Record numbers receive both vaccines together amid rise in Covid cases
The lifesaving NHS winter vaccination programme has delivered more than 1 million Covid and 1.37 million flu vaccines to people most at risk across the East of England in just six weeks.
Of those, a record 442,000 people have taken the option to have both flu and Covid vaccines at the same appointment, making it as easy as possible for people to get protected ahead of winter.
These figures show that over 30% of those who are eligible for their flu and Covid vaccinations have now come forward, but the remainder are urged to take up this opportunity to get these life-saving vaccines and so reduce the risk of infection.
As winter approaches, we are seeing the number of Covid cases rising, with the first two weeks of October seeing on average more than 400 patients in East of England’s hospitals with Covid – an increase of more than a third from the same period last month.
Ruth Ashmore, Regional Director responsible for delivering flu and Covid said: “While it’s great that more than a million in the east are winter-ready, we still urge those most at risk of these life-threatening viruses to get the protection they need this winter and book their free appointments today.
“Covid is still with us, so getting these vaccinations is one of the best ways to stay well. There are still many vaccine appointments available online and you can sign up for one, or both jabs together today. It’s never been easier to get protected.”
Care home residents were among the first to be offered the winter vaccines, to top up their protection ahead of winter when Covid, flu and other viruses circulate most, while people spend more time indoors. More care homes have been visited in the first six weeks of this campaign than in previous years, with almost 92% homes seeing their residents receive their Covid jabs.
Even if people have previously had a vaccination or been ill with flu or Covid before, immunity fades over time and these viruses change each year, so it is important people top up their protection.
All eligible adults can now book their flu and Covid vaccinations together at one appointment, by visiting www.nhs.uk/seasonalvaccinations or on the NHS App. GP practices and other local NHS services will also be contacting people to offer both flu and Covid vaccines, and people can book the flu vaccine by searching online for a local pharmacy.
The autumn vaccination campaign is among a package of NHS measures to prepare for winter with the health service already facing immense pressure from ongoing industrial action, demand on emergency services, alongside the risk of a new Covid variant, and other common winter viruses.