When over-40s can get the Covid-19 booster jab, and how to book
Over-40s will soon be able to receive the Covid-19 booster jab, as the roll-out continues.
Around 13 million doses of the booster have been administered as of 16 November, meaning just shy of a quarter of all over-12s have had one.
Ministers and experts are urging everyone who is eligible to come forward and book their jab.
Boris Johnson said at a Downing Street press conference on Monday: “It would be an utter tragedy after everything we have been through if people who had done the right thing by getting double vaccinated ended up becoming seriously ill or even losing their lives because they allowed their immunity to wane by not getting their booster.”
Who can get a Covid booster jab?
The Covid-19 booster was initially offered to all over-50s, clinically extremely vulnerable individuals and frontline healthcare staff.
This was the same broad criteria covered by groups one to nine of the Covid-19 vaccine priority list drawn up by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) last September, as below:
• Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
• All those aged 80 and over, and frontline health and social care workers
• All those 75 and over
• All those 70 and over, and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
• All those 65 and over
• All those aged 16 to 64 with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
• All those 60 and over
• All those 55 and over
• All those 50 and over
The roll-out has also now been extended to over-40s.
You must wait six months after your second jab to receive your booster.
A note on the NHS’s vaccine booking portal says over-40s cannot yet book their appointments, however. “We will update this site with more information when these appointments are available to book. We expect this to be from Monday 22 November 2021,” it says.
How to get the booster jab
As with the first doses of the vaccine, when you are eligible you should be notified by text, letter or by your GP to arrange a booking.
However, if you think you are eligible but have not been notified you can now book online via the NHS website, or by calling 119.
A change in the booking system means you can now arrange your vaccination appointment after five months.
The booster jab comes in a single dose. The NHS advises that you must wait four weeks (28 days) after having a positive Covid-19 test before booking your booster.
You can find all the details around booking and managing your appointment via the NHS website here.
Will the booster jab roll-out be extended further?
Health Secretary Sajid Javid has not ruled out extending the booster programme to younger people in future.
“The JCVI will keep under review whether the booster programme should be extended to all people under the age of 40 and I look forward to receiving their advice in due course,” he said.
Professor Wei Shen Lim, chair of Covid-19 immunisation for the JCVI, said that it was not yet clear whether under-40s would need a booster.
He told a Downing Street briefing: “It may well be that adults who are under 40 years might require a booster dose or a third dose at some point, we don’t know whether that is definitely the case yet.
“We are looking very closely at the data all the time and should there be sufficient signal to warrant a third dose, so a booster dose for this age group, then certainly we will announce that and advise that accordingly.”
Which vaccine do people get?
All third doses will use an mRNA vaccine – either Pfizer or Moderna – which will be delivered in a half-dose, following evidence that a full dose is unnecessary for comprehensive protection.
This also applies to people who received the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for their first two jabs, meaning a “mix-and-match” approach will be used.
There is more scientific evidence available about the long-term efficacy of mRNA jabs, which have been most widely used across the EU and US, than of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine which accounted for the bulk of the UK’s initial roll-out.