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How to get an additional primary dose of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine

Anyone aged 5 or over who had a severely weakened immune system when they had their first 2 doses of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, will be offered an additional 3rd dose to complete their primary vaccination course.

The first 2 doses may not have given as much protection as they can for people who do not have a severely weakened immune system.

An additional primary dose (3rd dose) helps give longer-term protection against getting seriously ill from COVID-19.

People with a severely weakened immune system

People with a severely weakened immune system may include those who 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 disease which affects your immune system (such as HIV, depending on your viral load)
  • a condition or treatment your specialist advises makes you eligible for an additional primary dose (3rd dose)

If you're eligible, the NHS will usually contact you when it's time to get your additional primary dose (3rd dose). You may get a letter advising that you may be eligible and to discuss this with your doctor.

When to get your COVID-19 vaccine

You'll usually be offered an additional primary dose (3rd dose) at least 8 weeks after your 2nd primary dose.

Your GP or hospital specialist may suggest a different time if you have any ongoing or planned treatment that affects your immune system.

Information:

If you think you're eligible for an additional primary dose (3rd dose) but have not been contacted, you can book a vaccination or find a walk-in site near you.

How to get your COVID-19 vaccine

Book your appointment online

If you or your child are aged 5 or over, you can book your additional primary dose (3rd dose) appointment online.

Go to a walk-in vaccination site

If you or your child are aged 5 or over, you can go to some walk-in vaccination sites to get your additional primary dose (3rd dose) without needing an appointment.

What to bring to your appointment

You'll need to bring with you either:

  • a letter from your GP or hospital specialist inviting you for an additional primary dose (3rd dose)
  • 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

If you think you're eligible for an additional primary dose (3rd dose) but you do not have a suitable letter, prescription, or medicine box, it may still be possible to get vaccinated.

When you arrive for your appointment, you can discuss your eligibility with a healthcare professional. They will check to make sure you're eligible.

Page last reviewed: 30 August 2022
Next review due: 28 October 2022