Booster vaccines key to avoid waning COVID immunity, urges Northamptonshire vaccination programme director


Eligible people in Northamptonshire are being warned not to miss out on their COVID-19 booster dose – as latest evidence shows the protection offered by two doses begins to wane over time.

New findings from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) shows that protection against symptomatic disease does falls over time:

  • For the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine – protection falls from 65% up to three months after a second dose to 45% six months after the second dose
  • For the Pfizer/ BioNTech vaccine – protection falls from 90% to 65%  
  • Protection against hospitalisation falls from 95% to 75% for Oxford/AstraZeneca and 99% to 90% for Pfizer/BioNTech

Although the vaccine efficacy against severe disease remains high, a small change can generate a major shift in hospital admissions. For example, a change from 95% to 90% against hospitalsation would lead to doubling of admissions in those vaccinated.

The booster vaccine is therefore crucial to ensure protection is secured from having the first two doses and is maintained over the winter months.

Chris Pallot, Director of Northamptonshire’s COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, said: “Based on this new evidence, where we can see that protection from coronavirus does decrease over time, I urge anyone that has been called to get their booster to do so as soon as possible by booking ahead or visiting a drop-in site near you. As we head towards a challenging winter, I cannot stress enough how important it is to get that much-needed extra protection.

“If you have been called please do not delay and book your booster to protect yourself, your loved ones and those around you.”

Those eligible for a booster dose include people aged over 50, those who are clinically vulnerable and unpaid carers. They will receive letters and text messages confirming their eligibility for a booster if their second dose of vaccine was administered at least six months ago. To book a booster vaccine, those eligible can call 119, book online at or visit a local drop-in clinic. More clinics across Northampton, Corby and South Northamptonshire have recently opened sessions for booster walk-in vaccines to make it even easier to get protected. The Vaccination Centre at Moulton Park has booster walk-in sessions every day this week.

Frontline health and social care workers who are not able to access a booster through their employer can also book online or attend a local drop-in clinic.  For all the latest information on local drop-in sessions and how to book a vaccine appointment visit www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/covidvaccine.

Drop-in clinics around the county also recently opened for those eligible for third primary doses for those who are immunosuppressed. Those eligible for a third primary dose will receive a letter from their GP or Consultant and cannot book appointments on the NHS website or via 119. If they visit a local drop-in clinic they must bring the letter with them which identifies them as eligible.

Drop-in sessions and bookable appointments continue to be available for anyone over 16 years of age who is yet take up the offer of a first vaccine dose or is eligible for a second dose (at least eight weeks after their first). A second dose of the vaccination is vital for longer lasting protection against COVID-19.  

The COVID-19 booking service recently opened for those aged between 12 and 15 at several sites across the county. In addition to this, Greens Norton Community Centre near Towcester has opened drop-in sessions for 12- to 15-year-olds on Friday 5th November and Saturday 6th November and St Michaels & All Angels’ Church in Northampton has walk-in sessions available for this age group on Thursday 4th November and Friday 5th November – check timings on www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/covidvaccine.

Being able to book appointments and visit clinics outside of school provides further choice for parents and guardians to get their children vaccinated. This is alongside the continuing delivery of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Northamptonshire secondary schools, which has now been accelerated following the half term break. All parents and guardians should now have been contacted by their school to let them know when their school vaccination visit is planned.

Chris Pallot continues: “Anyone else who is currently eligible for a vaccination, whether that’s your booster, third primary dose or first and second doses – go and grab your jab by booking ahead or visiting a drop-in site near you.

“Please do check www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/covidvaccine for the latest details on drop-in clinics. More appointments and locations are becoming available daily.

“We know that getting vaccinated is our best protection against coronavirus and helps slow the spread of infection. Every single jab makes a difference to our communities and loved ones. Your vaccination is waiting for you so please go and get it.”