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Covid vaccine myths busted: All the answers to your questions about the booster vaccine



Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 offers the best chance of avoiding serious illness and hospital treatment – or even dying from the disease.

But there is a wealth of misinformation surrounding coronavirus that needs clearing up in order to keep as many people as safe as possible.

Those that have not had their first, second or third COVID-19 vaccines are being urged to come forward for their jabs.

Vaccines offer excellent protection even if you’ve already had coronavirus and are an important safeguard alongside other measures such as washing hands, wearing a face covering and social distancing.

More than a year after the first COVID-19 vaccines were administered, the jabs have been proven to be safe and effective. You can get your booster now at nhs.uk/covidvaccination. If you are In Scotland visit nhsinform.scot/covid-19-vaccine for Wales visit gov.wales/get-your-covid-19-vaccination and for Northern Ireland visit covid-19.hscni.net/get-vaccinated

Here we answer some of the questions you may have about the COVID-19 vaccine.

I’ve already had two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, am I not protected enough already?

There is a new variant of COVID-19 – Omicron – which is highly infectious and spreading fast. It is more important than ever for you to get vaccinated. A booster will strengthen your protection from serious illness from COVID-19 and give you the best possible defence for you and your family. Boosters bring your protection against COVID-19 infections with symptoms back up to over 88 per cent.

I had my second dose of the vaccine not that long ago. When can I get a booster vaccine?

You can get a COVID-19 booster vaccine 3 months after your second dose.

I have a condition that makes me immunosuppressed and more vulnerable to infection. When can I get the vaccine?

In certain circumstances, for example for people that are immunosuppressed, you may be eligible to receive a booster Jab sooner. If you haven’t had your booster, then go to the NHS website to book an appointment or find your local walk-in vaccination centre.

I’m concerned about the side effects of the vaccine, is the booster actually safe?

Yes, the Booster vaccine has been approved for use by the MHRA. Millions of people have already been protected from serious illness by getting vaccinated and they report that if they get side effects at all, they are generally very mild and don’t last more than 24 hours. If you get COVID-19 you may need to take time of work to isolate and recover from illness. Side effects are mild and generally short-lived. One day off to recover from side effects is better than isolating if you test positive for COVID-19.

London-based A&E Doctor Emeka Okorocha said: “The COVID-19 vaccine is quick, easy and free and don’t worry about the side effects; like all medicines, the COVID-19 vaccines may cause some side effects, but most of these are mild and short-term, lasting no longer than a week, and not everyone gets them. Also – if you weren’t able to get your booster dose because you had COVID-19 remember to book your jab 28 days after you no longer have the virus.”

Why should I get the booster vaccine?

Unvaccinated people are eight times more likely to be hospitalised than those who have had both doses of the vaccine and a booster. If you catch COVID-19, there’s a chance you might get ‘Long COVID’, which can have serious and debilitating long-term effects. Many have said it has had a major impact on their lives, especially the ability to exercise, work and maintain relationships. Boosters give you the best possible protection against the virus and should significantly reduce your risk of serious illness and hospitalisation.

Dr Okorocha said: “As a doctor, I have seen first-hand the effect that COVID-19 can have on people and I want to remind everyone that you can still get seriously ill with the virus, so it is so important to get the jab to keep ourselves, your friends and loved ones safe. COVID-19 is highly infectious, and the vaccine remains our best line of defence against it. Omicron is highly transmissible and still has the potential to lead to significant numbers of people in hospital, so it’s important your immunity is topped up – and to come forward for your first or second dose if you haven’t already. We don’t know what threat any future variants may pose, so if you haven’t come forward for any jabs, it is absolutely essential you do so.”

I’m pregnant and concerned about the efficacy of the vaccine. Why should I get a booster vaccine?

Being pregnant can put you at greater risk of getting seriously ill with COVID-19 which brings extra risks to your newborn and increases the chances of your baby being born prematurely or even stillborn. If you’re pregnant, make sure to get boosted now. Data from the UK Obstetric Surveillance System shows 96.3 per cent of pregnant women admitted to hospital with COVID-19 symptoms between May and October 2021 were unvaccinated, a third of which 33 per cent requiring respiratory support. Around 1 in 5 women who are hospitalised with the virus need to be delivered preterm to help them recover and 1 in 5 of their babies need care in the neonatal unit.

Dr Jenny Jardine, from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, who is also seven months pregnant and has had her COVID-19 booster jab, said: “Both as a doctor and pregnant mother myself, we can now be very confident that the COVID-19 vaccinations provide the best possible protection for you and your unborn child against this virus. I would strongly call on all pregnant women like me, if you haven’t had the vaccine yet, to either speak to your GP or midwife if you still have questions and then book right away today.”

Dr Jenny Jardine, from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

(Supplied)

Is the booster Jab actually effective against the Omicron variant?

Every adult in the country now needs to get a COVID-19 booster vaccine, because two doses does not give you enough protection against catching Omicron. Get Boosted Now is our national mission to build a wall of defence against the Omicron variant. A booster will strengthen your protection from serious illness from COVID-19 and give you the best possible defence for you and your family.

Getting a booster Jab does not fit in with my lifestyle/schedule, what should I do?

The COVID-19 vaccine is quick, easy and free. It’s easier than ever to get the jab, it only takes a few minutes and you can get it anywhere and at a time that’s convenient for you, even at the weekend. If you have already had your booster, then encourage friends and family who haven’t to book theirs now or visit a walk in vaccination site.

Amir Khan, an NHS GP based in Bradford, said: “We know many people are juggling busy lives which is exactly why the NHS is making it as easy as possible for you to get your booster. New vaccination sites have been set up across the country and existing sites have extended their opening hours so as many people as possible can get jabbed, as soon as possible. And once you’ve had your vaccine – then why not encourage your friends and family to book as well – so we all have the best protection possible.”



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