If you are aged 5 or over and had a severely weakened immune system when you had your 1st or 2nd dose of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, you may be offered an additional primary dose (3rd dose) before any booster doses.
Your immune system may not have responded as well as other people’s to your previous doses. An additional primary dose (3rd dose) should improve your protection and reduce your risk of being ill for a long time or of getting serious complications from COVID-19.
Who can get an additional primary dose
The NHS should contact you if you are eligible for an additional primary dose (3rd dose) of the COVID-19 vaccine.
People who may be eligible can 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 developed a severely weakened immune system at least 2 weeks after your 2nd dose, you will not usually need an additional primary dose.
If you think you're eligible for an additional primary dose but have not been contacted, speak to your GP surgery or specialist.
How to get an additional primary dose
If you are eligible, you may be able to get an additional primary dose (3rd dose) of the COVID-19 vaccine at a walk-in vaccination site.
You can also speak to your specialist or GP surgery to find out if they are providing vaccination services.
Go to a walk-in vaccination site
If you or your child are aged 5 or over, you may be able to 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
It can help if you bring either:
- an NHS letter 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.
When to get an additional primary dose
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.
See what to do if you have COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19
If you have COVID-19, or think you might, wait until you feel better before getting vaccinated.
You should also wait if you have a high temperature or feel particularly unwell with any illness.
If you have recently got better from COVID-19, there is no need to delay getting vaccinated.