Ticking the Autumn Covid-19 and flu boosters off your Christmas shopping list will help keep yourself and those around you safe during the festive season.
NHS vaccination teams across the region are running extra walk-in clinics to encourage those eligible and at greatest risk to get their vaccinations as soon as they can.
It’s been almost two years since the first COVID-19 vaccination was given. The autumn vaccination rollout started in September this year with the most vulnerable targeted first. Vaccination teams have visited all care homes vaccinating residents and staff. Those with serious health conditions and weakened immune systems were also offered their boosters first.
Other groups eligible include everyone over 50 years old, pregnant women, those caring or living with people who are immunosuppressed and health and social care workers.
Take up across the region has been good with 972,430 people receiving their COVID-19 vaccination out of a total eligible population of 1.65 million. There are still some people yet to come forward and they are being urged not to wait but to act now.
For flu 1,032 611 people, of an eligible population of 1.9 million, have been vaccinated.
It is safe to get both vaccinations at the same time but if this is not possible people are urged to get each vaccination as soon as they can.
Prof. Neil Watson leads the COVID-19 vaccination programme for the northeast and north Cumbria and explained why it is important to be protected this winter:
“COVID-19 and flu are still circulating in our communities and can cause serious illness for those most vulnerable. Vaccination is still the best way to protect yourself and those closest to you from becoming seriously ill and possibly requiring hospital care. That’s the last thing that people want in the run up to Christmas.
“The public in the region have been fantastic, supporting all the stages of the programme, getting their vaccinations and helping to protect those around them. We know protection from previous vaccinations reduces over time and, even if you have had the viruses, you can still catch them again and pass them on to others, so if you’ve not come forward for your booster, and you are eligible, I’d urge you to do so now.
“We have opened more walk-in clinics to encourage people to get vaccinated ahead of the festive period when we know people will be socialising more and seeing family and friends. We want to keep people safe and reduce pressure on the NHS and those that fall ill at a time of high demand.”
Anyone eligible and wishing to have their COVID booster can ether make an appointment via the National Booking Service, www.nhs.uk/get-vaccine or by ringing 119 or attending a walk-in clinic, advertised on council web sites. Vaccinations are being administered within communities at GP practices and community pharmacies. Mobile clinics are also visiting hard to reach areas.