Covid-19 vaccination

Page updated 16 April 2024

The Covid-19 vaccine is effective and the safest way to protect yourself from Covid-19.

Residents of older adult care homes and people who are housebound are first in line for the Covid-19 spring booster. This started on 15 April 2024

From 22 April, people aged 75 and over will be able to have their top up protection, as well as individuals, aged six months and over, who are immunosuppressed.

Appointments for the Covid vaccine can be booked on the national booking system and NHS App.

Eligible people can also have the vaccine at participating pharmacies. Find a pharmacy.

The NHS is sending texts, emails, NHS App messages or letters to those who are eligible, but you do not have to wait for the invite to book.

  • Visit
  • Phone 119 for free if you can’t get online (translators are available)
  • If you are aged 16 and over you can also use the NHS App.
  • Parents or carers can book a Covid-19 vaccination for children under 16 on their behalf.

Vaccine helpline

If you need help with anything relating to vaccines, phone the helpline on:

03000 810 007
Open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm

Additional information

The Covid-19 vaccine is still recommended for people with a history of allergic reactions provided those are not linked to ingredients within the vaccines.

We have a dedicated process for supporting people with severe allergies. 

This includes specialist allergy advice from Guys and St Thomas' Hospital to help local clinicians and their patients agree the best approach for them.

If you have a history of severe allergic reactions, especially anaphylactic shock, please contact your GP when you are eligible for the vaccine.

If appropriate they will be able to arrange a referral to a hospital-based service to receive the vaccine.

Please do this rather than booking a vaccine appointment directly through the national booking service.

Antibody and antiviral treatments are offered to people with Covid-19 who are at highest risk of becoming seriously ill.

People can use a positive lateral flow test (LFT) to be referred for treatment. It is important treatment starts within five days of a positive test.

Most people who have conditions that put them in the highest risk category will have been contacted directly with information about how to get these treatments, if needed.

Treatments for Covid-19 are for people aged 12 and over who:

  • are at highest risk of getting seriously ill from Covid-19
  • have symptoms of Covid-19 that started within the last five days
  • have tested positive for Covid-19 by PCR or LFT within the last five days.


If you think you're in the highest risk group and need to access Covid-19 treatment, follow these steps to be considered for a referral.

Keep rapid lateral flow tests at home. 

If you're eligible for Covid-19 treatment, you should keep rapid lateral flow tests at home.

You may be able to pick up free rapid lateral flow test kits from your local pharmacy if you're eligible for treatment.

The pharmacy may ask you questions about your medical history to confirm you’re eligible for free tests. If you have a copy of a letter or email sent to you by the NHS that says you’re eligible for Covid-19 treatment, take this with you. A letter or email is not essential, but it will help the pharmacy to confirm you’re eligible for free tests more easily.

Someone else can collect free tests on your behalf, for example, a friend, relative or carer. If you do not have a friend, relative or carer who can collect your tests for you, you may be able to book a volunteer responder by calling 0808 196 3646.

Anyone collecting free tests on your behalf needs to give the pharmacy your details, including your:

Full name
Date of birth
NHS number (if available)
Medical condition(s) to confirm your eligibility
They should also bring any copies of letters or emails that have been sent to you by the NHS about Covid-19 treatments.

Take a rapid lateral flow test if you get symptoms
If you have any symptoms of Covid-19, take a rapid lateral flow test as soon as possible, even if your symptoms are mild. Only take a test if you have symptoms.

You can also use tests you've paid for, for example, a test you've bought from a supermarket or pharmacy.

If your test is positive, phone your GP surgery, NHS 111 or hospital specialist
Phone your GP surgery, NHS 111 or hospital specialist as soon as possible if your test result is positive.

They'll decide if you need a referral for an assessment for Covid-19 treatment or may carry out the assessment themselves.

As part of the assessment, you may be asked what other medicines you take or receive, including any vitamins and minerals, so it's important to have a list of these ready.

If you're eligible for treatment, it's important to start the treatment as soon as you can. Treatments for Covid-19 need to be given quickly after your symptoms start to be effective.

If you’re prescribed capsules or tablets, the medicine can be collected on your behalf by someone else, such as a friend or relative. You’ll be advised where the medicine can be collected from. Alternatively, the NHS may be able to arrange for the medicine to be delivered to you.

If the treatment needs to be given as a drip in your arm (infusion), you'll usually get it at your local hospital or in a local health centre.

You'll get instructions on where to get the treatment and how to get there and back safely.

If your test is negative, do a total of three tests over three days
If your test result is negative, but you still have symptoms of Covid-19, you need to do a total of three rapid lateral flow tests over three days.

For example, if you did your first test today, you should do a second test tomorrow and a third test the day after.

If any test result is positive, you can stop testing and call your GP surgery, NHS 111 or hospital specialist as soon as possible.

Find out more about treatment for Covid-19 on

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