Do I need a spring booster – and how do I get one?

Those over 75 are eligible to receive the spring booster COVID-19 jab. The spring booster jab is also being offered to people who have weakened immune systems or who live in care homes. To get the most benefit from the spring booster, you are advised to have the jab six months after your previous vaccine dose.

While the UK has moved into the living with COVID phase of the disease, case numbers are rising. The vaccine programme has been our best defence against the spread and impact of COVID. It is credited with preventing more than 157,000 hospitalisations, according to figures from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

The spring jab is being offered to people who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). This booster is a precautionary measure because protection from the vaccine may decline more quickly in these people.

You can book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment online or walk into a local vaccination centre for your spring booster if you are: 

  • aged 75 and over 
  • aged 12 and over and have a weakened immune system 
  • If you live in a care home for older people, contact your care home manager about getting vaccinated. 

In Merton, the Wilson Hospital vaccine clinic began giving spring booster doses on 22 March, 24 hours after the programme launched. Vaccine lead for the Wilson and the Nelson health centre, Mohammad Hassan-Ally said: “Since we started giving our spring boosters, we’ve had a steady stream of people coming forward, which is great. With COVID cases rising, we’re urging everyone eligible to book their spring booster when they receive an invitation.”

Among those coming for their booster during the first week of the new programme was Abdul Rashid. He said: “I think its beneficial, so I came forward when I heard from my GP, to get in to the queue first, get the full benefit of the jab.”

Carol and Brian Evans also responded quickly to the email invitation. Carol said: “I think it’s advisable to keep your jabs up. We wanted to get it over and done with as soon we got the invitation. Then you know your immunity is topped up.”

We know people have lots of questions about the spring dose, so read on for all you need to know about the latest booster.

Who exactly can get the spring booster?

These people are being invited for a spring booster:

  • adults over 75
  • residents in care homes for older adults
  • people over 12 who have a weakened immune system

There are no plans at present to extend the spring booster to other groups – this will depend on advice from the JCVI.

When and how can I book a spring booster?

You should book your appointment at least 3-6 months after your last booster dose. You can walk-in to a local vaccination centre or you can book ahead using the NHS national booking system by calling 119. To find your nearest walk-in clinic in south west London, please visit our walk-in webpage.

My mum is in a care home, how will she get her vaccine?

GP practice teams will be going out to care homes, as they have done previously, to deliver spring boosters to eligible residents.

What if I’ve recently had COVID-19, should I get my spring booster?

If you had the virus, you should still get your spring booster, but you will need to wait four weeks, if over 18. Most eligible younger people aged 12 to 17 should wait 12 weeks before getting their booster, unless they are at greater risk from COVID-19 – find out more here.

Do I really need this booster, now restrictions have been lifted?

Yes, vaccines have enabled the gradual and safe removal of restrictions on everyday life over the past year. However, COVID-19 is still out there and there are still many people in hospital with the virus. So, it’s as important as ever to stay up to date with your vaccines.

What are the side effects of the spring booster dose?

As with the other doses, you may experience some mild side effects from the spring booster, including a sore arm, tiredness, a headache and feeling achy. If you get these symptoms, a pain killer such as paracetamol is recommended.

Will there be more doses of the COVID vaccine to come?

The NHS is preparing to deliver an autumn dose of the vaccine. Whether this happens will depend on future recommendations from the JCVI.

What if I haven’t had my first, second or original booster dose yet?

It’s never too late to come forward for your first, second or booster dose. Book an appointment on the NHS national booking system, by calling 119 (translators are available on request) or at a local walk-in centre. If you have questions or concerns, please call in at any vaccine centre for a chat with our friendly staff.