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Image source, Getty Images

All over 40s in the UK will be offered a booster dose of Covid vaccine, and 16 and 17-year-olds are to be given a second jab.

The announcement has been made by the government’s advisers, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

What are the new vaccine guidelines?

Anyone aged 40 or over can now have a booster vaccine, once six months have passed since their second jab.

Anyone aged 16 or 17 can now have a second jab, as long as it is 12 weeks since their first.

What is a booster and where can I get one?

A booster is an extra dose of Covid vaccine, which helps people who’ve already been double-jabbed retain their immunity.

In England, you can book your booster five months (152 days) after your second dose.

You can get the jab itself six months (182 days) since your second dose, either by appointment or at an NHS walk-in centre.

Who’s getting the booster?

The amended rules are the same throughout the UK:

  • You’re aged 40 or over
  • You’re aged 16 or over, with a health condition that puts you at high risk from Covid; you should receive a letter reminding you to have your booster dose, which you should take to the walk-in centre – you can also take a letter from your GP or consultant about your health condition
  • You’re a front-line health or social care worker – take proof of your employment such as workplace photo ID, a letter or a recent payslip

How many people have now been vaccinated?

About 50 million people aged over 12 in the UK have now had at least one dose of Covid vaccine. More than 46 million have had a second dose.

Which children are being vaccinated?

Image source, Getty Images

There is no vaccine currently approved for under-12s in the UK.

What are the vaccine rules for NHS staff?

The government has announced that frontline NHS staff in England will have to be fully vaccinated against Covid by 1 April.

How many NHS workers are vaccinated?

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said 93% of NHS staff in England had had their first dose, and 90% were fully vaccinated. This is higher than the general working-age population, where about 81% have had both doses.

But it still leaves 103,000 workers unvaccinated, Mr Javid told MPs.

There are wide variations between areas – about 95% of staff at Dorset County hospital are fully vaccinated, compared with 80% at Bedford Hospital and Luton and Dunstable University Hospital.

What are the rules for care home staff and others?

The requirement does not apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Vaccination is not compulsory for other people in the UK, although people who’ve had both doses don’t need to self-isolate after contact with a positive case.

What if I still need to book my vaccine?

Which vaccine will I get?

Under-18s are currently being offered Pfizer, although the Moderna vaccine has also been authorised for use in children.

The booster will usually be either Pfizer or Moderna, regardless of which type was originally given.

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.

Media caption,

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.

You should discuss any existing serious allergies with your healthcare professional before being vaccinated.

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