When can I get my Covid booster jab? Everything you need to know



The Omicron variant of Covid-19 spread rapidly across the UK in December and January but the infection rate has now begun to fail, prompting Boris Johnson to drop the “Plan B” restrictions brought in to stop the spread before Christmas.

Speaking in the House of Commons, the prime minister said that guidance on mask-wearing in public places and presenting Covid passes to enter crowded venues will now be scrapped as the New Year rise in infections continues to wane without having resulted in the mass hospitalizations experts had feared.

Work from home guidance has also been lifted, with people no longer encouraged to work remotely, which had been the official guidance since 8 December 2021.

Taking time out from the firestorm still raging over the Downing Street “Partygate” scandal, Mr Johnson told the Commons that he also hopes to remove the requirement to self-isolate from 24 March, saying: “There will soon come a time when we can remove the legal requirement to self-isolate altogether, just as we don’t place legal obligations on people to isolate if they have flu.

“As Covid becomes endemic, we will need to replace legal requirements with advice and guidance, urging people with the virus to be careful and considerate of others.”

However, for now, the pandemic is far from over and Omicron remains a threat, so members of the public are still being urged to get their third vaccine jab to boost immunity as soon as they can.

NHS rules on boosters were relaxed in December so that all over-18s were offered a third jab, a decision supported by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which also recommended cutting the period between second and third jabs from six months to three in a bid to beat the variant.

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You can currently get a booster if you are over 18 – or over 16 with a health condition – and it has been at least three months (91 days) since you received your second dose of one of the approved Covid vaccines.

If you are eligible for a vaccine booster jab, you no longer have to wait for the NHS to contact you to make an appointment online.

If you are struggling to secure a booking due to high demand, you can also visit any walk-in vaccination center to get your jab, with people being advised to use the NHS online walk-in finder to locate their nearest centre.

If you have had a positive Covid test, you are advised to wait four weeks (28 days) before booking your booster, starting from the date you had the test.

“NHS staff are making it as easy as possible for people to get their top-up vaccination,” said Dr Nikki Kanani, deputy lead for the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme.

“People can now go online, find their nearest site and go and get their booster without delay.

“The booster is not just nice to have, it is really important protection ahead of what we know will be a challenging winter.

“So if you are eligible, please do check the site finder and go get your jab.”

This article was amended on 10 December 2021. It had previously stated that Covid boosters were available to everybody over 18, but at the time of publication boosters were only being made available to adults over 40 and people in some additional high risk categories. We also removed a quote from a GP because, while it accurately reported their comments, we understood that it could have been held to over-simplify the science behind some vaccines.

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www.independent.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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