More than one million autumn boosters in arms as the NHS gets ready to vaccinate people 50+ for Covid-19 and flu

More than one million people have come forward for their Covid-19 autumn booster in the South East since the latest phase of the NHS vaccination programme went live last month.

In the South East, 1,118,445 people have had their Covid-19 autumn booster to date, making the region the second highest performing nationally. This is great news as more and more people can get protected ahead of winter against Covid and flu.

Care home residents; the severely immunosuppressed; people aged 65 and over; frontline health and care workers; pregnant women and carers are among those to have already been offered the vaccinations.

From tomorrow (14/10), people aged 50 to 64 and not in a clinically at-risk group will become the latest cohort eligible to book their autumn Covid-19 booster and flu vaccines as the NHS continues to protect the country ahead of winter. They will be able to book their Covid-19 booster online or via phone.

Flu vaccinations continue to be booked with GP practices or by visiting a participating community pharmacy. People can also call 119 if you need help making an appointment for either jab.

Around 33 million people in England will be eligible for a free flu vaccine this year, including all primary-age and some secondary-age children, who will be offered a nasal spray.

And for the first time, some people who are eligible for a flu vaccine will be able to book an appointment online under a new pilot with 200 sites across the country – seven of which are in the South East although this number is intended to grow.

Across England, approximately 26 million people are now eligible for an autumn Covid-19 booster with warnings from health leaders of a “twindemic” of the two illnesses this winter, with people being urged to come forward for their jabs.

Caroline Reid, Regional Director of Commissioning and SRO for the Flu and Covid vaccination programme across the South East, said: “Thanks to the continuing hard work and dedication of NHS staff across the South East, our Covid autumn vaccination programme continues to go from strength to strength as we open up eligibility to thousands more from tomorrow.

“It’s amazing that the South East has the second highest uptake of the Covid-19 autumn booster nationally which is not only a testimony to staff but also to every single one of you who has come forward to get protected.

“As we approach what could be an extremely challenging winter for the NHS, I would encourage everyone who is invited to book in when they can to get protected against both Covid and flu.

” Vaccinations remain our strongest weapon against these viruses.”

While sites are co-administering the flu and Covid vaccines where possible, people may be required to book two separate appointments for the different vaccines.

Those eligible for the flu jab are: 

  • people aged 50 and over
  • those aged over six months to 49 with a specified health condition
  • some secondary school-aged children
  • 2 and 3 year olds
  • pregnant women;
  • primary school-aged children
  • those in care homes
  • frontline health care workers
  • frontline social care staff who do not have access to occupational health schemes
  • household contacts of people with weakened immune

In line with JCVI advice, those eligible for an autumn Covid-19 booster this year include:

  • residents in a care home for older adults and staff working in care homes for older adults
  • frontline health and social care workers
  • all adults aged 50 years and over
  • persons aged 5 to 49 years in a clinical risk group, as set out in the Green Book
  • persons aged 5 to 49 years who are household contacts of people with immunosuppression
  • persons aged 16 to 49 years who are carers, as set out in the Green Book