Vaccines roll-out boosts winter protection

This winter’s flu vaccine programme is now rolling out to more people than ever before to help reduce the spread of the flu this winter. It is thought a higher than usual number of people could catch flu this year, and suffer more severe symptoms, as fewer people were exposed to the flu virus last year due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Alongside the flu vaccination programme, the Covid-19 booster vaccination is being offered to those most at risk, starting with those who had their second dose at least six months ago.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader of Portsmouth City Council, says: “I urge everyone eligible for the flu or Covid-19 winter booster vaccines to take up the offer, not only to protect their own health, but to protect the NHS and our own hospital here in Portsmouth. We know the staff there have worked really hard over the past 18 months and none of us wants to see them once again having to deal with more patients than they need to if this can be prevented.”

Helen Atkinson, Portsmouth City Council’s Director of Public Health, says: “Respiratory viruses spread quickly in winter when we’re all crowded together inside, so getting vaccinated is the most effective way to boost immunity and protect yourself and those you care about from getting these viruses.

“We know the flu virus strains change each season, and so it’s vital for those more vulnerable to get the latest vaccine each year. If you’re more at risk of catching flu because of your age, a medical condition, or if you’re pregnant you may develop complications such as chest infections and pneumonia, but you’ll be eligible for a free flu vaccine, so speak to your GP or local pharmacist to book your appointment now.

“Those eligible for the Covid-19 booster vaccination will be contacted when theirs is due. Again, it’s really important to take up the offer of a Covid-19 booster vaccination this winter as it helps give you longer-term protection against getting seriously ill from Covid-19.”

Eligible groups for winter vaccinations include:

Winter flu jab

The flu vaccine is given free on the NHS to people who:

  • are 50 and over (including those who’ll be 50 by 31 March 2022)
  • have certain health conditions
  • are pregnant
  • are in long-stay residential care
  • receive a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick
  • live with someone who is more likely to get infections
  • frontline health or social care workers

Covid-19 booster

  • people aged 50 and over
  • people who live and work in care homes
  • frontline health and social care workers
  • people aged 16 and over with a health condition that puts them at high risk of getting seriously ill from Covid-19
  • people aged 16 and over who are a main carer for someone at high risk from Covid-19
  • people aged 16 and over who live with someone who is more likely to get infections

(People who are pregnant and in one of the eligible groups can also get a booster dose.)

Anyone who has not had their first dose or your second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine can still get these vaccinations to protect against catching and spreading coronavirus. Appointments can be booked through the National Booking Service, or by attending a walk-in clinic – the up-to-date locations are online – or by contacting their GP surgery.

Book a first or second dose Covid-19 vaccination or to find a walk-in clinic visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/ or call 119

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