Can you help me reach an informed decision about the 2023 Autumn Covid Booster vaccination?
Before deciding if you want a Covid Booster it's important to take note of the pros and cons of having this vaccine:
The Autumn Covid Booster is likely to produce a significant degree of protection against catching Covid-19 over the coming 6 to 12 months (if you have had all the Covid vaccines to date). We know that people with ME/CFS who catch Covid are (as with any other infection) at increased risk of having an exacerbation or relapse of their ME/CFS especially if they are severely or very severely affected.
However, we also know that a small but significant number of people with ME/CFS have experienced an adverse reaction to a Covid vaccine – sometimes severe and persistent. In this situation deciding to go ahead and have another vaccination is a difficult decision to make. We have provided a detailed review of the 2023 Autumn Covid Booster and an assessment of the risks and benefits if you have ME/CFS.
“It became quickly apparent from the large number of reported experiences that we received in 2022, and which we continue to receive, that people’s reactions or non-reactions are very mixed, and that no clear determination or recommendation can be made in regard to ME/CFS. Therefore, it is very much a personal decision.”Dr Charles Shepherd, Trustee and Hon. Medical Adviser to the ME Association.
To be eligible for a Covid Booster you must meet one of the following criteria:
- Residents in care homes for older adults.
- All adults aged 65 years and over.
- People aged 6 months to 64 years in a clinical risk group, as defined in tables 3 and 4 of the Covid-19 chapter of the UKHSA Green Book on Immunisation.
- Frontline health and social care workers.
- People aged 12 to 64 years who are household contacts of people with immunosuppression, as defined in the UKHSA Green Book.
- People aged 16 to 64 years who are carers, as defined in the UKHSA Green Book, and staff working in care homes for older adults.
Anyone with ME/CFS who wants to have an Autumn Covid Booster and is aged under 65 will need to have met one of the above eligibility criteria in order to do so. We have produced a Template letter (below) that you can use when speaking with a GP if you aren’t called for a Booster vaccine automatically and decide to try and have one.
- The ME Association: Covid Autumn Booster Vaccine Information (2023) | 06 September 2023
- Department of Health and Social Care: Covid Autumn Booster Vaccine 2023: Everything you need to know | 08 August 2023
Information provided by The ME Association should not be construed as medical advice. Don't assume any new or worsened symptoms are simply the result of having ME/CFS or Long Covid. We recommend that any information you deem relevant is discussed with your NHS GP as soon as possible. It is important that you seek personalised medical advice from the GP who is in charge of your care and who knows you well.