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NHS winter flu and covid vaccine

Those eligible will now be offered a covid vaccine from 11 September, in line with the latest expert guidance on the new covid variant.

The adult covid and flu vaccination programmes had been due to start in October to maximise protection over the winter months, but now those most at risk including adult care home residents will be vaccinated from 11 September.

Residents of older adult care homes and those most at risk including those who are immunosuppressed will receive their covid vaccine first.

Carers, pregnant women, and health and social care staff will all be among the groups to be offered a covid jab this winter, as well as adults aged 65 and over.

Eligible people should wait to receive an invite from their local provider.

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.

The NHS winter flu and COVID-19 vaccination programme provides vital protection to those eligible and their families over winter, keeping people from developing serious illnesses, and helping to minimise hospitalisations during busy winter months.

But it is important that those eligible this year come forward for their vaccinations as protection fades over time, and the virus that causes flu can change from year to year.

As in previous years, the NHS will let people know when bookings open. Adult flu and COVID-19 appointments will be available through the NHS App and website, or by calling 119 for those who can’t get online. Flu vaccines will also be available through your GP practice and pharmacies.

There will be no change to flu vaccinations for children which will be offered in schools, to prevent children from getting seriously ill from flu and ending up hospital, and to break the chain of transmission of the virus to the wider population.

The nasal flu vaccine is the most effective vaccine for children aged 2-17 years but if this is not suitable the GP or practice nurse may be able to offer a flu vaccine injection as an alternative.

Health and social care workers will be invited for their vaccines through their employer.

In line with advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, 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 (as defined by the Green Book, chapter 19 (Influenza))
— 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 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, as laid out in the Immunisation Green Book, COVID-19 chapter (Green Book)
— frontline health and social care workers
— persons aged 12 to 64 years who are household contacts (as defined in the Green Book) of people with immunosuppression
— persons aged 16 to 64 years who are carers (as defined in the Green Book) and staff working in care homes for older adults.

Get further information on the flu vaccine from NHS.uk

Get information about COVID-19 vaccination, who can get it, and safety and side effects.