Booster vaccinations

What is booster vaccination?

A booster vaccination is a dose of the vaccine beyond what was originally considered a primary vaccination, i.e. two injections of an mRNA vaccine. The purpose of a booster vaccination is to strengthen the protection against COVID-19 infection and serious illness as much as possible. It has been shown that a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine (third dose) provides 90% better protection against the Delta variant compared to the primary vaccination (two doses).

What for?

A booster vaccination is a way to increase immunity against COVID-19. The vaccines used have not been as effective as expected because of the emergence of the Delta variant and later the Omicron variant. Further information on the purpose of booster vaccinations can be found on the website of the Directorate of Health.

Widespread participation in booster vaccinations against COVID-19 is one of the main prerequisites for controlling the spread of infections without significant social restrictions.

Who is it for?

You are eligible for a booster vaccination if no less than 4 months have passed since your primary vaccination. However, those aged 70 years and above and people with immunosuppression, regardless of age, may receive the booster vaccination after 3 months, as this group is considered at increased risk of an inadequate response to two doses of the vaccine. The groups that had been defined as priority for the booster dose have already been notified.

The Chief Epidemiologist also recommends that those who have not completed their primary vaccination to do so as soon as possible, as serious illness among unvaccinated people is about five times more common than among those who are vaccinated (after two doses).

It is recommended for fully vaccinated individuals who have been infected with COVID-19 to receive a booster vaccination, but no earlier than three months after the infection, even if a notification is received from the vaccination database. Please refer to this table on the website of the Directorate of Health to understand when you are recommended to receive your next dose, based on your medical history of COVID-19 infections and vaccinations.

Where?

Vaccinations are still implemented by the healthcare centre and healthcare institutions throughout the country. In the capital area, vaccinations are carried out in Laugardalshöll and on Suðurlandsbraut 34.

What do studies show?

The results of a study in Israel recently published in the scientific journal Lancet show that a booster dose of the vaccine is about 90% effective in preventing infection and serious illness compared to two doses of the vaccine.

What vaccine is used?

Vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna will be used in Iceland for booster vaccinations. Men aged 16–39 years are recommended to have the Pfizer vaccine, as there is more uncertainty about the risk of carditis from the Moderna vaccine.

Who will not receive a booster vaccination?

As it stands, data on booster vaccinations of children 12–15 years old is not sufficient to recommend general booster vaccinations for that age group.

The following groups should not receive the booster vaccine without consulting their doctor:

1. Individuals with active autoimmune diseases at the time of the intended booster vaccination.
2. Individuals with autoimmune diseases whose symptoms became worse or who experienced new, severe symptoms within 2 weeks of the COVID-19 primary vaccination.
3. Individuals who experienced a life-threatening reaction after their primary vaccination, such as anaphylaxis.