As of 1st July 2023 only children aged 6 months to 4 years who are at higher risk of getting ill from COVID-19 are able to get a vaccine.
Other people who are at increased risk may be able to get a seasonal booster vaccine in autumn 2023. If you are one these people you will be contacted by the NHS and invited to book. Any further information as to who this will include has not yet been released.
Before the autumn, if you are newly diagnosed with lymphoma, or you start treatment that weakens your immune system you may become eligible for a vaccination. Speak to you specialist team for more information.
There are several COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the UK. The COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use in the UK are:
- Pfizer /BioNTech (Comirnaty®)
- Moderna (Spikevax®)
- Novavax (Nuvaxovid®)
- Sanofi and GSK (VidPrevtyn Beta®)
Anyone who gets COVID-19 can become seriously ill or have long-term effects (long COVID). The COVID-19 vaccines are the best way to protect yourself and others. All these vaccines give very high protection against COVID-19. They have been through a rigorous approval process to make sure they are safe and effective. Research has shown the vaccines help to reduce your risk of getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19, reduce your risk of catching or spreading COVID-19 and protect against COVID-19 variants.
If you are over 75, under 18, or are pregnant, you may have to have a particular vaccination, otherwise you do not usually get to choose which one you have. The Sanofi and GSK vaccine contains an oil from sharks, which may be relevant to some people. The other vaccines do not contain any animal products including egg.
As of 1st July 2023 the UK has changed its COVID-19 vaccination programme to mainly a seasonal booster campaign. Vaccinations are still the best way to offer protection from COVID 19 but this protection fades over time, which is boosted with the seasonal vaccinations.
You will be able to get a COVID-19 vaccination in the autumn if you are at increased risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19. Invitations will be sent out from 4 September in Scotland and 11 September in England. Specific groups eligible are:
- Residents in a care home for older adults
- All adults aged 65 years and over
- Persons aged 6 months to 64 years in a clinical risk group
- Frontline health and social care workers
- People aged 12 to 64 years who are household contacts of people with immunosuppression
- Persons aged 16 to 64 years who ae carers and staff working in care homes for older adults.
If you are eligible the NHS will be in touch with you and then you will be able to either book a vaccination online, get it at your GP surgery or care home, or attend a walk-in vaccination site. If you are not invited for one but believe that you are eligible then speak to your specialist team or GP.
Since the 1st July 2023 the only people eligible for 1st and 2nd doses are children aged 6 months to 4 years who are at increased risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19. They will be invited by their GP surgery.
If you are newly diagnosed with lymphoma, or you have started treatment which has weakened your immune system you may be eligible for an additional vaccination before the autumn booster. Your specialist will decide whether this is the case, the best timing, and will make a referral. If you have not been referred and think you qualify please speak to your specialist team.
The online booking service is not currently open. If you think you are eligible for a vaccination before the autumn booster speak to your specialist team or GP surgery.
Anyone who had their first vaccination between 1st April and 30th June 2023 can book their second vaccination using the online booking portal or by phoning the national vaccination helpline on 0800 0308013. Anyone else who is eligible will be contacted, if you have not been contacted and think you should have been speak to your GP or specialist team.
In Wales if you have a Health Board letter or text inviting you to book a vaccination use the online booking service found here. If you are not contacted and think you should have been speak to your GP or specialist team.
The booking service is no longer in use and if you think you require a vaccination contact your local Health and Social Care Trust which can be found here.
The safety profiles of the vaccines are very favourable. They are suitable for nearly everybody.
The vaccines can't be given to people who are allergic to any of their ingredients. Most people with allergies (including food or penicillin allergies) can be vaccinated against COVID-19. Tell healthcare staff before you're vaccinated if you've ever had a serious allergic reaction (including anaphylaxis). They may ask what you're allergic to, to make sure you can have the vaccine.
Some people with lymphoma have lowered immunity and might not respond as well as other people to vaccination. Lots of clinical trials are being carried out to test how effective the vaccine is in people with lymphoma and other types of blood cancer.
Results of trials carried out so far suggest that:
- Most people with Hodgkin lymphoma or high-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma who finished treatment more than six months ago produce antibodies in response to vaccination.
- Many people with low-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma produce antibodies in response to vaccination, but at lower levels than healthy people.
- People who are having treatment for lymphoma, or finished treatment within the last 6 to 12 months, are less likely to produce antibodies in response to vaccination, especially if they had treatment that targeted B cells.
- If people don't produce antibodies after initial COVID-19 vaccine doses, they may produce antibodies after additional doses.
It’s important to remember that antibodies aren’t the only way your body responds to vaccination (although they are the easiest response to measure). We also don’t know how antibody levels relate to your overall protection from COVID-19. Other parts of your immune system, such as T cells, are important too. T-cell responses to vaccination are harder to measure than antibodies, but early results suggest that many people who do not produce antibodies in response to vaccination are still able to produce T cells.
The National COVID Cancer Survey measured COVID antibody levels in people with cancer to find out more about how people with cancer respond to vaccination and what level of antibodies is enough to provide protection against COVID-19. We will update this page when findings are reported.
The main side effects of the vaccines are a sore arm from the injection, feeling tired, a headache, feeling achy, feeling or being sick. You may also get a high temperature or feel hot or shivery 1 or 2 days after your vaccination. Any side effects are usually mild and should not last longer than a week.
There have been rare cases of inflammation of the heart (myocarditis) reported after COVID-19 vaccination. Most people who had this recovered following rest and simple treatments.
Get urgent medical advice if you have any of these symptoms within a few days of being vaccinated:
- chest pain
- shortness of breath
- a fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heart (palpitations).
Each nation has information about the COVID-19 vaccines: