news update on the third dose of the vaccine

In September 2021, the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation) announced that people who have severely suppressed immune systems at the time of their first and second doses of the vaccine would be able to get a third dose.

This is not a booster dose, but an additional ‘top-up’ dose to increase protection from COVID-19 for people who may not have not had a good response from the first two doses. It is expected that the JCVI will publish more guidance on a COVID-19 booster vaccination programme this autumn.

Best Wishes




  • Does anyone know how this is being done ? My GP has not heard from our Clinical commissioning group. I am obviously keen to get my 3rd dose as soon as possible. What is other people's experience so far ?

  • Ellen
    Ellen Moderator Posts: 1,205

    Good Morning @Sunflower46

    Welcome to the Versus Arthritis online Community.

    I see you have already contacted your GP surgery and as yet they haven't heard from commissioning. I understand just how frustrating it feels waiting to find out when you will get your third vaccination.

    I personally am desperate to have mine and am sorting out my flu jab while I am waiting for further information on the 3rd COVID-19 vaccination. At least I feel I am doing something to help myself.

    For now I would suggest you keep checking back in on this thread as people will start to add comments as they hear from their own Doctors.

    Best wishes


  • Why do the 1% of the population who have little to no covid 19 antibodies have to wait 6 months to get a booster vaccine?

  • Rosiepup
    Rosiepup Member Posts: 21

    Has anyone actually had their third jab? I haven't heard anything from my GP/rheumatologist. I know of people who aren't immunosuppressed who are already being called for their booster jabs. As I understood it those of us in the third jab group would get that first and then maybe a booster as well later on, but the way things are going I'll be called for the booster before the third jab!

  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,992

    The third jab/booster was supposed to be given at the same time as the flu jab as this would save the time and energy of the surgerys in setting up different dates etc. I have my flu jab on the 2nd October so am keeping my fingers crossed.

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,224

    I'm to have my 3rd vaccine a week tomorrow. I'm in Scottish Borders.

    NB This is the 3rd full dose for the immunosuppressed. Not the same as the booster jab.

    No flu jab yet.

  • If the 3rd vaccine is a full dose for the immunosuppressed, what does the booster jab consist of please? Thank you. No news from my surgery.

  • I was waiting for an invitation, but I saw my rheumatologist last week and she told me to call the vaccine centre. But they would not book me in because I hadn't received a text invitation. So I asked rheumatology to refer me, received the text message, and then booked myself in. Had my third jab on Saturday, 5 months after my second. Side effects were similar but less severe than with first two.

    I think if I hadn't had a rheumatology appointment last week I'd still be waiting to hear something.

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 28,212

    Brilliant @DorothyParker !

    I am very pleased for you.

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,224

    I've had my third this morning. It was explained, very carefully, that this was a third jab for the immunosuppressed because we might not have as much protection from the first two, not the regular booster that others would get..

    I was also told that it still left 'room' for us to have a booster if needed. (Quite how they will determine need I've no idea.)

    My first two were AZ. This was Pfizer. I think I read somewhere a while back that third jabs would all be Pfizer or Moderna.

    I was also offered my flu jab at the same time and same arm. Obviously, I went for it.

    Everyone was very pleasant and kind. There were socially distanced chairs for us to sit in for ten minutes whereas last time, different venue(s), we'd to sit in our own cars outside.

    I feel fine and pleased it's all gone so well.

  • markdupont
    markdupont Member Posts: 2

    Is anyone taking the booster pfiser shot while on methotrexate

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,224

    I've been on methotrexate for all my vaccines - two AZs and now one Pfizer.

  • YvonneH
    YvonneH Member Posts: 1,111

    Hi @markdupont

    welcome to the Online Community. It’s great to have you here.

    I see you are in need of information from members taking methotrexate and having the Pfizer vaccine, and already one of our experienced members has already commented!

    You are recent to your diagnosis of arthritis and aren’t sure whether it’s rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis. I’m attaching links for both of these - they are comprehensive but the explanations are clear and hopefully will be useful.

    if you have any questions do share them, I’m sure we will be able to help

    Take care

    Yvonne x

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 28,212

    Thanks @stickywicket

    I am so glad Lucy will not have to have AZ again! She is the only young person l know to have it because she had it before they knew about the blood clots. I was terrified for her second vaccine and was already dreading the third😊

  • Rosiepup
    Rosiepup Member Posts: 21

    There's an article on the BBC News website this morning about the difficulties/delays in people getting the 3rd jab. It says GPs were told to identify and start contacting patients in this group by 13th September! But there have been so many reports of GPs not taking any action or not even being aware of the 3rd jab that new instructions have been issued:

    NHS England issued new guidance to hospital trusts on 30 September, with instructions that action be taken immediately to contact all those eligible for their third dose by 11 October.

    These will be recorded as a "booster" shot until the national system can be updated to recognise third "primary" doses. This will ensure immunosuppressed patients can then be contacted again in six months for their booster fourth dose.

    I've still heard nothing from my GP so far.

  • I have issues similar to the man in the BBC news article. I have been passed from pilar to post between the ccg, my gp and the rheumatology team with no one party agreeing on what needs to be done, how it will be organised or accepting responsibility for how the 3rd dose is implemented. I am Happy further guidance has been given. In some areas implementation has been shocking

  • Rosiepup
    Rosiepup Member Posts: 21

    I've still heard nothing from my GP and it's impossible to speak to anyone at the surgery; when your call gets to the front of the queue it just rings out and is then cut off. But I have been able to speak to someone in the rheumatology dept who told me I am eligible for the 3rd jab, but then went on to say that there has to be at least 6 months between the 2nd jab and the 3rd one, whether it's the 3rd primary dose or a booster. I know there's a 6 month gap for the booster but I've looked at the JCVI guidance for the 3rd primary dose and all it says there is that the 3rd dose should be at least 8 weeks after the 2nd. Has anyone else been told there has to be 6 months between the 2nd and 3rd doses?

    I know probably some people reading this will think, well, what's the difference, you'll get a booster soon anyway. But it does make a difference to me. I haven't been out socially for over 18 months now apart from the occasional walk with friends. A blood test after my 1st jab showed no antibodies. My friends are going out socialising, going away on holiday, basically Covid is over for them. And I am left sitting at home on my own. I turn 60 in a few weeks time and I would love to be able to go on a much longed for trip to the theatre or go for a meal, something, anything. As it is my booster won't be due until the end of November so it would mean a lot to me to feel I had a bit more protection from the third jab now.

  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,992

    It has been announced several times that there has to be 6 months between the 2nd jab and the booster.

  • Brynmor
    Brynmor Member Posts: 1,795

    Hi @Rosiepup

    There is updated information (8th October) available about the 3rd vaccine dose available on our website page here:

    The 3 sections starting with "When will people with arthritis receive the vaccine?" need careful reading and there is a proforma letter there available for download to help you  confirm your status as a severely immunosuppressed person with your GP if that is needed.

  • Rosiepup
    Rosiepup Member Posts: 21

    Thank you Brynmoor. Well I have read the updates and that only says there needs to be at least 8 weeks between the 2nd jab and the 3rd primary dose, the same as the JCVI guidance, so I don't understand why the rheumatology dept told me 6 months. Both myself and the person I spoke to were clear that we were talking about the 3rd primary jab, not the booster. I agree with Sunflower46, the roll out of this has been awful. I have got an appointment for a flu jab next week so I'll print off the letter and pass it in, but I really feel like I am banging my head against a brick wall.

  • KazandNoo
    KazandNoo Member Posts: 126

    I'm as confused as you Rosiepup.

    I got a text from my GP surgery on Tuesday asking me to book my 3rd dose as I'm immunosuppressed. I rang them to ask why I'd been called as the treatment I started in June (adalimumab) had been held back until 3 weeks after my 2nd dose so I'd have a better response to it. So I wasn't severely immunosuppressed at the time of completing my primary course. "Ah,but you are now " they said. And it's only 5 months ago so it's not a booster.

    Anyway,I gave up trying to understand and she's got me booked in for tomorrow!😄🙃

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,224

    The vaccines were, necessarily, brought out in a rush so there was no understanding of how we immunosuppressed would be with them. Only that we'd be up **** creek without a paddle without them. It's all a big experiment and we're part of it.

    I had my 3rd jab a couple of weeks ago, about 2 months since my second. I dared to wonder about an antibody test as I haven't seen my son and grandson in California for two and a half years. Today a nurse told me Scotland doesn't offer them though England does. I checked it out. USA don't recommend them either as they're so impossible to interpret. Even a site offering them said much the same thing.

    As Cromwell said to his troops "Pray to God but keep your powder dry."

  • Rosiepup
    Rosiepup Member Posts: 21

    Well I printed off the Versus Arthritis letter and took it with me today when I went for my flu jab at the GP's. Neither the nurse nor the receptionist knew anything about the 3rd jab for people on immunosuppressants and both tried to insist I must mean the booster and there was a 6 month gap. I pointed out the letter specifically states it is not the booster and it's only an 8 week gap. The receptionist disappeared with the letter and eventually the practice manager came out and said they would have to contact the doctors at the vaccination centre to find out what needs to be done! Apparently 'someone' will contact me, so back to waiting for now. Clearly I would have got nowhere without the Versus Arthritis letter, so I am very grateful for that.

  • Chrisd
    Chrisd Member Posts: 4

    I tried to call my GP about the 3rd dose to which they said they were not organising vaccines any more and to call 119. Phoned 119 to be told they are only booking boosters and not the 3rd vaccine for the immune compromised and to contact my hospital. So I called my rheumatology team and they didn't seem to know a lot about it apart from they had read the advice recently and looks like most of the people they see will be eligible. I was told NHS England would be contacting me but it wouldn't be until 6 months after my 2nd jab which seems at odds with the advice. So having exhausted all contact routes I am really none the wiser!