Getting your Covid-19 booster and the flu vaccine
The Covid-19 booster vaccine is now available on the NHS for those who are most at risk from the virus and have had two doses of the vaccination at least six months ago. This includes people with epilepsy.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that all those who were in the priority groups 1-9 for the first phase of the vaccine, should be offered a third dose Covid-19 booster vaccine. This includes:
Those living in residential care homes for older adults
- All adults aged 50 years or over
- Frontline health and social care workers
- All those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 (as set out in the JCVI Green Book, see below) and adult carers
- Adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals.
The JCVI Green Book states that those eligible for the booster include people with chronic neurological disease such as epilepsy.
You can read the full list of those who are eligible in the Green Book on page 14, table 3.
Which vaccine will you get?
People will be offered either a full dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine or a half dose of the Moderna vaccine. This follows scientific evidence showing that both provide a strong booster response.
Where mRNA vaccines cannot be offered e.g. due to potential side effects, the AstraZeneca vaccine may be considered for those who received AstraZeneca vaccine in their primary course.
How will you get the vaccine?
People will be offered the vaccine in a range of ways. Primary care teams will vaccinate care home staff and residents. Health and social care staff will be asked to book their appointments through employers. Members of the public will be invited to get their booster through a GP-led service and/or be contacted by the NHS to book through the national COVID-19 vaccination booking service. They will then get their vaccination in a designated pharmacy, vaccination centre or GP-led service.
What about the flu jab?
The JCVI has said that the Covid-19 vaccine booster and the flu jab can be given at the same time. However, people with epilepsy are not automatically entitled to the flu jab. This is at the discretion of your GP.
The NHS has published a list of serious long-term health conditions which qualify for the free flu vaccine. However, it stresses the following:
“Talk to your doctor if you have a long-term condition that is not in one of these groups. They should offer you the flu vaccine if they think you're at risk of serious problems if you get flu.”
This means that anyone with epilepsy is entitled to request a free flu vaccine from their GP, even though they are not in the defined risk group.
Our Medical Director, Professor Ley Sander has written the following letter which you can download and take to your GP, supporting your request for a free flu vaccine.
If you are unable to download and print the letter, you can request a printed version by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01494 601 300.