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COVID-19 vaccination and boosters

Vaccines remain the best line of defence against COVID-19. Information on whether you are eligible for a vaccine and how to book wherever you live in the UK can be found below. 

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Who can have the vaccines?

Seasonal Boosters

What COVID-19 vaccines are available in the UK?

How to book a vaccination

Is there anybody who can't have the vaccines?

How effective is the COVID-19 vaccination in people affected by lymphoma?

What are the side effects of the vaccines?

Where can I get more information?

Who can have a COVID-19 vaccine? 

On 1st July 2023 the vaccination programme in the UK was changed to a seasonal booster one. People who are eligible will soon be able to have a Spring booster. 

Some people with a severely weakened immune system may need additional vaccinations at other times. Your specialist team or GP will be able to advise you if you think this applies to you.

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Seasonal Boosters

After the 1st of July 2023 the UK 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 seasonal COVID-19 vaccination if you are at increased risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19. Specific groups eligible are:

  • Residents in a care home for older adults
  • All adults aged 75 years and over (this includes anyone who turns 75 by 30th June 2024)
  • People aged 6 months and over who at increased risk

People who are at increased risk of getting ill from COVID-19 includes those with a weakened immune system due to conditions such as lymphoma, having had treatments including chemotherapy, steroids, radiotherapy or a stem cell transplant, or from having their spleen removed. If you are not sure whether you are entitled to one speak to your GP or specialist team.

Visits to people in care homes is expected to begin on 15th April. For everyone else who is eligible, vaccinations should start by 22nd April and run through to the end of June 2024.

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What vaccines are available for COVID-19 in the UK?

There are several COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the UK. The COVID-19 vaccines currently approved for use in the UK and being used this season are:

  • Pfizer /BioNTech (Comirnaty®)
  • Moderna (Spikevax®)

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. 

If you are under 18, or have had a severe allergic reaction to one of the vaccinations offered, you may have to have a particular vaccination, otherwise you do not get to choose which one you have. 

Watch an NHS YouTube video explaining what's in the COVID-19 vaccines and how they work.

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How to book vaccinations


In England, you will be contacted if your record suggests that you are eligible for a vaccination. When contacted there will be different ways to get the vaccination:

  • Booking online
  • Attending a walk-in vaccination centre
  • At your GP surgery
  • At your care home 


In Wales, your local NHS health board will contact you if you are eligible for a vaccination. This will be sometime between April and June. 


In Scotland, you will be contacted with your appointment, or information as to how to book. This will either be via text, email, or a letter. 

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, once available, you can have the vaccination at your GP surgery, local participating pharmacy, at your care home, or from your Health and Social Care (HSC) trust. More information as to how and where you can book is available here.

For all of the UK, if you are not contacted but think you are eligible speak to your GP or healthcare team.

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Is there anybody who can't have the vaccines?

The vaccines are suitable for nearly everybody.

They 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.

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How effective is the COVID-19 vaccination in people affected by lymphoma?

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.

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What are the side effects of the vaccines?

As with any treatment, side effects from the vaccinations can happen but they are rare, and in almost everyone the benefits outweigh these. 
The main side effects 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.

A rare side effect of the vaccination is swollen lymph nodes. This is because the vaccine causes an immune response which can cause nodes to become enlarged. They usually occur on the same side of the body that the vaccination was given and disappear after about a month. If the swellings are more widespread, last for longer or you have other symptoms discuss it with your GP or specialist team.

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).

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Where can I get more information?

Each nation has information about the COVID-19 vaccines:

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