People aged 12 and over who have a weakened immune system 

Frequently Asked Questions: COVID-19 vaccine

Why should I get my COVID-19 vaccine? 

COVID-19 is still out there and the vaccine offers the best defence against becoming seriously unwell, staying out of hospital and passing on the virus to loved ones and others around you. It is safe, effective and free to all, with thousands of convenient appointments every day. You do not even need to be registered with a GP practice to receive your vaccine. 

If I am in an immunosuppressed group that does not respond well to vaccines, why is it important to continue to get vaccinated? 

Repeated vaccinations will gradually improve your level of antibodies and enhance the other parts of your immune system that respond to COVID-19 infection.

Is it safe to get so many doses of the COVID-19 vaccine? 

COVID-19 vaccination remains extremely safe. These vaccines have been rigorously tested and multiple doses have been given across the UK and the world, with continued monitoring of safety.

Why are some people being invited for a Spring booster?

COVID-19 is more serious for people with a weakened immune system. Protection from the vaccine for these groups may be lower and may decline more quickly. For this reason, people aged 75 and over, those in care homes for older adults and those aged 12 and over with a weakened immune system are being offered the Spring booster.

My family members who I am in close contact with aren’t immunosuppressed but would like to get a Spring booster. Are they eligible? 

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has not recommended a Spring booster for household contacts of people who are immunosuppressed. 

Why is the interval for Spring boosters three to six months?  

The NHS is working to get everyone who needs a Spring booster vaccinated by the end of June, to allow maximum protection ahead of winter when viruses circulate most. There is flexibility within the three- to six-month window to ensure that those eligible can get their vaccination during this Spring round. If there are individual circumstances which mean someone cannot get their Spring booster during this period, the opportunity will remain throughout July and August.  

Will individuals be expected to get more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in the future?

The NHS is preparing to deliver an Autumn dose of the vaccine to people with a weakened immune system following interim advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. JCVI will make its final recommendations later this year to be considered by Government. Following the Government’s decision, the NHS will let eligible people know when they can get an Autumn booster.

What adjustments are being made to support people who are severely immunosuppressed attending walk-in vaccination appointments?

Vaccination sites have been asked to ensure that appropriate arrangements and reasonable adjustments are in place, such as priority lanes, to support people who are less able to queue, including those in higher-risk groups. A poster is available highlighting that staff should ensure people who are immunosuppressed, alongside other priority groups, have their wait time reduced.   

I have recently recovered from COVID-19, do I still need to get vaccinated?

Yes. You still need to get a booster dose of the vaccine for extra protection, even if you have had COVID-19. If you recently recovered from the virus, you will need to wait before getting any dose of the vaccine. People will need to wait:

  • 4 weeks (28 days) for those aged 18 or over, or under 18 and considered to be in a high-risk group
  • 12 weeks (84 days) for those aged under 18 and not considered to be in a high-risk group