As the NHS starts to roll out its winter vaccinations campaign, residents in care homes and people who are housebound will be the first to be offered their covid and flu vaccinations, protecting those at greatest risk this winter.
This vaccination campaign was brought forward after experts identified the emergence of a new covid variant. From 18 September other eligible groups will be invited for their vaccine booster.
Across the east of England NHS staff are working hard to reach as many eligible people as possible, to ensure they get this extra protection against flu and covid, well ahead of winter due to the risk of the new covid variant.
Those offered a vaccination from 18 September can receive it in a variety of ways. Some may be contacted by their GP surgery, or via other local NHS services. People can also book their jabs through the NHS website, the NHS App or calling 119.
It is still important to get this top-up protection, even if you have previously received a jab, or had flu or covid in the past. This is because viruses change each year and one’s immunity decreases with time.
It is hoped with good uptake of both vaccines this winter the NHS could avert the surge experienced last year with high hospital occupancy due to the “twindemic” of flu and covid.
NHS Regional Director for Flu and Covid in the east of England, Ruth Ashmore said:
“We are pleased to get this year’s vital booster campaign started early, to give those most vulnerable the best, possible protection this winter.
“These vaccines provide the best, possible, safe protection against serious illness and potential hospitalisation. If you are eligible, please don’t hesitate to get your jab and encourage friends and loved ones to do the same.”
From next week children between the ages of 2-17 will also be able to receive their flu vaccinations and parents are urged to fill out the necessary consent forms to get their child or teenager protected. The most convenient way to protect one’s child is through the nasal flu vaccine.
NHS England brought forward its covid and flu vaccination programme from the beginning of October to today after guidance received from the Chief Medical Officer and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). This was due to the emergence of the covid variant BA.2.86, which is currently under assessment by UKHSA. You can find their latest variant technical briefing here.
In 2022 in the east of England the NHS carried out its second biggest ever flu vaccination campaign, with more than 2.56 million flu vaccinations given to adults and children, and more than 2.18 million covid jabs delivered throughout the winter.