COVID-19 vaccinations - spring 2022 booster dose

Who is eligible and how it will work

In February, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised a spring 2022 dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for:

  • adults aged 75 years and over b
  • residents in care homes for older adults
  • individuals aged 12 years and over who have a weakened immune system

Everyone who is eligible can make a spring booster appointment between 3 and 6 months after their primary course of doses. You may receive a letter from the national NHS and possibly also your local NHS (eg your GP) inviting you to book. While it is safe to have this booster three months after your first, it will be most effective at boosting your immunity nearer to six months after your first booster.

NB if you turn 75 on or after 1 July 2022, or you had a spring booster on or after 21 March 2022 you are now advised to wait for your autumn booster.

Your questions answered

Q: Why are some people being invited for a spring booster?

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 in these people. 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.

Q: When will people be able to book their spring booster?

JCVI’s advice is that people should wait until around six months since their last dose for maximum effectiveness, and people are asked to wait until they are invited by the NHS to book. People should wait to be contacted by the NHS. The NHS will begin inviting people from the week beginning 21st March and will offer a top-up dose to all who are eligible during Spring and early Summer.

Q: How do I get my booster dose of the COVID vaccine?

For spring boosters, you should wait until the NHS contacts you. For an initial booster dose (the first dose following your primary course), you can visit the NHS COVID-19 vaccination website to find your nearest walk in option or book an appointment. 

Q: What happens if someone who has yet to be called forward for a booster had their last jab more than three months ago turns up at a vaccine centre – will they be turned away? If so, why?

The JCVI advice is that people should wait until around six months since their last dose for maximum effectiveness, and people are asked to wait until they are invited by the NHS to book. However, provided they are in one of the eligible groups and they attend a site that accepts walk-ins for booster doses, they will not be turned away if it has been more than three months since their previous dose and they have not had COVID recently (see next answer).

Q: I have recently recovered from COVID-19, do I still need to get vaccinated?

Yes. You still need to get a booster dose of the vaccine for extra protection, even if you have recently recovered from COVID-19.

If you have recently recovered from the virus, you will need to wait before getting any dose of the vaccine. People will need to wait:

  • 4 weeks (28 days) if they are aged 18 years old or over, or aged 5 to 17 years old and at greater risk from COVID (as defined in UKHSA’s Green Book – see table 3 and table 4 here)
  • 12 weeks (84 days) if they are aged 12 to 17 years old and not at greater risk from COVID (as defined in UKHSA’s Green Book – see table 3 and table 4 here

Q: Why should I still get the vaccine now that restrictions have been lifted?

Vaccines have enabled the gradual and safe removal of restrictions on everyday life over the past year.

Thanks to the COVID-19 vaccine, we are able to get back to doing the things we love. However, COVID-19 is still out there and there are still people in hospital unwell with the virus.

Make sure you stay up to date with your vaccines for the best possible protection and for extra reassurance that you’re keeping yourself and others safe.

Q: Will I get side-effects from a booster dose?

You may experience some mild side effects from the booster dose, regardless of how you reacted to previous COVID-19 vaccines. Side effects are very mild, do not last for very long and not everybody will get them. Side effects can include a sore arm, feeling tired, a headache, feeling achy, and feeling or being sick. If you do get these, a pain killer such as paracetamol is recommended.

Q: Will I be expected to get more doses of the COVID vaccine in the future?

The NHS will be delivering a Spring Booster in England to those who are most vulnerable from COVID-19, including people aged 75 and over. The NHS is also preparing to deliver an autumn dose of the vaccine, but whether this happens will depend on future recommendations from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

Q: Can I still come forward for a first or second dose if I’ve not yet done so?

It’s never too late to come forward for your first, second or (if you were immunosuppressed at the time of one of these) a third dose of the vaccine. You do not need to be registered with a GP and can find a walk-in option, book an appointment or more information on the national booking website. You can also call 119 free of charge which also offers translators on request.

Q: Why are no other groups of people being invited to come forward for a spring booster?

The NHS vaccinates people in line with recommendations on who is eligible from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), as accepted by government

Q: Can I get the spring booster if I turn 75 after the start of the spring booster programme?

A: If you are turning 75 by 30 June 2022 you are eligible to receive the spring booster dose in 2022.

Q: Am I classed as immunosuppressed and eligible for the spring booster?

A: Your GP or hospital doctor will have informed you if you are classed as immunosuppressed and you will have received a letter from the NHS advising you of this. If you believe you are classed as immunosuppressed and have not received a letter, please check the information from the NHS or if necessary get in touch with your GP or hospital doctor for further advice.

Q: Can I receive Vaxzevria (previously AstraZeneca) as my vaccination in Dorset?

A: If you are unable to receive Moderna or Pfizer vaccine due to medical conditions, and your GP or consultant advise that Vaxzevria (previously AstraZeneca) is the vaccine you should receive, please get in touch with your GP practice who will be able to support you in accessing the right vaccine.

Please note change in vaccine name: AstraZeneca has now been granted a Conditional Marketing Authorisation (CMA) by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for their COVID-19 vaccine, branded as Vaxzevria. It is important to note that there are no quality, safety, or efficacy implications from the change in licensing status of the new licensed stock. There are also no changes to the vaccine’s characteristics or its administration and handling requirements.

COVID-19 vaccination service