Will booster doses of a COVID-19 vaccine be needed?

Yes, at present, a booster is required from three calendar months after the primary course, It is especially for those with additional health concerns or the elderly, and those at highest risk of exposure to COVID-19 infected people. The amount of time between the first vaccination series and a booster has been adjusted in the light of the spread of the highly infectious Omicron variant. The timing of booster doses is continually being evaluated based on scientific evidence.

In the long term, it is expected that small adjustments may be made to the vaccine if the COVID-19 virus changes so much that immunity generate by the vaccine loses effectiveness. In this case, additional booster doses for those at highest risk from infection may be required to better match the virus variants in circulation, like for the influenza vaccine. How frequently these changes will need to be made is unknown. A major advantage of mRNA vaccine technology is that these changes can be made very quickly (new batches available within a few months compared with more than six months for seasonal flu vaccines).

Last updated: 15 February 2022