Home Health Protect yourself against Covid 19 and flu this winter
General practitioner vaccinating old patient at home with copy space. Doctor giving injection to senior woman at home. Nurse holding syringe and using cotton before make Covid-19 or coronavirus vaccine.

Protect yourself against Covid 19 and flu this winter

by Cathy Sheel

Having the flu and COVID-19 vaccines ahead of winter are two of the most important things you can do to keep yourself and others around you safe and will reduce your risk of serious illness.

While flu and COVID-19 are unpleasant for most people, they can be very dangerous and even life threatening for some, particularly people with certain health conditions, older people and pregnant women.

That’s why the flu and COVID-19 vaccines are offered to people most at risk of getting seriously ill from flu or who are most likely to pass flu to other people at risk.

Those who can get both vaccines through the NHS will include everyone aged 65 and over, pregnant women, care home residents, people with certain health conditions, frontline health and care staff, unpaid carers and household contacts of those at higher risk.

The flu vaccine is also offered to most children to stop them spreading the virus. This includes all children aged 2 and 3 years old, school aged children from reception to year 11, and those aged 6 months to 17 years old with certain health conditions. The vaccine is usually given as a quick and painless spray up the nose.

When can I have my vaccinations?

The adult COVID-19 and flu vaccination programmes for those most at risk, including adult care home, residents will be vaccinated from 11 September.

From 18 September, the NHS will start to invite people in priority order of risk and those eligible will be able to book an appointment on the National Booking Service. Eligible people should wait to receive an invite from their local provider.

Wherever possible, vaccinations for flu and COVID-19 should still be offered at the same time, making it easier and more convenient for people to get vital protection from both viruses ahead of winter.

Am I eligible for a vaccination?

Those eligible for a flu vaccine this year include:

  • those aged 65 years and over
  • those aged 6 months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups
  • pregnant women
  • all children aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2023
  • school-aged children (from Reception to Year 11)
  • those in long-stay residential care homes
  • carers in receipt of carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person
  • close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
  • frontline workers in a social care setting without an employer led occupational health scheme including those working for a registered residential care or nursing home, registered domiciliary care providers, voluntary managed hospice providers and those that are employed by those who receive direct payments (personal budgets) or Personal Health budgets, such as Personal Assistants

Those eligible for an autumn COVID-19 vaccine are:

  • residents in a care home for older adults
  • all adults aged 65 years and over
  • persons aged 6 months to 64 years in a clinical risk group
  • frontline health and social care workers
  • persons aged 12 to 64 years who are household contacts of people with immunosuppression
  • persons aged 16 to 64 years who are carers and staff working in care homes for older adults.

Cllr Christine Bannon, Knowsley Cabinet Member for Health, said: “Vaccines are our best protection against flu and COVID-19. Over the last few years winter vaccines have kept tens of thousands of people out of hospital and helped to save countless lives. Getting the flu and COVID-19 vaccines ahead of winter are two of the most important things you can do to keep yourself and others around you safe and help us ‘get winter strong.”

Dr David Stokoe Clinical Director Knowsley, NHS Cheshire & Merseyside, added: “We want to remind people that the health risks around COVID-19 have still not gone away and encourage everyone who is eligible for the Autumn vaccination and/or Flu jab to take up the offer when invited to do so.”

You can find out more information about both vaccines by visiting www.nhs.uk/flujab and www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccine