Grab a jingle jab this Christmas with thousands of slots available

There are dozens of sites open across the country offering flu and covid vaccines on Christmas Day with more than 5,500 slots available for anyone yet to come forward.

Pharmacies are open and jabbing during the festivities at locations all over England, including London, Manchester, Darlington and Deal.

There are also more than 100,000 appointments available at hundreds of other sites either side of Christmas for anyone who hasn’t given themselves the additional protection vaccines bring as respiratory infections and hospitalisations continue to rise.

The latest data shows that covid hospital admissions were up by more than a third (36%) for the week ending 18 December, while flu admissions increased by two thirds.

Thanks to NHS staff, volunteers and local partners and authorities, almost 20 million people have had a flu vaccination and more than 17 million have had a covid booster since the campaign began in autumn.

NHS staff continue to pull out all the stops to make the vaccine as accessible as possible – including over Christmas – for anyone who is yet to get their latest jab for any reason.

The NHS recently announced that it had visited all care homes across England offering the covid booster with around nine in 10 residents taking up the offer.

NHS director of vaccinations and screening Steve Russell said: “If you are yet to come forward for a flu vaccine or covid booster this winter for any reason, then you can still come forward over Christmas because like many NHS services the vaccination programme will still be operating and offering life-saving protection.

“It remains the best way to protect yourself from serious illness and hospitalisation as we head into the New Year with rising infection rates and hospitalisations, and increased pressure on our urgent and emergency services”.

There are 26 sites vaccinating on Christmas Day, as well as more than 250 on Christmas Eve and around 100 on both Boxing Day and the bank holiday (27 Dec).

Across the four days more than 100,000 slots are available and anyone eligible can book in via the National Booking Service.

This includes those aged 50 and over, frontline health and social care workers, and those deemed at risk because, for example, they have either a weakened immune system, a learning disability or are pregnant.

Health and social care workers and unpaid carers are particularly at risk from catching flu and Covid-19 and passing them on to the people they care for so it is vital anyone with a frontline role comes forward to keep those they care for safe.

The number of patients with flu in hospital has increased by two thirds in one week amid significant pressure on services, the latest NHS stats revealed.

New published data shows the post-pandemic impact of viruses circulating again with an average of 1,939 flu cases in England’s hospitals every day last week (up from 1,162).

The number of flu patients in intensive care is up more than 70% on the week before to 149 a day (from 87).

In mid-December last year, the NHS only had two flu patients a day in critical care and 32 in general and acute beds (week ending 19 Dec).

The NHS has prepared extensively for winter and industrial action, with plans already in place to manage rising demand including around the clock system control centres, additional bed capacity, more mental health support for ambulance services and community falls services.

The weekly winter situation report can be found on our statistics pages: Urgent and emergency care daily situation reports 2022-23.