Vaccines Coronavirus

All about the COVID-19 vaccines

Last updated: March 2023

Getting a 1st and 2nd dose

Everyone aged 5 and over is eligible to receive a 1st and 2nd dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Some individuals with severely weakened immune systems may be offered a 3rd dose, known as an additional primary dose to improve protection.

The rollout of 1st and 2nd doses will be ending this year (there will be some exceptions). If you have not received a 1st dose and would like to, you are advised to do so before May 2023 to have enough time to receive a 2nd dose after 8 weeks.

Booster vaccines

COVID-19 vaccine booster doses are being offered seasonally. The next available booster will be the Spring 2023 booster offered to those most at risk from coronavirus. This includes:

  • adults aged 75 or over 
  • residents in a care home for older people
  • people aged five and over with a weakened immune system

This booster campaign will begin in April 2023.

Another booster vaccine is expected to be offered in Autumn 2023 for those most at risk from coronavirus.

The 2023 boosters are being offered to a smaller group than the previous years. Though you were eligible for a booster in 2022, you may no longer be eligible this year. If you have concerns about this, please get in touch with your GP or specialist care team for advice.

If you have not yet received a vaccine or a booster, you can book an appointment on the NHS website or find a walk-in vaccination centre. If you cannot book appointments online, you can call 119, free of charge.

For more information about who can get a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, please visit:

Advice for Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland

The general advice is for the whole of the UK. But you can follow these links to find out more specific vaccination information for these nations:

If you have any concerns relating to coronavirus or the COVID-19 vaccine, you are advised to speak with your neuromuscular clinical team.

What will the coronavirus vaccine do?

The COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are designed to protect you from coronavirus by creating the antibodies and cells required to fight off coronavirus and provide immunity from the virus. Vaccines give the best possible protection against COVID-19.

This does not mean you cannot catch or spread the virus. as the vaccines are given in two doses, and the body takes time to create the protection it needs.

There are three vaccines being administered in the UK:

  • Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (Comirnaty) (5 years and over)
  • Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine (Vaxveria) (18 years and over)
  • Moderna vaccine (Spikevax) (6 years and over).

Will the vaccines be safe for people with muscle-wasting conditions?

Advice from Professor Francesco Muntoni, Professor Ros Quinlivan, Dr Adnan Manzur and Dr Chiara Marini-Bettolo, the four neuromuscular experts leading the paediatric and adult North Star and SMA Reach networks of neuromuscular health professionals:

‘In line with the national and international guidelines, we can advise that the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine should be fine to receive for those living with a neuromuscular condition, including those on immunosuppression treatments. We therefore encourage you to get vaccinated at your earliest opportunity.

Those on immunosuppression may have a reduced immune response (in other words, the vaccine will be less effective) but can still have the vaccine.

It is important to remember that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) would not have licenced the vaccine if there were any doubts as to its safety.’

There are common side-effects from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine; you can refer to the information provided to you when you received your vaccine, or to the government website. If you have any concerns, you are advised to speak with your neuromuscular clinical team. If you have received a COVID-19 vaccination and have experienced side-effects, you can report all suspected side-effects to the MHRA by using the Coronavirus Yellow Card reporting system.