Getting the vaccine
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises all individuals aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed should receive a Spring booster dose of the vaccine.
If you are immunosuppressed, either due to a health condition or medical treatment, you may not yet have the best protection you can possibly get from the vaccine.
You should usually be contacted by the NHS when you are due a Spring booster. Please do take up this offer. If you haven’t heard and you think you may be eligible then you can book a vaccination or find a convenient local walk-in site.
The JCVI recommends that people with a weakened immune system receive their Spring booster as close as possible to six months after their last dose for maximum protection. However, the booster can be given from three months where necessary, depending on individual circumstances.
The NHS has made some changes which means it has never been easier to get your booster if you are immunosuppressed. After booking, you can bring one of several documents to the appointment to confirm you are eligible. This should be 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, just speak to a clinician when you arrive for your appointment.
Vaccination appointments can be booked quickly and conveniently by visiting www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination, where you can also find out which vaccines you are eligible for.
There are three ways you can access your vaccination:
- Make an appointment through the national booking service
- Call 119 to book an appointment (calls are free and translators are available on request)
- Find a walk-in site (not every walk-in site is able to offer vaccination for people who are immunosuppressed, so please use the NHS’ online finder to make sure you choose the right site for you)
Whether one of your vaccines is overdue or you haven’t had your first yet, please be assured that it isn’t too late.
There are a number of ways you can contact NHS England. Information about how to get in touch is available here on their website.
Third doses for people who are severely immunosuppressed
If someone was severely immunosuppressed when they had their first two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, either due to a health condition or medical treatment, they are eligible for a third dose.
If you are severely immunosuppressed, you should have three doses as your primary course, with the third dose given eight weeks after the second, and then you are eligible for a booster at three months and a further booster between three to six months after.
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
Not everyone with a weakened immune system is considered severely immunosuppressed.
If you think you are eligible for a third dose but haven’t had it yet, you should make an appointment today. Please refer to the section above which has information about how to book in for your vaccine – just remember to bring relevant medical documentation to your appointment if you can.