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Take responsibility to double up with seasonal jabs

Experts warn that COVID-19 and flu pose an even greater risk this year. So stay safe, protect yourself and your loved ones this winter and get jabbed now. 

Both COVID-19 and flu spread more easily in winter with older people as well as those under 50 with underlying health conditions more at risk of serious illness and hospitalisation. The protection that the COVID-19 vaccine provides decreases over time and the flu virus can change every year. That’s why it is vital to get both the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 booster.

Medical experts are urging us all to get vaccinated as this is the best way we can protect ourselves. And remember, if you’re in an eligible group and not yet had your first, second and third booster dose. Also people that are immunocompromised are offered additional primary doses - book an appointment online or find a walk-in centre.

Professor Steve Powis, NHS England National Medical Director says: “With many people in hospital with COVID-19, and flu posing an even greater risk this year, I urge everyone eligible to book both vaccines as soon as possible to protect themselves and their loved ones.

“With thousands of GP practices, local pharmacies and other NHS sites across the country offering both vaccines, it’s never been easier to get this protection."

UK Health Security Agency Chief Medical Advisor Dr Susan Hopkins adds: “We are extremely fortunate to have vaccines against these two diseases. Most eligible groups have been selected because they are at higher risk of severe illness.” So, don’t delay, visit nhs.uk/wintervaccinations to check your eligibility and book your free flu vaccine and COVID-19 booster appointments now."

Why are vaccines important?

· Protection provided by COVID-19 vaccines decreases over time – if you’re 50 or over, in an at-risk group or pregnant boost your immunity now

· The flu and COVID-19 vaccines have a good safety record – they are the best protection we have against these viruses this winter

· People who have weakened immunity due to certain health conditions are more at risk this winter and will need the COVID-19 booster and flu vaccine

· Within 14 days of receiving your COVID-19 booster, your immunity against COVID-19 will be increased to about 90% protection against serious illness

Those eligible for the flu vaccine and COVID-19 booster include:

Those aged 50 years and over

Under 50s (over 5 years old for the COVID-19 booster) with...

· Chronic liver disease l Chronic neurological conditions such as stroke or a transient

· ischaemic attack (TIA) multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy l Immunosuppressed – lowered

· immunity due to disease or treatment such as steroid medication or cancer treatment

· Diabetics

· Pregnant women n Children (eligible for flu vaccine)

· Children aged 2-3 on 31 August 2022 (nasal spray)

· All children in primary school (nasal spray)

· Some secondary school children (nasal spray)

· Those aged from 6 months to 50 with long term health conditions are eligible for the flu jab

Visit nhs.uk/wintervaccinations for the full eligibility list. 

‘Protect yourself from everything’

“It is important to protect yourself from everything” is Trevor Cruickshank’s ringing endorsement for COVID and flu jabs to prevent threatened winter “twindemic”.

“It is better to have vaccinations than end up in hospital or worse,” confirmed the 45 year-old.

“I believe in all vaccinations and in science. “I just say ‘jab it in!’ There’s lots of misinformation out there about vaccines but we have been using them for hundreds of years and they have been saving lives.”

The Surrey catering business owner suffered a stroke that left him with weakness down the right side of his body, struggling to walk and move his right hand. “Due to the coronavirus pandemic my husband Chris was unable to visit me in hospital.

“I’ve realised a stroke can happen to anyone at any time but, if you are of African or Caribbean origin, you may have a higher risk than other people in the UK.

Advocating jabs, he added: “There is nothing to be afraid of.

The vaccinations are over and done with quickly. You do not feel anything. You can also have a conversation with professionals doing the vaccinations.

They are kind and reassuring and will answer all your questions and give any information you want.”

Get vaccinated now

Vaccines are your best protection against flu and COVID-19, which spread more quickly in winter and can both cause serious illness. To find out if you are eligible and book your appointment, visit nhs.uk/wintervaccinations

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