Covid Booster Vaccines
The Covid ‘booster’ vaccine is now available to unpaid carers who have had their first and second vaccine.
Why is the booster so important?
Like some other vaccines, levels of protection from the COVID vaccination may begin to wane over time. The booster dose will help extend the protection you gained from your first two doses and give you longer term protection. It will help to reduce the risk of you needing admission to hospital due to COVID-19 infection this winter and help to protect the people you care for.
How do I get my booster jab?
Vaccinated carers will be contacted automatically by the NHS. If you are flagged by your GP as a carer you will also be called for a booster when the time is right.
Remember it has to be at least six months after your 2nd vaccination before you can get a booster. Many carers (who weren’t in high risk groups) may have only had their first vaccination in March/April. That means it may not be time for you to be called for your booster quite yet. It depends on when you had your second dose.
The vaccine card you received with your vaccination will tell you when your second dose was so you can work out when you are eligible for your booster. You can also check the date of your second vaccination on the NHS app.
What should I do if I’ve not had my first or second vaccination yet?
If you’ve not had your first or second vaccination, we’d encourage you to book your vaccination as soon as possible. You can book:
- Online in the Coronavirus vaccine section of the NHS website here
- By ringing 119
- You can also look for other pop up and walk in offers in Manchester here
Can I have the flu vaccine at the same time as the Covid booster?
You can also access the free flu vaccination as a carer from your GP or local pharmacy. You may be offered your flu vaccination at the same time as your booster or first/second COVID vaccinations this winter.
The flu vaccination is very important this year because more people are likely to get flu this winter. This is because fewer people will have built up natural immunity to it during lockdown in the COVID-19 pandemic. If you get flu and COVID-19 at the same time, research shows you’re more likely to be seriously ill so getting vaccinated against flu and COVID-19 will provide protection for you and those around you for both these serious illnesses.
Do I need to let my GP know that I’m a carer?
Letting your GP know you are a carer is really important. It means that they can identify you easily for offers such as the booster vaccination and flu.
If you haven’t already, please let your GP know you are a carer. Most GP’s have a carers form on their website that is easy to complete and return. Your GP will then put a note on your record so they know you have important caring responsibilities and can contact you easily. This will allow you to do things like be contacted about the booster and flu directly.
Contact us if you have any questions or need any advice and support around the information about vaccinations, boosters, registering as a carer with your GP or any other issue as a carer.
Getting to your appointment
If you have been advised to travel to a vaccination centre but cannot get there – for example if you are assisting someone you care for who is too vulnerable – we would suggest that you contact your local GP to explain your circumstances and ask what alternative arrangements can be set up for you.
Transport for Greater Manchester’s Ring & Ride service is an accessible, low-cost mini bus service for disabled people and older people with walking difficulties.
Ring & Ride minibuses are suitable for taking wheelchairs, and all drivers have had special accessibility and disability-awareness training.
What happens at your appointment
The NHS website has lots of useful information about what happens at your vaccine appointment, what you need to bring with you and what happens afterwards. Carers can also attend appointments with the person they care for.
The NHS coronavirus vaccination programme will always be free and they will never ask for payment for vaccines or bank details.
According to the National Crime Agency, fraudsters are targeting elderly and vulnerable people with a vaccine scam and asking for bank details or cash payments for access to COVID-19 vaccines that are fake or non-existent.
If you or the person you care for receives an email, text message or phone call claiming to be from the NHS and are asked to provide financial details, or pay for the vaccine, this is a scam and you should report this directly to Action Fraud.
Where the victim is vulnerable, and particularly if you are worried that someone has or might come to your house, report it to the Police online or by calling 101.
Please be vigilant, follow guidance from the NHS and wait for your GP to contact you.
Carers have their say…
“I must admit I was a little bit apprehensive about having the vaccine, but when you see all those terrible things on the news, so many people dying, I knew I had to get it done. I’m so pleased I did now, and hopefully it won’t be too long before we can all start meeting up again.” Joan, Carer
“I received my vaccine letter telling me I had to be at the Etihad in East Manchester at nine o’clock in the morning. A bit early, but I was just glad to be able to go and get it done. My daughter-in-law drove me there and back. I feel as if we’re getting somewhere at long last.” Margaret, Carer
“I had my jab last week. I felt a little bit under the weather for a day or so afterwards, but they told me that might happen. The same thing happened once when I had the flu jab, but it’s still worth it. The last thing I want is to catch the virus. At my age it would probably see me off.” Frank, Carer
The following FAQ’s have been produced by local neighbourhood teams in partnership with NHS and Manchester City Council. They can be provided in different languages on request.
The vaccine had been developed very quickly – how can we know It is safe?
I’m sure a lot of people will want to ask this and that’s very understandable.
And, yes the vaccine has been completed at speed –but that’s because we are In a pandemic and it is a priority with our best scientific minds working on it, and dedicated to it.
Each of the vaccines has undergone months of rigorous testing and will only be used once the strict safety approvals have been met. This includes approval from the MHRA, the official UK regulator, like all other medicines and devices.
I’m going to have it and I hope my family will too.
Does it change your DNA?
No, it definitely doesn’t. The content of the Covid vaccines does not go anywhere near our own genetic material and has no ability to change it or us.
There’s lots of rumours about it containing human or animal products
No, it doesn’t contain either human or animal products (so no porcine content either).
I’ve heard you can catch flu from the flu jab – can you get Covid from this vaccination?
Taking flu first: the flu vaccination used in our country does not contain live virus, so it does not – and cannot – give anyone flu.
If people do feel a bit under the weather after a flu jab it is because their own immune system is kicking in after the vaccination. Sometimes, if people catch a cold at the same they think it is due to the vaccination, but it isn’t -it’s just a coincidence.
The Covid vaccination does not contain the actual virus, so it’s physically impossible to catch the disease from it.
What if I’ve had Covid already – will the vaccination work for me?
Even if you have had Covid, and were eligible for the vaccination, it would be a good idea to have it. This is because we still do not know how long immunity lasts. Having the jab would help to ensure your immunity is as strong as it can be.
Will I be forced to have the vaccination?
No, you won’t, it is by choice. If you decide against it you would need to be aware that you are at greater risk of the virus and of passing it on.
I’ve heard that the vaccine trials did not include people from ethnic minority backgrounds – is that true?
No, trials did include people from ethnic minority backgrounds. The vaccine producers did make a call for more volunteers recently so that the study matched vulnerable groups – just like they did with the over 65s too.
Should I leave a gap between getting the flu and Covid vaccines?
We are also encouraging people to have their flu vaccination as soon as possible. The flu vaccine is important because if you’re at higher risk from coronavirus, you’re also more at risk of problems from flu. Research shows people can catch both diseases at the same time, with serious and potentially life-threatening consequences.
People also need to have at least 7 days between a flu and a Covid vaccine.