There is an existing booster jab programme that encourages vulnerable people to get extra protection against coronavirus. However, as the new variant, Omicron, spreads around the world, the government is speeding up the booster programme to ensure all adults in the UK receive additional protection against serious illness. As Christmas looms closer and families make plans, staying safe, reducing transmission, and protecting loved ones is on everyone’s mind.
When people become eligible for the booster, they will be contacted by the NHS. People are only encouraged to book their booster if they have been contacted or belong to one of the eligible groups.
In this article we outline what booster jabs are, who can get them, and where they will be offered in and around Nailsea.
Why are Covid-19 Boosters Important?
Similar to how a flu booster vaccine is offered to elderly and vulnerable groups each year, the covid booster gives a ‘boost’ of protection against serious illness. This is especially important during the colder winter months when infections surge.
Over the course of many months, the protection offered by vaccines reduces. Therefore, even if you have had both vaccines jabs, and are considered ‘fully vaccinated’, you should have a booster jab to ensure your protection is maintained and the risk of serious illness decreases.
To give an example; evidence from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) shows:
“…protection against symptomatic disease from the Delta variant falls from 65%, up to 3 months after the second dose, to 45% 6 months after the second dose for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, and from 90% to 65% for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Protection against hospitalisation falls from 95% to 75% for Oxford/AstraZeneca and 99% to 90% for Pfizer/BioNTech.” (source)
Do You Need a Booster Jab to Travel Abroad?
Aside from additional protection, boosters may also be important for those looking to travel abroad over the coming year.
Though not confirmed, the time since a vaccine may be a factor in eligibility to travel without doing additional tests or quarantining, rather than whether or not a person is doubled jabbed. So far, Israel, Croatia and Austria, among others, use time since a vaccine in order to qualify for no quarantine. Therefore, booster vaccines may be appealing to those wanting to travel without restrictions.
The new rules mean that the time limit between the second dose and the booster will reduce to 3 months. This applies to those who are currently eligible. Those who are younger than 40 and not in any of the above groups will be contacted in due to course to book their appointment. Age groups will be grouped into 5-year age bands.
Additionally, those who are immunosuppressed and have received at third dose will be offered forth doses. 12 to 15 year olds who have had one dose will be offered second doses, with 12 weeks between does.
Those who have not yet received their first or second vaccine dose can book at any time. Only once a certain time has elapsed since the second dose will they be able to book their booster jab.
Which Covid-19 Vaccines are Used for Boosters?
Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines will be used for boosters. If you cannot have either of these vaccines, you may be offered Oxford/AstraZeneca instead.
Your booster vaccine may be different from your first or second does vaccine.
Where are Covid-19 Boosters Available In and Around Nailsea?
For the most part, local residents are likely to be contacted by Tyntesfield Medical Group when they are eligible. Then, they will book an appointment for their booster dose at Brockway Medical Centre.
It is important we continue to regularly test even if we are not showing symptoms. Vaccines offer protection against serious illness, but there is still risk. Free lateral flow test kit can be collected from multiple sites in Nailsea. If you experience symptoms (high temperature, a new continuous cough, and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste), you should do a free PCR test.