Latest on the COVID-19 spring booster

This article provides information on the latest COVID-19 booster programme.

Spring booster programme 2024  

Webpage last updated on: 11th March 2024

The UK Governments have recently announced that they have accepted the advice of the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) for a spring COVID-19 vaccine booster programme 2024. This will see eligible people get another booster vaccine against COVID-19.
Where information differs by location, we have added this information to the blogs below. Anything that does not state a country applies to all UK nations to the best of our knowledge.

Who is eligible for the spring booster?

Here is a list of everyone eligible for the spring booster in the latest vaccine campaign: 

  • Adults aged 75 years and over 
  • Residents in care homes for older adults 
  • Individuals aged 6 months and over who are immunosuppressed (as defined in the Green Book, chapter 14a; tables 3 and 4) 
  • You may notice this is a smaller group than previous iterations, so if you do not receive an invite, please check the list above. 

According to the Green Book, anyone with a history of a haematological malignancy, including leukaemia, would be considered a clinical risk group (immunosuppressed) and would be eligible for the spring booster. If you are still unsure whether you are eligible for the spring booster, you can find further information in the Green Book on page 24 here. Alternatively please contact your healthcare team and/or our advocacy team on advocacy@leukaemiacare.org.uk to get further help. 

If you are not on this eligibility list, it has been reported that vaccines will be available privately for the first time. We expect this to work in a similar way to private flu jabs, where people can book appointments or walk into pharmacies and chemists. We will update this blog if and when more information becomes available. 

Someone in my household is immunosuppressed - can I get the spring booster?

No. Household contacts of the immuncompromised are not eligible this time around for an NHS spring booster. If you would like to protect yourself as well, we advise that you consider a private vaccine if you can.  

When will I get the spring booster jab?

The spring COVID-19 booster campaign will run:

  • In England between 22nd of April and 30th of June. For individuals who are housebound or in care homes, they will begin to be vaccinated from the 15th of April.
  • In Wales between 1st April and 30th of June (this may extend into July if demand requires). All eligible individuals will be invited for vaccination via a personal letter to their home address.   
  • In Northern Ireland from the 15th of April 2024.
  • In Scotland between Monday 2nd of April 2024 for care homes/housebound patients. The vaccine programme will then start on 8th of April in Community Clinics. This spring COVID-19 booster programme with run until 30 June 2024. Scottish patients can book their appointments via an online portal here.

How do I get the spring booster?

Invitations are expected to be sent out to eligible patients by email, text, or as letters in the post, as with previous doses. From the 15th of April, eligible patients will also be able to book an appointment for their booster using the national booking system online here. 

If you aren’t able to book your vaccine online, you can call NHS 119 to book it over the phone. You can reach 119 Monday to Friday 9am-5pm or Saturday from 9am-1pm. Please note that the lines are closed on Sunday and bank holidays.  

Should I bother with the spring booster if I haven’t made any antibodies so far?

We would encourage everyone who is eligible to take up the offer of all COVID-19 booster vaccinations. This includes both people who have had a good antibody response to previous vaccines and those who haven’t. After the 3rd dose of the vaccine, there is some evidence that a vaccineincreases an immune response in people who had not made many or any antibodies from the previous doses. Furthermore, antibodies are only part of the immune system and the role of other parts of the immune system isn’t yet fully understood.  It is therefore possible that the boosters may yet boost your antibody production and/or your immune response further. 

Evidence also shows the more recently you have been vaccinated the better protected you are.  

I think I am behind on my vaccines, can I still get the spring booster?

Yes, if you are eligible it is still possible to get vaccinated in the spring programme, no matter where you are on the vaccine schedule.

Questions for specific groups

I am currently having chemotherapy. Should I have the spring vaccine?

Since the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccinations, many people will have had the vaccine close to chemotherapy treatment and we are unaware of specific problems in this group. As with other vaccines, there are specific times when they are recommended whilst you are on chemotherapy, to give the vaccines the best chance of working. If you are invited for the vaccine during a course of chemotherapy, please speak to your haematology team if you are unsure when is the most appropriate time for you to have it or to discuss any other concerns.

I have had or am currently having a transplant. Should I have the spring vaccine?

You can have the vaccine whilst on cancer treatment, but it is preferable that it is delivered at a time when you have an immune system working at some level.  If you have been invited to have a vaccine, please speak to your care team for advice about when to have it. COVID-19 vaccines should also be considered when you have all your re-vaccinations after transplant. Speak to your healthcare team or our advocacy service if you have any questions about this. 

I have already had COVID-19. Should I get a vaccine?

Natural infection with COVID-19 will generate an immune response, such as producing antibodies, as this is how your body fights off the virus. However, it is not clear how long this lasts in a person’s body. Initial studies have suggested that antibodies are short-lived after infection, and there have been cases of reinfection reported, although rare. Therefore, it is recommended that you still have the vaccination, as this has been designed to give strong and lasting protection.

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