Frequently asked questions

Q: Can I receive my COVID-19 booster and flu vaccine at the same time?

Some vaccination clinics will be able to offer the COVID-19 booster and flu jab at the same time. If this is available and you are eligible when you go for either vaccination, you are encouraged to have both during the same appointment.

Both vaccinations have been approved as safe and effective when administered at the same time. 

Please remember to cancel a pre-booked flu or COVID-19 vaccination if:

  • You subsequently take up an opportunity to have the two vaccinations at the same time, or
  • You are unable to attend for any other reason

Please cancel via the National Booking Service or contact the organisation you booked the unneeded appointment with.

Q: I would have had my booster sooner, why have I had to wait?

The timing of the booster roll-out is decided and authorised by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). We deliver our local vaccination programme based on their advice.

Q: I have been contacted by my GP to book my vaccination

Some GP networks have their own local booking system and will contact you direct to arrange your vaccination with them. You can do this or, if you prefer, you can book your appointment on the National Booking System to have your vaccination at a range of locations including vaccination centres and pharmacies which are providing the service.

Q: What type of vaccine is the COVID-19 booster?

The NHS is offering people the next generation variant-busting bivalent vaccine. Bivalent vaccines are helping us to meet the challenge of an ever-evolving virus, protecting people against COVID-19 variants.

Q: Is there an alternative vaccine available?

Nuvaxovid is an alternative COVID-19 vaccine. It is only suitable in rare cases where people have had severe allergic reactions to more common types of vaccine (mRNA vaccines, which include the bivalent COVID-19 vaccines), or a component of the vaccine in the past. 

Nuvaxovid must be given in an acute hospital setting so in order to access it you must first complete a clinical assessment with your GP. If your GP believes you meet the eligibility criteria you will be referred through a local clinical pathway to receive the vaccine.  It is key to note many people who were previously advised to have an AstraZeneca vaccine can safely receive mRNA vaccines.

You will need to speak to your GP in the first instance if you feel you are eligible for this.

For more information please visit https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccination-programme/alternative-seasonal-booster/.

Q: Can I choose what vaccine I have?

You cannot usually choose which vaccine you have but you will only be offered a vaccine that is suitable for you.

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

It is 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: If my child turns 5 after 31 August 2022, are they eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine?

No, this one-off programme applies to those currently aged 5 to 11. Those who were age five at 31/08/2022 and over are eligible for a first or second vaccination and everybody over the age of 18 is eligible for a first booster if you have yet to take up the offer.

Q: I haven’t been invited for a booster yet and I had my last jab more than three months ago. Can I turn up at a vaccine centre or will I 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 the NHS invites them 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. 

Q: I have complex allergies, which vaccination will I receive? Will it be different to what I have received before?

Currently awaiting recommendations on mRNA vaccine alternatives. You should be contacted by your healthcare professional and offered a discussion about the best option available to you. More information, when available will be shared on these pages.

Q: Am I classed as immunosuppressed and eligible for vaccination?

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. I am housebound, how do I receive my booster vaccination?

Patients who are registered as housebound with their GP practice will be contacted when their COVID booster is due to arrange a visit from a vaccination team.

Patients who do not have access to transport can get help to attend their appointment via community transport services.

For more information please visit:

BCP Council area - https://sedcat.org.uk/need-help-with-transport-for-your-covid-vaccine

Dorset Council area - Dorset Community Transport Directory - Dorset Council

Q: Is the NHS confident the vaccines are safe?

Yes. The NHS would not offer any vaccinations to the public until it is safe to do so. The MHRA, the official UK regulator authorising licensed use of medicines and vaccines by healthcare professionals, has said these vaccines are safe and highly effective, and we have full confidence in their expert judgement and processes.

As with any medicine, vaccines are highly regulated products. There are checks at every stage in the development and manufacturing process, and continued monitoring once it has been authorised and is being used in the wider population.

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 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: 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)
  • 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)

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

COVID-19 vaccination service