All adults in the UK are now able to get a Covid-19 booster jab when they are eligible in an effort to keep coronavirus infections under control.
The booster programme has been extended to include all adults aged 18 and over following the detection of the new Omicron Covid variant.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that people only need to wait three months after their second vaccine dose to get their booster, as opposed to the previous six month gap.
The call to get a booster comes as coronavirus infections continue to soar across the UK, alongside viral infections that are also circulating at this time of year.
The UK Health Security Agency has reported a rise in calls to 111 about colds and flu, a cough, or difficulty breathing above expected levels, while GP services have seen an increase in patients seeking help with lower and upper respiratory tract infections over recent weeks.
But if you are struck down with cold or flu symptoms, what does that mean for your Covid jab? Here’s what you need to know.
Can I get a booster jab if I have a cold?
Government guidance states that if you are not feeling well, you should wait to have your vaccine until you feel better.
However, if you are certain you do not have Covid-19 and are well enough to leave your home, you can still attend your appointment.
If you only have mild cold symptoms, such as a runny nose, you should be fine to get your vaccine, but if you are ill with a high temperature or fever, the NHS advises that you wait until you are better and take a test to check if it is Covid-19.
If you are unsure whether you should attend, speak to your GP before booking an appointment.
You should not attend a vaccine appointment if you are self-isolating, waiting for a coronavirus test or unsure if you are fit and well.
It is possible to rearrange your appointment via the NHS online booking system.
Who can get a booster vaccine?
All adults over the age of 18 will be offered a booster dose, under new JCVI guidance.
The jabs will be rolled out in order of descending age groups to top up antibody levels, with priority given to older adults and those in an at-risk group.
Boosters are also being offered to people aged 16 years old and over with a severely weakened immune system.
How do I book an appointment?
Booster doses can be booked no sooner than three months after the second jab and the NHS will invite you to book an appointment “at the appropriate time”.
If you have had a positive Covid-19 test, you will need to wait four weeks before booking your booster from the date you had the test.
In England, people should receive a letter or a text inviting them to book their booster vaccine dose when they are eligible. Once you have been invited to book, you can do so online via theNHS national booking system.
Booster jabs are also available at walk-in vaccinations centres across England without the need for appointment. NHS England has advised people to use its online walk-in finder to check where their nearest vaccination site is.
The health service said almost every person who is registered with a GP practice lives within 10 miles of a fixed vaccination site.
The walk-in finder website will reveal whether a vaccination centre is offering booster doses, vaccines for 12 to 15 year-olds, or anyone aged 16 and over.
To find your nearest walk-in centre offering booster doses, enter your detailson the NHS website.
If you are in Scotland, the NHS inform website features a handy tool which explains how you will be invited for your booster vaccination.
In Wales, you will be contacted by your health board when it is your turn to book your jab. You should not contact your GP to ask about appointments.
In Northern Ireland, the booster programme has already started with residents and staff in care homes being offered a dose. GPs will shortly be starting to invite their older patients in first to receive their booster. You should wait until you are contacted to book an appointment.
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