Am I eligible for a Covid booster jab? Everything you need to know

While it was hoped that the booster alone would be enough to fend off the virus this winter, the emergence of the new variant, thought to be more transmissible than the delta variant, has forced the government’s hand in rolling out new restrictions.

The new omicron Covid variant is spreading across the UK fast – and it has prompted Boris Johnson to bring in “plan B” restrictions to curb the spread.

It means members of the public are being urged to get their third vaccine jab to boost immunity as soon as they can.

Face masks are once again mandatory on public transport, in shops, cinemas, theatres and places of worship in England.

Meanwhile, employees are being advised to work from home where possible from Monday and an NHS Covid pass will be required for entry to crowded venues.

And NHS rules on boosters have been relaxed so that all over-18s will be offered their booster by January, a decision supported by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which recently recommended cutting the period between second and third jabs from six months to three.

There are currently 568 confirmed cases of omicron in the UK but health secretary Sajid Javid has said he believes the total is “probably closer to 10,000”, while the total number of daily coronavirus cases is beginning to climb after weeks of high but stable numbers, hitting 51,342 on Wednesday.

Fortunately, deaths and hospitalisations remain relatively low. But that could change as increased mingling indoors over the festive season threatens to further drive up cases. It means a third “top-up” vaccine is becoming even more necessary as immunity begins to wane.

If you are eligible for a vaccine booster jab, you no longer have to wait for the NHS to contact you to make an appointment online. You can currently get a booster if you are over 40, a frontline healthcare worker or over 16 with a health condition and it has been at least three months (91 days) since you received your second dose of one of the approved Covid vaccines.

And you can also visit any walk-in vaccination centre to get your jab, with people being advised to use the NHS online walk-in finder to locate their nearest centre.

If you have had a positive Covid test, you are advised to wait four weeks (28 days) before booking your booster, starting from the date you had the test.

“NHS staff are making it as easy as possible for people to get their top-up vaccination,” said Dr Nikki Kanani, deputy lead for the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme.

“People can now go online, find their nearest site and go and get their booster without delay.

“The booster is not just nice to have, it is really important protection ahead of what we know will be a challenging winter.

“So if you are eligible, please do check the site finder and go get your jab.”

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