Health

Fourth Covid vaccine: Who is eligible and when will they be available?


A general practitioner vaccinating a patient against COVID-19 (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A fourth Covid vaccine is currently available to people with weakened immune systems ahead of a wider rollout.

So far, the public has been offered two doses of the vaccine plus a booster, since the vaccine campaign began in December 2020.

Amid an increase in Covid infections, Health Secretary Sajid Javid has been asked when the fourth jab would be rolling out for the wider population, but he has stated the government is following the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on when to launch the rollout to the wider public.

Meanwhile, the NHS says: ‘Decisions on when to get a fourth jab for people who are severely immunosuppressed is made between patients and their clinicians, and the majority of fourth doses are being administered through hospital consultants and GPs.’

Who is eligible to get the fourth Covid vaccine?

A fourth dose of the Covid vaccine is currently being offered to people aged 12 and over who had a severely weakened immune system when they had the first two doses of the vaccine. 

This includes people who have or have had blood cancer, a weakened immune system due to treatment such as chemotherapy, an organ or bone marrow transplant, or a condition that means they have a high risk of getting infections.

People aged 16 and over who are severely immunosuppressed have been able to book their booster online since January 31, 2022, and now, this is open to people aged 12 and over.

People with weakened immune systems will be invited to get the fourth Covid vaccine (Picture: Getty)

When will the fourth dose of the Covid vaccine be available?

People with weakened immune systems will be able to get the fourth dose of the Covid vaccine three months, or 91 days, after the third dose. If this applies to you, your GP or hospital will invite you to get your fourth dose at this time. 

Additionally, most of these people will be able to pre-book their appointment vaccine online, if they are aged 12 or older and it has been two months or 61 days since they had their third dose. 

If this applies to you, when booking online, you will be offered an appointment for three months after your third dose. At the fourth vaccine appointment, you will need to bring a letter from your GP inviting you to get the booster. 

Alternatively, you can get the fourth Covid vaccine at a walk-in site three months after your third dose. You will not need an appointment for the walk-in clinic, but you will need to bring a letter from your GP inviting you to get the booster. 

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS National Medical Director, said in a press release: ‘It is incredibly important that those who are most at risk from coronavirus continue to come forward for their doses whether it’s a fourth dose or booster vaccine when their treatment allows and it is fantastic to see that more than nine in 10 people who are severely immunosuppressed have had their third dose so far.

‘As more people who are at the highest risk from Covid become eligible for their booster jab they will benefit from being able to book an appointment online at a convenient vaccination centre.

‘Getting the vaccine is the best way to prevent the likelihood of becoming seriously unwell from Covid and is all the more important if you have a weakened immune system in helping ensure you are protected.’


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