Covid booster jabs to open earlier for booking

We're being advised to book our coronavirus booster jabs a month in advance under government plans to speed up their rollout.

Currently, people cannot book their top-up vaccines until six months have elapsed since their second dose.

But from Monday 8th November, those aged 50 and over, plus those most at risk, will be able to book after five months.

It means you could receive your booster on the day you reach the six-month milestone.

NHS England is introducing the change to accelerate the rate of take-up of booster jabs, to help prolong protection against the virus.

Experts say while two vaccine doses give people high levels of protection, immunity reduces over time, particularly for at-risk groups.

The added concern is that even small dips in vulnerable people's immunity will affect the NHS's ability to cope this winter.

The government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) estimates the protection against needing hospital treatment for a Covid infection falls:

  • from 95% three months after getting the second doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca to 75% after six months
  • from 99% three months after getting the second doses of Pfizer/BioNTech to 90% after six months.

Who can get the booster?

To be eligible for a booster jab you need to be:

  • aged 50 or over
  • over-16 with a health condition that places you at high risk
  • are a front-line heath or social care worker