“To bridge the uptake gap, it is highly essential to dispel and debunk myths surrounding Covid-19 vaccines and to signpost to reliable resources of information. Talk to your GP if you have any concerns,” advises Dr Raaji Anand.
Many of us will have already had our Covid-19 vaccinations and been offered an additional booster jab.
Whilst it might not necessarily seem important, booster vaccines are key in further increasing our protection against coronavirus and helping reduce the risk of hospitalisation and serious illness as a result of catching the virus.
If you had not yet had your booster, you may be feeling hesitant about it and have questions about why it is needed on top of two vaccination jabs.
The Covid-19 booster is safe and vaccination remains the best defence against Covid-19, but having questions or concerns is totally understandable given the amount of misinformation out there on this topic so we’ve put together a list of common queries to help you learn more about the booster jab.
Unvaccinated people are EIGHT times more likely to be hospitalised than those who have had both doses of the vaccine and a booster.
“Myths and misconceptions pertaining vaccine safety has prevailed in ethnic Asian minority communities…”
GP Partner Dr Raaji Anand (above), received a ‘Covid Hero’ Global Medical Excellence award from the World Tamil Organisation for her ongoing voluntary work helping people understand the importance of getting vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Her surgery, Leylands Medical Centre, works in helping patients understand the protection the vaccine provides, and even runs an on-site Covid-19 vaccination clinic.
“Myths and misconceptions pertaining vaccine safety has prevailed in ethnic Asian minority communities, and this in turn has led to slower vaccine uptake. Language and cultural barriers have been additional impediments to vaccine uptake. We’ve been working to help eliminate the fear within our communities.
“As a practice we’ve been dedicated to vaccinating and protecting as many as we can through the Covid-19 vaccine, and now the booster is equally essential to ensure they have that extra level of protection.
“To encourage uptake, we provide information about the Covid-19 vaccine, so that patients can find out what happens when vaccines have been administered.
“Our patients are predominantly South Asian, and find they prefer to get the booster jab at their local GP practice. So, to meet this need we have operational vaccine clinics run by both GPs and nurses at the surgery to make it more convenient for our patients.
“We’re committed to working towards getting as many people protected as possible, and for those who are housebound or in nursing homes, we go out to them and administer the vaccine there.
“As a volunteer radio jockey, I’ve done several programmes promoting vaccine safety. British Indian Tamil radio has produced programmes towards vaccine awareness both in English and Tamil languages.
“To bridge the uptake gap, it is highly essential to dispel and debunk myths surrounding Covid-19 vaccines and to signpost to reliable resources of information. Talk to your GP if you have any concerns.”
Facts and Questions
- I’ve already had two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, am I not protected enough already?
The new Covid-19 variant – Omicron – is still spreading fast. A booster strengthen’s your protection from serious illness
and gives you the best possible defence for you and your family. Boosters bring your protection against Covid-19 infections up to over 88%.
- Why should I get the booster vaccine?
Unvaccinated people are EIGHT times more likely to be hospitalised than those who have had both doses of the vaccine and a booster. If you catch Covid-19, there’s a chance you might get ‘Long Covid’, which can have serious and debilitating long-term effects. Boosters can significantly reduce your risk of serious illness and hospitalisation.
- I’m concerned about the side effects of the Vaccine. Is the Booster actually safe?
Yes, the Booster vaccine has been approved for use by the MHRA. Millions of people have already been protected from serious illness by getting vaccinated and they report that if they get side effects at all, they are generally very mild and usually don’t last more than 24-48 hours.
- I’m pregnant and concerned about the efficacy of the vaccine. Why should I get a Booster vaccine?
Being pregnant can put you at greater risk of getting seriously ill with Covid-19, which brings extra risks to your newborn and increases the chances of your baby being born prematurely or even stillborn. Data from the UK Obstetric Surveillance System shows 96.3% of pregnant women admitted to hospital with Covid-19 symptoms between May and October 2021 were unvaccinated, a third of which 33% requiring respiratory support.
- Is the Booster Jab actually effective against the Omicrom variant?
The NHS ‘Get Boosted Now’ is a national mission to build a wall of defence against the Omicron variant. A booster will strengthen your protection from serious illness from Covid19 and give you the best possible defence for you and your family.
- The Booster doesn’t fit in with my lifestyle/schedule
Dr Amir Khan, says: “We know many people are juggling busy lives which is exactly why the NHS is making it as easy as possible for you to get your booster. New vaccination sites have been set up across the country and existing sites have extended their opening hours so as many people as possible can get jabbed, as soon as possible. And once you’ve had your vaccine – then why not encourage your friends and family to book as well – so we all have the best protection possible.”
Get your booster now. nhs.uk/covidvaccination