For some, flu and Covid-19 are unpleasant. But for many, particularly those with certain health conditions, older people and pregnant women, they can be very dangerous and even life-threatening.
Every winter, thousands die from flu and people can still get very ill or die from Covid-19. Catching both viruses over winter increases the risk of serious illness even further.
Vaccines are our best protection against flu and Covid-19. Over the last few years they have kept tens of thousands of people out of hospital and helped to save countless lives. In winter, flu and Covid-19 spread more easily as we spend more time indoors. Getting these vaccines ahead of winter are two of the most important things you can do to keep yourself and others around you safe and ‘get winter strong’.
In line with expert advice, the NHS will offer flu and Covid-19 vaccines to those at greater risk of serious illness this winter. 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 including all aged 2 to 4 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.
Adults can get their flu and Covid-19 vaccines from 11 September, starting in care homes. Pregnant women can be vaccinated against flu as soon as the vaccine becomes available to protect mother and baby.
It is important to top up your protection, even if you have had a vaccine or been ill with flu or Covid-19 before, as immunity fades over time and these viruses change each year.
If eligible, you can book a flu vaccine through your GP practice, local pharmacy, by downloading the NHS App or at www.nhs.uk/book-a-flu-vaccination (when available: from 18 September 2023). School-aged children will get their flu vaccine through schools and community venues and pregnant women may also be able to get the vaccine through their maternity services to help protect themselves and their baby.