An estimated 51,000* people with long-term health conditions are yet to take up their free Covid-19 booster, with more than 89,000* yet to take up a flu jab, despite their long-term health conditions making them more vulnerable to serious illness from catching these viruses.
Both the Covid-19 booster and flu vaccine are free to those most vulnerable to being seriously ill and hospitalised if they catch Covid-19 or flu. People with conditions such as asthma, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease and liver disease as well people with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 40 or above are recommended to have a vaccine to protect themselves this winter.
Dr Geeta Iyer, local GP and Clinical Lead for the Mass Vaccination Programme in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, said:
“Respiratory viruses, including flu and Covid-19, are causing serious illness and hospitalisation in our area. Vaccination works and is the best defence against serious illness this winter. I’d like to urge anyone who is at higher risk of serious illness from Covid-19 and flu to protect themselves with a vaccination.
“Both viruses are easily spread and in high circulation in our local area; flu infections are much higher than usual than for this time of year.
“The best and most-effective protection is to get vaccinated. If you’re eligible for a free seasonal Covid-19 booster or flu vaccine, please take them up as soon as you can. Visit www.grabajab.net for more information and details of how to get vaccinated.”
The seasonal Covid-19 booster and flu vaccines are free to people with health conditions that mean they are at greater risk if they catch either virus, including:
- respiratory conditions, such as asthma (needing a steroid inhaler or tablets), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema and bronchitis
- heart conditions, such as coronary heart disease or heart failure
- being very overweight – a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above
- chronic kidney disease
- liver disease, such as hepatitis
- some neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), or cerebral palsy
- a learning disability
- problems with your spleen like sickle cell disease, or if you’ve had your spleen removed
- a weakened immune system as a result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or taking medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
It’s easier than ever to get a booking for your vaccination, with a range of options available to suit you – including your local pharmacy or GP and online booking for both flu and Covid-19 vaccines. Walk-in options are available too.Flu and Covid-19 vaccination in our local area
*Total figures for vaccine uptake are indicative as an individual could have multiple conditions and be counted twice within the data set.