As a frontline health or social care professional, you’re more likely to be exposed to Covid-19 and flu. These can also be passed on to the people you care for, including care home residents, those with weakened immune systems and underlying health conditions.
Vaccinations are our best defence against flu and Covid-19 ahead of what could be a very challenging winter.
Getting both vaccines ahead of winter, when the viruses spread more easily, are two of the most important things you can do to keep yourself and others around you safe, so you can continue to be there for the people you care for.
This video features colleagues from some of our local partners in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.
Eligibility and how to get a vaccine
All frontline health and social care professionals, including clinical and non-clinical staff who have direct contact with patients, should be offered both the seasonal flu and Covid-19 vaccines.
The Covid-19 vaccine may be offered through your employer or you can book by downloading the NHS App, online or by calling 119.
There are also walk-in vaccinations available in our area for health and care staff.
Additionally, those working in care homes may be offered the opportunity to receive a flu or Covid-19 vaccine when roving teams visit care homes.
The seasonal flu vaccine, as a first point of call, should be provided by employers. Social care workers who are in direct contact with people who receive care and support services, should also have the vaccine provided by their employer.
There are circumstances where frontline staff who do not have access to employer led schemes can access the flu vaccine through the NHS free of charge. This includes staff that work at a CQC registered residential care or nursing home, a CQC registered domiciliary care provider, a voluntary managed hospice provider or if they provide social care via a Direct Payment (personal budgets) or Personal Health Budgets, such as Personal Assistants. This will be signposted by your employer.
Frontline health and social care workers can also book Covid-19 vaccine appointments by self-declaring through the NHS Covid-19 National Booking Service.
Why should I get a vaccine?
To maintain a high level of protection through the coming winter, frontline health and social care professionals will be offered a seasonal vaccine to protect themselves and those in their care who are most at risk. With both flu and Covid-19 expected to be circulating this winter, it’s important to boost your immunity and help protect yourself and others.
Last year we saw a rebound in flu levels, with increased flu hospitalisations. Both the flu and Covid-19 viruses will be in circulation at the same time this winter and catching both increases the risk of serious illness.
Getting a vaccine is straight forward and while some people may experience some mild short lived side effects, they will keep you protected. If you do run into the flu, your symptoms will be milder and you will recover faster, cutting your risk of being hospitalised. If you have had recent Covid-19 you will still get extra protection from the vaccine.
Is it safe?
Is the flu vaccine safe and effective?
The flu vaccine has a good safety and effectiveness record. It can provide protection to those that are most likely to become seriously ill from flu and help reduce the spread of flu in the population. Up to 90 days from vaccination, flu vaccines cut the risk of flu hospitalisation by around a quarter in older adults, and one third in younger adults. If you do get flu after vaccination, its likely to be milder and not last as long.
Is the Covid-19 vaccine safe and effective?
Covid-19 vaccination has a good safety record and gives you the best protection against the virus. Evidence from Covid-19 vaccination indicates that it reduces mortality, can reduce hospitalisation and may have some benefit in transmission. Millions of adults and children around the world have had a Covid-19 vaccine. The safety of the vaccines has been extensively reviewed in both adults and children by independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The vaccines continue to be monitored and reports of serious side effects are very rare.
Is it safe to have the flu and Covid-19 vaccines at the same time?
The JCVI has advised that, for most people, it is fine to have the flu and Covid-19 vaccines at the same time. You may be offered them at the same time or you may be offered, or to decide to have them, separately. We would encourage you to get both vaccinations as soon as you can and not delay.
How do I get a vaccine?
Vaccine appointments are typically available at GP surgeries, pharmacies, walk-in centres, and occasionally at your place of work. These are your booking options: