The third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine
Why am I being asked to come in for a third dose of the vaccine?
The third dose of the vaccine is being offered to those who are immunocompromised, which includes everyone living with WM. The third dose aims to increase the level of protection gained from the vaccine.
What is the difference between the third dose of the vaccine and a booster vaccination?
The Government has also announced a booster vaccination programme. This is for the general population and for some types of the vaccine, is only a half dose. The third dose of the vaccine is just for people who are immunocompromised, and is a full dose no matter what vaccine you are given.
I didn’t see an increase in my antibodies between the first and second vaccine doses, will a third dose make any difference?
Some research has shown that antibodies increase between the first and second doses. The idea behind the third dose is to boost these even further. This means even if you still don’t have higher antibody levels, a third dose could offer you more protection.
It’s also important to remember that antibodies are only one measure of immune response, and you may still be offered some protection by the first two doses even if you have low antibody response, which is why it’s recommended that everyone with WM books in a third vaccination.
When should I get the third dose of the vaccine?
The programme is already being rolled out, so you should receive a letter from your GP or hospital about arranging the vaccination. The third dose should be given at least 8 weeks after the second dose, and you may get it at either your GP surgery or hospital.
My GP hasn’t contacted me about the third dose, what should I do?
We’re hearing from the community that the roll out of the third dose hasn’t gone smoothly, and many people are reporting their GP or hospital are not aware of it. If you haven’t heard from your GP or hospital about getting the third vaccination, and think that you are eligible, you can contact them. If they’re not aware about the third dose, you might like to show them this letter which they should have received. A second letter was issued on 30 September, giving GPs and hospitals the deadline of 11 October to vaccinate immunocompromised people.
Our advice is to contact both your haematology team and your GP about booking a vaccine. Show them both the letters linked above, which state that they should have been offering the third dose since 13 September, and now have a deadline of the 11 October.
I have been offered the booster vaccination before the third dose. What should I do?
If you have been offered the Pfizer booster dose and you aren’t getting anywhere with booking in your third dose, it might be best to accept the booster. This is because the Pfizer booster and third doses do the same thing. If you are offered the Modern booster dose, you should not accept it. This is because the Moderna booster dose contains less vaccine than the full third dose.
Will I get the booster vaccination as well?
You may be offered your booster vaccination six months after your third dose, but this hasn’t been confirmed yet.
Can I get my flu jab?
Yes, you can get your flu jab at the same time as your COVID-19 vaccination. When the vaccination programme was rolled out, initial advice said to keep 7 days between the COVID-19 and flu jabs. However recent guidance confirms that there is no harm in having these vaccinations at the same time.