About 1.5 million people in England who are eligible for a Covid booster jab, including over-50s, frontline workers and those who are vulnerable, will be sent an invitation this week to book an appointment.
Though the booster is welcomed by some, others feel that it is more important to ensure other countries have enough vaccines. Four people share their views on the booster jab and whether they will have it when it’s offered to them.
‘If I could donate my jab, I would’
I am concerned there is a shortage of vaccines and don’t understand why we should use more when other countries don’t have enough for two jabs. We are so very fortunate in the UK and it just seems that little old Britain, who went round conquering the world in days gone by, should be complacently offering a third jab, while seemingly ignoring countless people around the world who have not had a first or second dose.
It’s that old feeling of how far does neighbourliness go, and we don’t seem to be very neighbourly so far with the vaccine. It may be that politically we can’t give them away but I don’t see why not. We should have actually been sharing the vaccine from the word go.
I have Crohn’s disease and I’m on the vulnerable scale. I would absolutely hate to get Covid and the thought of not being able to breathe is really scary. But if I could donate my jab, I would. The government is saying the booster would make things better but it seems unfair. I don’t think we have any idea of the suffering of our neighbours abroad where Covid must be devastating. Heather Mary Bowering, 83, retired, Winchester
‘We should focus on ensuring the rest of the world is vaccinated’
I think it’s reasonable to offer booster jabs to people in clinically vulnerable groups, but my main feeling is that we should focus on ensuring that the rest of the world is vaccinated before topping up vaccines in the UK.
It feels as if, having gained a political boost from the vaccination campaign, the government is wanting to repeat this with booster jabs. It wants to give the appearance of doing something, even if it isn’t the most effective use of effort and resources. The government knows it can run a vaccination programme, so thinks: “let’s do another one”. It’s a bit like Nightmare on Elm Street and its sequels, it’s not really imaginative.
We’ve got a pretty high rate of vaccinations which is good, but this is not replicated across the world. From our own self-interest point of view, donating vaccines to help resist the prevalence of Covid in other countries is a benefit for us, and not only does it save people’s lives it can also help in reducing the number of variants developing.
Personally, I am hesitant about getting a booster because I think more effort should be directed towards the Covax (vaccine sharing) scheme. I think people in this country often don’t care much for what’s happening around the world – just witness the cuts to foreign aid. Dave Fernley, 60, retired, Manchester
‘I think a third dose is asking for too much’
I’ve had Covid and know my body is full of natural antibodies because I’ve been tested for them. I’m also fully vaccinated and, with my natural immunity, I’m not sure I need a third booster jab.
In other countries like France, if you have already had Covid then you only need to prove you’ve had one dose of the vaccine. This isn’t the case in England. There are also some medical communities that don’t think there is a need for a third dose until more research is done – it’s so confusing. It makes you wonder whether decisions made by governments are based on science or the amount of vaccines they have.
I think a third dose is asking for too much. To tell you the truth, it sounds like it’s just about business and the never-ending machine of making money for the people who create the vaccines. Also, there are countries where people need them and don’t have them. Helena, 57, works in the creative industry, London
‘It should be given to everybody like a flu jab’
The booster jab should be given to everybody like a flu vaccination. My view is the sooner people are offered one, the better. I have a daughter who is in her 50s, and even though she and her partner are double vaccinated they caught Covid and were quite ill. One of them now has long Covid.
It’s a pity it has taken so long for the government to decide about boosters, but they always seem to be late in making any plans because they might upset other members of the party. I used to run an engineering firm employing about 45 people. Every year we had a company doctor who vaccinated us against typhoid, polio, etc because we didn’t want anyone to get sick. Giving out a booster jab seems to be common sense.
I have a daughter and granddaughter in the Netherlands and at the moment it’s very difficult to get there as my Covid passport is now out of date, because I was vaccinated in February. At least the booster will mean I would’ve been jabbed recently. Ian Castle, 82, retired, Suffolk