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A Guide to the COVID-19 Fall Booster


People aged 50 and over, residents of nursing homes for the elderly, people aged 5 and over in a clinical risk group and health and social care staff will be offered a booster this autumn. of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine.

Appointments will be available from the National Reservations Service shortly.

Who gets a Fall Booster?

COVID-19 is more severe in older people and in people with certain underlying health conditions.

This winter, many respiratory infections, including COVID-19 and influenza, are expected to circulate at high levels, which could put increasing pressure on hospitals and other health services. For these reasons, people aged 50 and over, those in nursing homes, and those aged 5 and over in clinical risk groups are being offered a fall booster of the COVID-19 vaccine.

A reminder will also be offered to frontline healthcare and social workers, those caring for vulnerable people and families of people with weakened immune systems.

The fall booster is offered to people at high risk of complications from COVID-19 infection, who may not have been boosted for a few months. As the number of COVID-19 infections increases over the winter, this reminder should help reduce your risk of being hospitalized with COVID-19.

The booster may also provide some protection against mild Omicron infection, but such protection does not last long.

Fall Reminder Schedule

You should be offered an appointment between September and December, with those most at risk being called first. You should receive your booster at least 3 months after your last dose of vaccine.

If you are eligible for a flu shot, you may be able to get them at the same time. If not, go ahead anyway, you can catch up on the other vaccine later.

What vaccine will you be offered?

You will receive a booster dose of a vaccine made by Pfizer or Moderna. You may be offered an updated combination version of these booster vaccines – combination vaccines include a half dose of the previous vaccine combined with a half dose of an Omicron variant vaccine. For a very small number of people, another vaccine product may be advised by your doctor.

Previous and combination vaccines boost protection very well, although combination vaccines produce slightly higher levels of antibodies against certain strains of Omicron.

As we cannot predict which variants of COVID-19 will be circulating this winter, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) concluded that both types of vaccines can be used in adults and that no one should delay vaccination to receive combination vaccines. This way, you will be offered the right vaccine for you at the right time.

Thank you for accepting the vaccination offered to you as soon as you have the possibility, it is important to have your booster and to protect yourself against serious illnesses before winter.

Who can’t accept the offer of a fall encore

There are very few people who shouldn’t have this reminder. If you have had a severe reaction to a previous dose of the vaccine, you should discuss this with your doctor.

Side effects

Common side effects

As with your previous dose, common side effects are the same for all COVID-19 vaccines, including combination vaccines used this fall, and include:

  • have a heavy, painful feeling and tenderness in the arm where you received your injection – this tends to be worse around 1-2 days after the shot
  • Feeling tired
  • headache
  • general pain or mild flu-like symptoms

You can rest and take paracetamol (follow the dosage advice on the package) to help you feel better.

Although a fever may occur a day or two after vaccination, if you have other symptoms of COVID-19 or if your fever lasts longer, stay home and you may need to be tested. Symptoms following vaccination normally last less than a week.

If your symptoms seem to be getting worse or you are worried you can call NHS 111 or use the 18001 111 phone. You can also report suspected side effects of vaccines and medications through the yellow card system.

Serious side effects

Cases of inflammation of the heart (called myocarditis or pericarditis) have been reported very rarely after Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. These cases have been observed mainly in younger men and within a few days of vaccination. Most affected people felt better and recovered quickly after rest and simple treatments.

You should see a doctor urgently if, after vaccination, you experience:

  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • feeling of having a fast, pounding or pounding heart

If you have had serious side effects after a previous dose, you may be advised to avoid or delay further vaccination. You should discuss this with your doctor or specialist. Please see below for more information on how to report side effects.

Can you still get COVID-19 after getting the vaccine?

The COVID-19 reminder will reduce your risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 this winter. It may take a few days for your body to build up additional protection against the booster.

Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective – some people can still get COVID-19 despite being vaccinated, but any infection should be less serious.

If you haven’t had all your vaccinations

If you have not yet received one of your first 2 doses of vaccine (or a third dose for people with weakened immune systems), you should receive them as soon as possible.

If you are eligible for the fall booster but think you missed a previous booster, you should still continue – you won’t need another dose.

If you test positive for COVID-19, when can you get your fall booster?

If you are not feeling well, wait until you have recovered to get vaccinated. If you have been confirmed COVID-19, you should ideally wait 4 weeks before having your fall reminder. You should not attend an immunization appointment if you are self-isolating or awaiting a COVID-19 test.

Report side effects

Suspected side effects can be reported to the Yellow Card plan:

  • online on Yellow Card Scheme
  • download and use the Yellow Card application:
  • by calling the Carte Jaune system on 0800 731 6789 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

More information

You can read the COVID-19 guides below for more information:

These leaflets can be ordered or downloaded free of charge and are available in several languages ​​and other formats.

Visit the coronavirus booster vaccination on NHS.UK.

Read the product information leaflets for UK recipients of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for more details about your vaccine, including possible side effects.

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