The coronavirus vaccine (and booster doses)
Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine – background information
There was originally a universal 2 dose primary course of the vaccine offered from December 2020 to the whole population (aged over 5). This was ended by the Welsh Government on 30 June 2023, so they now advise that:
"People in a clinical risk group or who develop a new health condition that places them in a clinical risk group, who haven’t yet had their primary course, will still be able to be vaccinated during the next COVID-19 booster vaccination campaign (or sooner, dependant on the advice of a clinician)".
See their website for further information.
Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine – booster campaigns for people at higher risk
The next COVID-19 booster vaccine programme will be rolled out from 11 September 2023.
The following people will be eligible to receive it:
- residents in a care home for older adults;
- all adults aged 65 years and over;
- people aged under 64 years who’re in a clinical risk group;
- people aged 12 to 64 years who are household contacts of people with immunosuppression;
- people aged 16 to 64 years who are carers;
- frontline health and social care workers; and
- staff working in care homes for older adults.
Everyone who is eligible for the booster should be invited for their vaccination by their Local Health Board (LHB). If you feel that you should be eligible and you don’t receive an invite, contact your LHB to query this – see the link below.
If you can’t travel to get a vaccine, you should still be contacted. The NHS can make special arrangements for people who are housebound.
What happens after I've had my vaccination?
In general, the purpose of a vaccine is always the same: to train our immune system to respond to a germ as if it has seen it before and remembers how to tackle it. Vaccines teach our bodies to recognise antigens. This is the part of the virus that attaches to the cells in our body – something they need to do to replicate and cause an infection. After vaccination, if the virus gets into our body, our immune system should remember what to do and produce antibodies to fight it. This means the infection shouldn’t get a chance to take hold and we shouldn’t become unwell with the virus.
It can’t be guaranteed that they are 100% effective in all situations, however, the vaccine should make it far less likely that you will be severely ill or need hospitalisation.
When you receive the vaccine, you may experience some side effects that are common to other vaccines, such as the one for flu. These are:
- A sore arm, particularly in the area you had your injection.
- General aches or mild flu-like symptoms.
- Swollen glands (this only affects a small number of people).
If you do experience any of these side effects, they shouldn’t last too long – they normally pass within a week. But if they don’t clear up or you start to feel worse, you should call NHS 111 Wales to describe your symptoms and let them know you’ve had the vaccine so they can advise you.
Any side effects you experience can also be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency's (MHRA) Yellow Card Scheme.
How will consent for the vaccine be gained for people with reduced capacity to make decisions about their healthcare?
Everyone who receives a coronavirus vaccine will be required to give consent. Some people who will be offered the vaccine may lack mental capacity to make decisions about vaccination – this may apply to your loved one.
If this is the case, the decision-maker – usually someone’s GP or the person giving the vaccine – will need to follow the legal requirements set out under the Mental Capacity Act.