This year’s adult Covid and flu vaccination programme has been brought forward early on the advice of scientists following the emergence of Pirola, a new Covid-19 variant (BA.2.86), which has a high number of mutations.
Anyone eligible can book their Covid vaccinations via the NHS website, by downloading the NHS App, or by calling 119 for free if they can’t get online.
Thousands of adults who are eligible for winter vaccines – including all aged 65 and over, pregnant women and those with an underlying health condition – will also begin receiving invitations from the NHS to encourage them to get their Covid and flu jabs from this week.
GP practices and other local NHS services will also be contacting people to offer both flu and Covid vaccines, and people can book the flu vaccine by searching online for a local pharmacy.
Covid vaccination for those aged under 18 years will begin later in the year – the NHS will let eligible families know when this offer opens.
Health chiefs have ensured there is enough capacity to offer the flu and Covid vaccines to all those eligible by the end of October.
Alongside this, NHS staff have worked hard to prepare for the earlier start of the programme, with almost 1,000 sites in the Midlands – more sites than ever before – taking part in the campaign this year to make it as easy and convenient as possible for people to get protection.
NHS England Regional Director for Commissioning and vaccination lead Roz Lindridge said: “Vaccines are our best protection against flu and Covid-19, and I strongly encourage all eligible people to come forward for their lifesaving winter vaccines as soon as they can.
“The new Covid variant presents a new risk, but NHS staff are rising to the challenge once more to do all they can to protect the public.
“Those eligible can now easily book a Covid vaccine online – it takes just a few minutes and there are more sites than ever before offering the vaccine across England, so please come forward as soon as you can to give yourself and your loved ones vital protection over the coming months.”