Covid-19: Who can get the vaccination, how to get one, and ways to get the booster jab in Sussex

Covid-19 is still a part of our everyday life, with masks, washing our hands frequently and getting vaccinations becoming a normal way of living.

More than 820,000 boosters have been administered in the last three days, and the government is urging people to get their booster as soon as possible.

The offer of a first and second COVID-19 vaccine remains open to anyone who is eligible. Vaccines are available free of charge and from thousands of vaccine centres, GP practices and pharmacies.

There are more than 500 extra vaccination sites now compared to April this year, with 1,697 vaccination centres in operation in April 2021, and over 2,200 vaccination centres in operation now.

How can you book a Covid-19 jab? Picture: CDC on Unsplash

Who can get the vaccination?

- People aged 18 and over - can get the first and second dose

- Young people aged 16 and 17 - are being offered the first dose

- Children aged 12 to 15 - are being offered the first dose

- Young people and children at high risk from COVID-19 - Some young people and children aged 12 to 17 are being offered 2 doses of the vaccine if either:

- They live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)

- They have a condition that means they're at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19.

- Conditions that mean they may be at high risk and eligible for 2 doses are: A severe problem with the brain or nerves, such as cerebral palsy, Down's syndrome, severe or multiple learning disabilities (or they're on the learning disability register), or a condition that means they're more likely to get infections (such as some genetic conditions or types of cancer).

How do I book my first or second dose?

You can book your appointment at a larger vaccination centre or pharmacy now, or wait to be invited to go to a local NHS service.

You do not need an appointment with walk-in centres but not all walk-in vaccination sites can vaccinate children aged 12 to 15. More sites will become available over time.

Who is eligible for the booster jab?

- People aged 50 and over.

- People who live and work in care homes.

- Frontline health and social care workers.

- People aged 16 and over with a health condition that puts them at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19.

- People aged 16 and over who are a main carer for someone at high risk from COVID-19.

- People aged 16 and over who live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis).

- People who are pregnant and in one of the eligible groups can also get a booster dose.

Three ways to get your booster vaccination in Sussex

Covid-19 booster vaccinations are being offered to people in the eligible categories if they received their second vaccination 182 days (six months and one week) ago.

There are three main ways for eligible people to access their booster vaccination:

1. Use the National Booking System

The NHS will contact you to let you know when you are eligible to use the National Booking System by going online or calling 119.

You may receive a text or a letter inviting you to use the system, where you will be able to log on to the website or book over the phone.

You will be able to see available appointments at vaccination centres, pharmacy led services, and some GP led services.

If you are eligible and it’s been longer than 182 days since your last vaccine dose, but you have not been contacted yet, please try to book your appointment on or if you can’t use the website, by calling 119.

The system is being updated every day, so do not worry if it currently says you are not eligible, please keep trying.

2. Wait to be contacted by your local GP led vaccination service

Some GP vaccination services are not using the National Booking System to arrange their appointments. If this is the case for your GP service, they will contact you directly to book your appointment.

3. Attend a walk in session

If you fit the eligible criteria and had your second vaccination over 182 days ago (six months and a week) you can attend any walk in vaccination service near you. No need to book an appointment, you can simply turn up. Those that are classed as clinically vulnerable may not be able to attend a walk in session, call 119 to see if you are eligible to.

No NHS number or ID is required but it does speed things up if you do have your NHS number with you. Health and care workforce will be asked to show their work ID.

See the list of walk in sessions in Sussex on the Sussex Health and Care Partnership Website.

A spokesperson from Sussex Covid-19 Vaccination Programme said: “We want to make it as easy as possible for people to receive their COVID-19 booster when it is their turn.

“There are a number of ways to get yours but to keep it simple, you can use the National Booking System from six months and a week and see a range of services; your local service may not be there and if it isn’t, you will be contacted directly. Don’t forget, you can go to a walk in session without needing an appointment if you’re eligible.

“It is important that those most at risk of serious illness receive a booster vaccination ahead of the winter period. If it has been six months since your second Covid-19 vaccination, your immunity to the virus will be beginning to drop.

“There are plenty of vaccines available and the roll out of boosters is steady to ensure our teams can also continue to provide first and second doses to those who still need them.

“If you have not yet been able to get an appointment, please keep trying. Don’t worry – you will not miss out.”

If you’re unsure how to access your booster vaccination or if you’re having trouble booking an appointment, please call our vaccine enquiry phone line on 0800 433 4545 (open 9am – 4pm, Monday to Friday).

It is important to note that all Covid-19 vaccinations are free and the NHS will never ask you to pay for your vaccination.