Wellbeing

Here’s what you really need to know about the Covid-19 booster – from a GP

Our newest expert in residence, Dr Charlotte Gooding, breaks down the myths and medicine surrounding the booster jab, as we head into the festive season.

Written by Dr Charlotte Gooding
Published 02.12.2021

By Dr Charlotte Gooding

WHAT IS THE COVID BOOSTER VACCINE AND WHY SHOULD I HAVE IT?

Like some other vaccines, the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine will lessen over time.

The booster dose is an extra dose of vaccine, which will help to extend the protection you get from the first two vaccines. It will, therefore, give you longer-term protection against the Covid-19 virus. It’s also thought that it will give better protection against new variants, such as the new Omicron variant, which is important as it is predicted this variant may have a higher re-infection rate than other strains.

Some people may still get the virus, but symptoms should be less severe than if you haven’t had the vaccine and there is evidence that it reduces the risk of needing an admission to hospital.

It’s important to remember that no vaccine is 100% effective. Therefore, we should continue to take precautions to avoid infection – such as hand washing, isolating when you have the virus and wearing masks where advised.

WHICH VACCCINE WILL I GET?

 You’re most likely to be offered Pfizer or Moderna for your booster, as evidence has shown that these are effective to work as boosters. There are ongoing studies on the use of other vaccines that could be used as boosters, too.

In the future, if other vaccines are showing promising data in extending immunity, there may be other booster vaccines available each year, depending on circulating variants – just like with the flu vaccine!

WHO SHOULD GET IT?

Boosters are now being offered to everyone aged between 18-39 years, where it’s been three months since your second vaccine dose.

There’s no need to leave a gap between the Covid 19 vaccine and your flu vaccine.

If you have tested positive for Covid-19, then you need to wait 28 days from the day you tested positive – this is to ensure that we can differentiate the side effects of the vaccine from your illness.

 

HOW DO I GET IT?

The Government has set a target to offer everyone eligible a chance to book a booster jab by the end of January 2022.

You will be contacted if you are eligible for the booster, to inform you that you can book at a site. There will be new sites opening across the UK. The North East already has several vaccination sites that are currently giving out boosters.

The clinically vulnerable will be called first, then the over 40-year-olds and elderly, followed by the 18-39 year olds.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr Charlotte Gooding graduated from Newcastle Medical School in 2008 later qualifying as a GP. In her role she enjoys educating patients and health care professionals and has been involved with teaching medical students at Newcastle University.

Her general practice career has given her a good grounding in all areas of medicine but her main focus of work is in Women’s Health where she is passionate about empowering women to seek help for their health issues and offering them support to make positive lifestyle choices at all stages of their lives.

As well as her NHS GP work Dr Gooding is an associate at Menopause Care a private menopause clinic that see’s women all over the UK. Her role is to offer evidence based, up to date and holistic care based on a woman’s individual needs. She enjoys being able to work as part of a menopause team helping women on their journey through midlife and supporting them in transforming their future health.

Instagram: @drcharlottegooding

Website: www.menopausecare.co.uk

Dr Charlotte Gooding
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