Is the Covid booster a full vaccine dose?

THOUSANDS of people are getting their booster vaccine every day in the UK. 

Regardless of the type they got initially, they are most likely to get a Pfizer jab the third time around.

The Pfizer vaccine was shown in trials to give the strongest immune response.

It’s given as a full dose – the same as for the first and second doses.

The Pfizer Covid jab can be given to people who had two doses of AstraZeneca previously, studies show.

Alternatively, a half dose of the Moderna vaccine may be given as this is regarded as sufficient.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna jabs are mRNA vaccines which have been shown to “provide a strong booster effect”.

That was the assessment by the expert vaccine panel the Joint  Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

The full JCVI guidance says: “The JCVI advises a preference for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for the booster programme, regardless of which vaccine brand someone received for their primary doses. 

“This follows data from the COV-BOOST trial that indicates the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is well tolerated as a third dose and provides a strong booster response.

“Alternatively, a half dose of the Moderna vaccine may be offered. 

“Where mRNA vaccines cannot be offered, for example due to allergies, the AstraZeneca vaccine may be considered for those who received it previously.”

The guidance came following the COV-BOOST trial, which included 2,886 participants and tested which of seven jabs was best as a booster.

The booster is being offered at least six months after the second dose, as this is when immunity is shown to start waning.

Like previous doses, the vaccine will be given in the upper arm.

The common side effects are the same for all Covid jabs and include:

  • having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection – this tends to be worst around 1 to 2 days after the vaccine
  • feeling tired
  • headache
  • general aches, or mild flu like symptoms

The NHS has now given a booster to half of eligible people aged 50 and over.

Getting a third vaccine shot will ensure you have the optimal level of protection against Covid this winter.

Dr Nikki Kanani, NHS deputy vaccination programme lead, said: “The booster is not a nice to have – it is really important you come forward for yours as soon as you become eligible.” 

Anyone eligible for a booster who is 190 days on from their second dose can go online and book through NHS Digital’s booking service or call 119 if they need extra support with their booking.


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