Covid booster jab: Can I choose what vaccine I get? Why you may be offered AstraZeneca

Chris Whitty asks adults to ‘please’ get booster jab

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The COVID-19 booster vaccine programme has ramped up across the UK, with the Government aiming to offer the option to book a jab to all adults over the age of 18 by the end of the year. In the UK, booster vaccines by Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca have been approved for use.

However, it is unlikely you will know what vaccine you are to be offered until the day of your jab.

Can I decide what vaccine I get?

You will not be able to choose which vaccine you receive as your booster jab.

The NHS states: “You cannot usually choose which vaccine you have. When you book, you’ll only be offered appointments for vaccines that are suitable for you.”

People may not receive the same booster vaccine brand as the one they had for their initial two vaccines.

You are most likely to be offered a dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as your booster.

According to the British Heart Foundation(BHF): “Evidence shows that these mRNA vaccines work best as boosters, even if you received a different vaccine for your first two doses.

“The JCVI reviewed data from several different vaccine combinations before making this recommendation.”

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The NHS adds: “Most people can have any of the COVID-19 vaccines, but some people are only offered certain vaccines.

“For example, if you’re pregnant or under 40 you’ll usually be offered appointments for the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccines and if you’re under 18, you’ll only be offered the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.”

Why have I been offered AstraZeneca?

In most cases, the BHF says the majority of people will not be offered AstraZeneca as a booster jab.

However, the vaccine will be offered to anyone who can not have the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine “due to a medical reason”.

People are advised to speak to their GP if this is the case.

What are the side effects of the booster?

Side effects from the booster are “usually similar to those experienced after a second dose”.

These are likely to be “mild” and the BHF says they should not last more than “a few days”.

Some of the most common side effects of the booster to be reported so far include:

  • pain or heaviness in the arm and shoulder area where you had the injection
  • feeling tired
  • a headache
  • fever or chills
  • aches or muscle pain
  • general flu-like symptoms

Paracetamol can be used to treat them.

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How can I book a booster jab appointment?

The NHS states that you are eligible for a booster vaccine if you had your second dose “at least three months ago”.

People must be over 18 in order to get vaccinated.

However, those over 16 with a health condition that puts them at risk, or who lives with someone with a weakened immune system are also eligible.

Frontline health or social care workers and care home workers are also able to get the vaccine.

The NHS adds: “Most people can book a vaccination appointment online for an appointment at a vaccination centre or pharmacy, go to a walk-in vaccination site to get vaccinated without needing an appointment or wait to be contacted by a local NHS service such as a GP surgery and book an appointment with them.”

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