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Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine for people with a severely weakened immune system

A 3rd dose and booster dose (4th dose) of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine is being offered to people aged 12 and over who had a severely weakened immune system when they had their first 2 doses.

This includes if you had or have:

  • a blood cancer (such as leukaemia or lymphoma)
  • a weakened immune system due to a treatment (such as steroid medicine, biological therapy, chemotherapy or radiotherapy)
  • an organ or bone marrow transplant
  • a condition that means you have a very high risk of getting infections
  • a condition or treatment your specialist advises makes you eligible for a 3rd dose

3rd dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

If you had a severely weakened immune system when you had your first 2 doses, the vaccine may not have given you as much protection as it can for people who do not have a severely weakened immune system.

A 3rd dose may help give you better protection.

Information:

The 3rd dose for people with a severely weakened immune system is different to a booster dose.

When to get your 3rd dose

You'll usually be offered a 3rd dose at least 8 weeks after you had your 2nd dose.

Your doctor may suggest a different time depending on if you have any ongoing or planned treatment that affects your immune system.

If you think you're eligible for a 3rd dose but have not been contacted, speak to your doctor.

How to get your 3rd dose

If you're eligible, a GP or your hospital specialist should contact you to let you know you can get a 3rd dose.

You may also get a letter from the NHS advising that you may be eligible and to discuss this with your doctor.

Your doctor will discuss with you how you can get your vaccine.

You'll usually get vaccinated at your local hospital or a local NHS service such as a GP surgery.

Book online

If you're aged 18 or over, you can also book your 3rd dose appointment online.

You'll need to bring a letter from a doctor confirming you're eligible for a 3rd dose to your appointment.

If you do not have a letter

If you do not have a letter from a GP or your hospital specialist inviting you for a 3rd dose, you must bring either:

  • a hospital letter that describes the condition or treatment that caused you to have a severely weakened immune system at the time of your 1st or 2nd dose
  • a prescription or a medicine box with your name and the date showing when the medicine was prescribed – this must show that you had a severely weakened immune system at the time of your 1st or 2nd dose

A clinician at the site will check you’re eligible for a 3rd dose.

If you think you’re eligible for a 3rd dose but you do not have a suitable letter, prescription or medicine box, please contact a GP or your hospital specialist.

Go to a walk-in vaccination site

If you're aged 12 or over, you can go to a walk-in vaccination site to get your 3rd dose without needing an appointment.

You'll need to bring a letter from a GP or hospital specialist confirming you're eligible for a 3rd dose to the vaccination site.

If you do not have a letter

If you do not have a letter from a GP or hospital specialist, you must bring either:

  • a hospital letter that describes the condition or treatment that caused you to have a severely weakened immune system at the time of your 1st or 2nd dose
  • a prescription or a medicine box with your name and the date showing when the medicine was prescribed – this must show that you had a severely weakened immune system at the time of your 1st or 2nd dose

A clinician at the site will check you're eligible for a 3rd dose.

If you think you’re eligible for a 3rd dose but you do not have a suitable letter, prescription or medicine box, please contact a GP or your hospital specialist.

Booster dose (4th dose) of the COVID-19 vaccine

A booster dose (4th dose) of the COVID-19 vaccine helps improve the protection you have from your first 3 doses of the vaccine.

It helps give you longer-term protection against getting seriously ill from COVID-19.

When to get your booster dose

If you've had the 3rd dose, you'll be eligible for a booster (4th dose) from 3 months (91 days) after your 3rd dose.

How to get your booster dose

A GP or your hospital specialist will invite you for your booster (4th dose) when it's due.

You can also go to a walk-in vaccination site offering boosters. You’ll need to bring a letter from a GP or your hospital specialist inviting you for either a 3rd dose or a booster following your 3rd dose

Page last reviewed: 19 January 2022
Next review due: 2 February 2022