How to get your Covid booster vaccination

Boosters are the government's main defence against the Omicron variant of Covid.
Image of Omicron, by Pixabay

The government announced in mid-December that it was bolstering the Covid vaccination programme to deal with the increase of Omicron cases.

Omicron is very transmissible, doubling every 2-3 days. New evidence shows two vaccine doses aren't good enough against the variant, but protection rises to more than 70% after you've had a booster.

GPs and other NHS staff have been redeployed and the army brought in, to help to deliver boosters to all eligible adults in England. This means "some non-urgent appointments and elective [planned] surgeries may be postponed until the New Year".

"Without the added protection from this third dose, NHS beds will quickly fill up and the long term damage to the economy and the NHS efforts to bring down the backlog will be even greater," the Prime Minister said.

Your booster must be at given at least three months after your second dose but you can book your appointment up to a month beforehand. 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Boosters

  • Boosters are being offered to all adults aged 18 and over

  • Your booster can't be given until at least 3 months after your second dose but you can book your appointment up to a month in advance

  • You can make a booster appointment using the national booking service

  • Venues in Reading include the mass vaccination centre at Broad Street Mall

  • Broad Street Mall vaccine centre runs 7 days a week, 9.30am-7pm by appointment

  • You can check if any walk-in booster service is available, here on the NHS website

First and second vaccine doses

  • 12-15-year-olds will be offered a second vaccine dose, after previously being offered only a single dose - a start date for this change hasn't yet been announced
  • 12-15-year-olds can get their first dose outside of school: book here (bring a parent or guardian with you)
  • 12-15-year-olds must wait 12 weeks (recently changed from 4 weeks) after any positive PCR test before getting a vaccine
  • 16-17-year-olds are now being offered a second dose of the vaccine, 12 weeks after their first dose (not the 8 week gap that applies to adults aged 18+)
  • Anyone aged 16+ who hasn't had their 1st or 2nd vaccine can still come forward
  • Book an appointment or check if a walk-in service is available here

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