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The Covid-19 booster programme – your frequently asked questions answered

As Covid-19 and the Omicron variant continues to spread, getting a booster jab is essential. If you’re unsure what it involves, or why it’s important, your FAQs are addressed here

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27 January 2022

lthough many people have now received their Covid-19 booster vaccine, every adult in the country who is eligible is urged to get their jab now. Scientists have found that two doses are not sufficient to fully protect against the highly contagious Omicron variant, which is now the fastest-spreading strand of the virus.

There could be many reasons why you haven’t yet been boosted – maybe you’re struggling to find the time, you might be confident about the protection your previous vaccine doses offer, you fear possible side effects, or you may be unsure why you need further protection at all.

But data shows that being fully vaccinated prevents the vast majority of people from falling seriously ill with Covid-19 and from spreading the virus to more vulnerable people or putting more strain on our NHS.

If you’re still feeling unsure about the coronavirus booster, here we address some common queries.

I’ve already had two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. Am I not protected enough already?

There is a new variant of Covid-19 – Omicron – which is highly infectious and spreading fast. It is more important than ever for you to get vaccinated.

A coronavirus booster will strengthen your protection from serious illness from Covid-19 and give you the best possible defence for you and your family. Boosters bring your protection against Covid-19 infections with symptoms back up to over 88 per cent.

I received my second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine not that long ago. When can I get my booster inoculation?

You can get a Covid-19 booster vaccine three months after your second dose.

I have a condition that makes me immunosuppressed and more vulnerable to infection. Can I get a booster vaccine?

In certain circumstances – for example, if you are immunosuppressed – you may be eligible to receive a booster jab sooner. If you haven’t had your booster, then go to the NHS website to book an appointment or find your local walk-in vaccination centre.

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I’m concerned about the side effects of the vaccine. Is the booster actually safe?

Yes, the booster vaccine has been approved for use by the MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency). Millions of people have already been protected from serious illness by getting vaccinated, and they report that if they get side effects at all, they are generally very mild and don’t last more than 24 hours.

If you get Covid-19, you may need to take substantial time off work to isolate and recover from illness. One day off to recover from side effects is better than having to isolate if you test positive for Covid-19.

Tell me why I should come and get the Covid-19 booster vaccine

Firstly, unvaccinated people are eight times more likely to be hospitalised than those who have had both doses of the vaccine and a booster. Also, if you catch Covid-19, there’s also a chance you might get long Covid, which can have serious and debilitating long-term effects. Many with long Covid have said it has had a major impact on their lives – especially the ability to exercise, work and maintain relationships.

Boosters give you the best possible protection against the virus and should significantly reduce your risk of serious illness and hospitalisation.

I’m pregnant and concerned about the efficacy of the vaccine. Why should I get a booster vaccine?

Being pregnant can put you in greater danger of getting seriously ill with Covid-19, which brings extra risks to your newborn and increases the chances of your baby being born prematurely or even stillborn. If you’re pregnant, make sure you get boosted now.

Data from the UK Obstetric Surveillance System shows 96.3 per cent of pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid-19 symptoms between May and October 2021 were unvaccinated, a third of whom – 33 per cent – required respiratory support. Around one in five women who are hospitalised with the virus need to have their baby delivered preterm to help them recover and one in five of their newborns need care in the neonatal unit.

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Is the booster jab actually effective against the Omicron variant of coronavirus?

A booster will not only strengthen your protection from serious illness from Covid-19, but also provide the best possible defence for you and your family. Get Boosted Now is the national mission to build a wall of defence against the highly contagious Omicron variant. Every adult in the country now needs to get a Covid-19 booster vaccine, because two doses do not give you enough protection.

I’m too busy to get a Covid-19 booster jab. Will it take a long time to get one?

The Covid-19 vaccine process is quick and free. It’s easier than ever to receive the jab – it only takes a few minutes, and you can now get it at walk-in vaccination sites at a time that’s convenient for you, even at the weekend.

Find out how to get your Covid-19 booster at If you have already had your booster, then encourage friends and family who haven’t to book theirs now or visit a walk-in centre

What the doctors say:

Dr Emeka Okorocha

A&E doctor, based in London and the South-East

“As a doctor, I have seen first-hand the effect that Covid-19 can have on people and I want to remind everyone that you can still get seriously ill with the virus, so it is so important to get the jab to keep ourselves, your friends and loved ones safe. Covid-19 is highly infectious, and the vaccine remains our best line of defence against it. Omicron is highly transmissible and still has the potential to lead to significant numbers of people in hospital, so it’s very important your immunity is topped up – and to come forward for your first or second dose if you haven’t already. We don’t know what threat any future variants may pose, so if you haven’t come forward for any jabs, it is absolutely essential you do so.”

Dr Amir Khan

NHS GP, Bradford

“We know many people are juggling busy lives, which is exactly why the NHS is making it as easy as possible for you to get your booster. New vaccination sites have been set up across the country and existing sites have extended their opening hours so as many people as possible can get jabbed, as soon as possible. And once you’ve had your vaccine, then why not encourage your friends and family to book as well, so we all have the best protection possible?”

Dr Jenny Jardine

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), London. Dr Jardine is seven months pregnant and has had her Covid-19 booster jab

“Speaking both as a doctor and pregnant mother myself, we can now be very confident that the Covid-19 vaccinations provide the best possible protection for you and your unborn child against this virus. I would strongly call on all pregnant women like me, if you haven’t had the vaccine yet, to either speak to your GP or midwife if you still have questions and then book right away today.”

Find out how to get your Covid-19 booster at