Skip to main content

Warning notification:Warning

Unfortunately, you are using an outdated browser. Please, upgrade your browser to improve your experience with HSE. The list of supported browsers:

  1. Chrome
  2. Edge
  3. FireFox
  4. Opera
  5. Safari

Booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

The protection from previous doses or a COVID-19 infection may weaken over time. Booster doses help boost your antibodies and give you good protection from becoming seriously ill or needing to go to hospital if you get COVID-19.

Seasonal boosters are recommended for some people at higher risk of COVID-19 illness.

Spring booster dose

Spring booster doses will be offered from 22 April.

You will be offered a spring booster dose if you are:

  • age 80 or older
  • age 5 or older with a weak immune system
  • an older adult living in a long-term care facility

If you are age 70 to 79, you can request a vaccine. Talk to your GP or pharmacist about your reasons for wanting a booster.

If you are pregnant

Read about booster doses needed during pregnancy.

How long to wait

Wait 6 months after your last COVID-19 vaccine or COVID-19 infection.

For some people who need protection sooner, you can get your booster 3 months after your last COVID-19 vaccine or infection.

How to get a booster

If you're age 12 or older, you can:

If you live in a long-term care facility, you will be offered your booster where you live.

Children under 12

Children under 12 with a weak immune system must go to a walk-in clinic for their vaccine. This is because children under 12 are given a vaccine with a smaller dose. Your vaccine may be given in hospital if you're an inpatient.

Find a walk-in vaccination clinic for children

Which vaccine you will be offered

You will be offered an adapted Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as a booster dose. This is an mRNA vaccine.

Adapted vaccines work in the same way as the original Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines. But they are expected to give even more protection against COVID-19 variants, including Omicron variants.

Novavax vaccine

If you cannot get or choose not to get an mRNA vaccine, you may be offered the adapted Novavax vaccine. This is only for people age 12 or older.

If you are getting Novavax for a booster dose, you should get this 6 months after your last COVID-19 vaccine or infection.

Phone HSELive on 1800 700 700 to find out where you can get the Novavax vaccine.

Booster dose safety

Many countries have given multiple doses of COVID-19 vaccines. There have not been any unexpected safety concerns so far. The safety of the vaccines continues to be monitored by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The side effects of the adapted Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines are similar to the original vaccines. The most regularly reported side effects are headache, fever, and tiredness.

Myocarditis and pericarditis are inflammatory heart conditions and are very rare risks of mRNA vaccines. These rare side effects are more common in men under the age of 30 years after their second primary vaccine dose. The risk of these side effects appears to be lower after the first booster.

Read more about COVID-19 vaccine side effects

If you have had anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction) to trometamol, you should not get an adapted mRNA vaccine.

If you have any concerns about getting a booster, talk to your GP, nurse, pharmacist or vaccinator.

After your COVID-19 booster dose

You need to wait for 15 minutes after the vaccine. This is to make sure that you feel well before you leave.

You'll need to wait 30 minutes if, at any time in the past, you had:

  • a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis)
  • mastocytosis

Get medical care immediately if you:

  • have difficulty breathing
  • feel dizzy
  • have a fast heartbeat or a skin rash

These could be a sign of an allergic reaction. But severe allergic reactions are rare.

Page last reviewed: 18 April 2024