If you have a weakened immune system, either due to a health condition or medical treatment, you may not yet have the best possible protection from the Covid-19 vaccine.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recommends that people aged 12 years and over with a weakened immune system should be offered a ‘booster’ if it’s been at least three months since the previous dose.
The NHS in the South East of England is now doing a final push throughout August, before the roll out of the autumn vaccination programme, to encourage eligible people still due a booster to take up this offer now.
If your most recent dose was before 21 March 2022, we encourage you to get a further dose now. You can self-refer, and you don’t need to wait to be contacted.
If your most recent dose was after 21 March 2022, you may still need a further dose if you have or have had a severely weakened immune system. If you are in this situation, we encourage you to book a further dose from 3 months (91 days) after your previous dose, unless you have already had your spring booster.
Otherwise, you don’t need to do anything now and we’ll prompt you when it’s time for your next dose. You can check which vaccines you are eligible for at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination.
Caroline Reid, Regional Director of Commissioning and SRO for the Flu and Covid vaccination programme across the South East, said: “Thousands and thousands of people with a weakened immune system have already had their primary doses as well as their boosters in the South East. However, others are yet to come forward, and so I would encourage them to do so between now and the end of this month before we move onto our autumn vaccinations.”
There are three ways you can access your vaccination:
- Make an appointment online through the national booking service – nhs.uk/book-covid-booster
- Call 119 to book an appointment – calls are free and translators are available on request
- Find a vaccination walk-in site – use the NHS online finder at nhs.uk/vaccine-walk-in to make sure you choose the right site for you
When you arrive for your appointment, you can ask to speak to a clinical supervisor who can advise you on your eligibility and support you with any other queries you may have. If you can, please bring one of the following:
- A letter from your GP or specialist advising you get the jab
- A hospital letter about your condition or medication
- A prescription or medication box with your name and a date on it
If you don’t have any of this evidence to hand, don’t worry. It may still be possible to get vaccinated.
Please let the NHS know if you have any difficulty accessing your vaccination so that the issue can be resolved, and services can be improved. There are several ways you can contact NHS England. Information about how to get in touch is available here.
Further doses for people who have had a severely weakened immune system
If you had a severely weakened immune system when you had your first two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, either due to a health condition, taking medicines or receiving treatment, you are eligible for an additional third dose to complete your primary course, before you begin to receive ‘booster’ doses.
The third dose should be given around 8 weeks after the second.
The severely immunosuppressed group includes some people who had or have:
- A blood cancer (such as leukaemia or lymphoma)
- A weakened immune system due to a treatment (such as steroid medicine, biological therapy, chemotherapy or radiotherapy)
- An organ or bone marrow transplant
- A condition that means you have a very high risk of getting infections
- A condition or treatment your specialist advises makes you eligible for a third dose