Getting your flu and COVID vaccines are two of the most important things you can do to keep yourself and others around you safe this winter.

The booster programme is well underway and people aged 50 and over, frontline health and care home staff and those with a weakened immune system can book now. 

Based on expert guidance the NHS is offering vaccinations to those at greatest risk first. The NHS will let people know when it is their turn to come forward for their COVID-19 vaccine and more information is available on the NHS website. Once invited, people can book their seasonal COVID-19 vaccine using the National Booking Service or by calling 119, or they can find a local vaccination walk-in site.

Who can get a COVID-19 vaccine
  • Everyone aged 5 and over can get a 1st and 2nd dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • People aged 16 and over, and some children aged 12 to 15, can also get a booster dose.
  • People aged 12 and over who had a severely weakened immune system when they had their first two doses will be offered a third dose and a booster (4th dose)
  • People aged 50 and over, care home residents, care home staff and people aged 12 and over who have a weakened immune system, can now book their appointment to receive a booster.

The COVID-19 and the flu vaccine can be given on the same day, please see FAQs below.

Find out how to get a COVID-19 vaccination

Walk-in COVID vaccinations - coming soon
When Where Time
Saturday 26 November Edlesborough Pharmacy, 11 Cow lane, Edlesbourough, LU6 2HT  9.40am - 11.40am
Monday 28 November - Friday 2 December The Hive, Arnison Avenue, Wycombe, HP13 6DD 10am - 4pm
W/C 5 December (TBC) Meadowcroft Community Centre, Aylesbury, HP19 9HH 10am - 4pm
W/C 19 December (TBC) Aylesbury Mosque, Havelock Street, HP20 2NX 10am - 4pm
From 28 December (TBC) Hilltop Community Centre, Wycombe, HP11 1UA 10am - 4pm
When Where Time
Saturday 26 November

The Roundway Pharmacy, 3 The Roundway, Green Road, Headington, OX3 8DH

9am - 1pm
Saturday 26 November

Edlesborough Pharmacy, 11 Cow lane, Edlesbourough, LU6 2HT  

9.40am - 11.40am
Saturday 26 November

Cleggs Pharmacy, Unit 3, KIngs Walk, Limborough Road, Wantage, OX12 9AJ 

12.30pm 

2pm - 5pm

Saturday 26 November Henley Pharmacy, 25 Bell Street, Henley, RG9 2BA 8.45am - 5.30pm
Saturday 26 November Rowlands, Henley Avenue, 1 Henley Avenue, Oxford, OX4 4DH 9am - 12.30pm
Sunday 27 November Kassam Stadium, Littlemore, Oxford,  OX4 6DE 8.30am - 5.30pm
Sunday 27 November Henley Pharmacy, 25 Bell Street, Henley, RG9 2BA 10am - 5.30pm
When Where Time
Saturday 26 November Lambourn Pharmacy, The Broadway, Lambourn, RG17 8XY 2pm - 5pm

Flu vaccine

Read here to find out how you can protect yourself this winter by getting the flu vaccine.

The flu vaccine is available for younger children, older people, those in clinical risk groups and pregnant women. To book an appointment for a flu vaccine contact your GP practice or pharmacy.

People aged 50 to 64 years old that aren’t in a clinical risk group, will also be able to get a free flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is offered through schools for school-aged children and pregnant women can get their flu vaccine through their GP practice, pharmacy or maternity service.

The COVID-19 and the flu vaccine can be given on the same day and some people might get both vaccines at the same time. However, this may not always be possible, so we encourage everybody to get each vaccination as soon as they can, rather than waiting to get both at the same time.

Please help to keep yourself and those around you safe against these viruses by getting vaccinated when you are invited. You can find out more about what vaccinations you may need, and information about how to book an appointment, by visiting www.nhs.uk/flujab and www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccine.

What is flu?

Flu is caused by influenza viruses that infect the windpipe and lungs. Flu will often get better on its own, but it can make some people seriously ill. It's important to get the flu vaccine if you're advised to.

There are several symptoms of flu including a sudden high temperature, an aching body and a dry cough. Flu is spread by coughs and sneezes. You can prevent the spread by covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and you should wash your hands frequently or use hand gels to reduce the risk of picking up the virus. The best way to avoid catching and spreading flu is by having the vaccination before the flu season starts.
What should I do if I think I have flu?
The best way to avoid catching and spreading flu is by having the vaccination before the flu season starts. If you think that you have flu you should:
  • rest and sleep
  • keep warm
  • take paracetamol or ibuprofen to lower your temperature and treat aches and pains
  • drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration (your pee should be light yellow or clear)
A pharmacist can give treatment advice and recommend flu remedies.
Why should I get the flu vaccine?
It's important to get the free NHS flu vaccine if you're eligible. The flu vaccine is a safe and effective vaccine. 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. While flu is unpleasant for most people it can be very dangerous and even life threatening for some people, particularly people with certain health conditions. For them, it can increase the
risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia or can make existing conditions worse. In the worst cases, flu can result in a stay in hospital, or even death.
It's offered free every year to eligible groups by the NHS to help protect people at risk of getting seriously ill from flu.If you are eligible for the flu vaccine, it is important to get it every year because the viruses that cause flu change every year. This means the flu (and the vaccine) this year may be different from last year.
The best time to have the flu vaccine is in the autumn or early winter before flu starts spreading. GP surgeries and pharmacies get the flu vaccine in batches to make sure that it is widely available. If you are eligible and cannot get an appointment straight away, ask if you can book an appointment for when more vaccines are available.
If I had the flu jab last year, do I need to have it again now?
Yes, because the viruses that cause flu change every year. This means the flu (and the vaccine) this year may be different from last year. If you had the flu vaccine last year, either because you were pregnant or because you're in a clinical risk group, you need to have it again this year. 
Is there anyone that shouldn’t get the flu vaccine? 
Almost everybody can have the vaccine, but you should not be vaccinated if you have ever had a serious allergy to the vaccine, or any of its ingredients. If you are allergic to eggs or have a condition that weakens your immune system, you may not be able to have certain types of flu vaccine check with your immuniser.If you have a fever, the vaccination may be delayed until you are better.
What type of flu vaccine will I be given?
There are several types of flu vaccine depending upon your age:
  • most children over the age of 2 are offered a nasal spray vaccine. A small number cannot have it due to pre-existing medical conditions or treatments and are offered protection through an injected vaccine instead. The nasal spray contains small traces of porcine gelatine. For those who may not accept the use of porcine gelatine in medicines, an injectable vaccine is available.
  • adults are offered an injectable vaccine. There are different types, including low-egg and egg-free ones
  • adults aged 65 years and over the most common flu vaccine contains an extra ingredient to help your immune system make a stronger response to the vaccine
If your child is aged between 6 months and 2 years old and is in a clinical risk group for flu, they will be offered an injected flu vaccine as the nasal spray is not licensed for children under the age of 2.
Will there be any side effects from the flu vaccine?
Flu vaccines have an excellent safety record. All adult flu vaccines are given by injection into the muscle of the upper arm. Most side effects are mild and only last for a day or so, such as:
  • slightly raised temperature
  • muscle aches
  • sore arm where the needle went in this is more likely to happen with the vaccine for people aged 65 and over
Try these tips to help reduce the discomfort:
  • continue to move your arm regularly
  • take a painkiller, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen– some people, including those who are pregnant, should not take ibuprofen unless a doctor recommends it
Side effects of the children's flu vaccine
The nasal spray flu vaccine for children has an excellent safety record. Most side effects are mild and do not last long, such as:
  • a runny or blocked nose
  • a headache
  • tiredness
  • loss of appetite
When should I get my flu vaccine?
It is best to have the flu vaccination as soon as possible once the vaccine becomes available. The vaccine is offered inthe autumn or early winter before any outbreaks of flu. Remember that you need it every year, so don’t assume you are protected because you had one last year.
The vaccine will be offered to those that are most at risk or most likely to pass on flu first and once the offer has been made to these groups by mid-October those aged 50-64 not in a clinical risk group will then be able to come forwards.
GP surgeries and pharmacies get the flu vaccine in batches to make sure that it is widely available. If you are eligible and cannot get an appointment straight away, ask if you can book an appointment for when more vaccines are available.
Where do I get the flu vaccine?
The flu vaccine is offered free on the NHS through GP practice and participating community pharmacies and through schools and community venues for school aged children. Pregnant women can visit their GP or a participating pharmacy and in addition may be able to get the vaccine through their maternity services to help protect themselves and their baby. A full list of where you can get your flu vaccine is below:
Eligible group Where to have the flu vaccine
All children and adults from 6 monthsof age upwardsin a clinical risk group GP practice(all ages) or participating community pharmacy (age 18 years and above)
All children aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2022 GP practice
All children from reception age (aged 4 -5) to school year 6 (aged 10-11) -regardless of educational setting School and/or community clinics delivered by the School-age Immunisation Service.
Pregnant women GP practice, participating community pharmacy, or antenatal appointment
Frontline social care workers (that do not have access to employer led occupational health vaccinations) Workplace, GP practice or participating community pharmacy
Those aged 65 years and over GP practiceparticipating community pharmacy
Those in long-stay residential care homes Care home
Adults aged 50-64 years old not in a clinical risk group and some children of secondary school age not in a clinical risk group, to be introduced later in the season. GP practiceparticipating community pharmacy(50-64 years), school or community clinic upon invite from school age immunisation service (secondary school age children)
How do I book an appointment?
If you're eligible for a free flu vaccine, you can book an appointment at your GP surgery or a pharmacy that offers it on the NHS.
You may be invited to get your free vaccine by the NHS or your GP through a letter, text or email. Don’t worry if you do not receive this. If you are eligible, you do not have to wait for this before booking an appointment. The only exception is if you are aged 50 64 years old and are not in a clinical risk group, then you cannot book an appointment before mid-October.
If you receive an invite from the NHS and have already been vaccinated do not worry, sometimes there is a lag in the information flowing through and you do not need to do anything. Everyone who is eligible for the free flu vaccine will be able to get it. GP surgeries and pharmacies get the flu vaccine in batches to make sure that it is widely available. If you are eligible and cannot get an appointment straight away, ask if you can book an appointment for when more vaccines are available.
How can my child get the flu vaccine?
All children in a clinical risk group can get their flu vaccine at their GP practice. If your child is in a clinical risk group, you do not need to wait for an invite from the School-aged Immunisation Service. Please contact your GP if you would like your child to receive the vaccine earlier in the season.
Children aged 2-3 years old will receive their flu vaccine at their GP practice.
Primary school children in Reception to Year 6 will receive their flu vaccine from the local School-aged Immunisation Service. This will either be in school or at a community clinic. Some secondary school aged children will be offered a flu vaccine by the local School-aged Immunisation Service, most likely later in the season. Parents should wait to be invited and complete the necessary consent documentation accordingly.
Eligibility
Who can get the free NHS vaccine this year?
The flu vaccine is offered to people most at risk of getting seriously ill from flu or who are most likely to pass flu to other people at risk. It usually starts to be offered from September and it’s best to have it before flu starts to circulate in the winter. NHS flu vaccine appointments are available throughout the autumn and winter. The following people will initially be offered the flu vaccine:
  • all children aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2022
  • all primary school aged children (from Reception to Year 6)
  • those aged 6 months of age upwards in a clinical risk group
  • pregnant women
  • those aged 65 years and over
  • those in long-stay residential care homes
  • carers in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or who are the main carer of an older or disabled person who may beat risk if the carer gets sick
  • those that live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone living with HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)
  • frontline health or social care workers (that do not have access to occupational health)
From mid-October 2022, people aged 50 to 64 years old that aren’t in a clinical risk group, will also start to be offered the vaccine after people most at risk have been offered it. If you are in this group, please wait until mid-October before booking an appointment with your GP practice or a local community pharmacy. 
In addition some secondary school aged children will be offered a flu vaccine by the local school-aged immunisation provider service, most likely later in the season. If your child is in a clinical risk group please contact your GP if you would like your child to receive the vaccine earlier in the season.
How is it decided who is eligible to get the flu vaccine for free on the NHS each year?
The flu vaccine programme aims to reduce the number of people that get seriously ill from flu and reduce the spread of flu by vaccinating children. The government decide which groups will be eligible for free flu vaccination each year. Their decision is based on the independent advice of experts in the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) who review the latest evidence and data
Over the last two years there have been lower levels of flu circulating, which means some people will have lower levels of immunity against flu, and Australia have reported more cases of flu than average during their winter. Because of this, the government has decided that the groups that can get the free flu vaccine this year are broadly similar to those that were eligible during the pandemic. Young children and those most at risk from flu will be prioritised before the vaccine is offered to some secondary school children and 50-64s who are not already eligible in a clinical risk group.

Can I get the flu and COVID-19 booster vaccine at the same time?

The JCVI have advised that the following groups should receive a further dose of the COVID-19 vaccine this autumn to be protected against COVID-19 over the winter and the government have accepted this advice:

  • Residents in a care home for older adults and staff working in care homes for older adults
  • Frontline health and social care workers
  • All adults aged 50 years and over
  • Persons aged 5 to 49 years in a clinical risk group
  • Persons aged 5 to 49 years those that live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone living with HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Carers

If you are in any of these groups, you will be invited to book your Covid vaccine this autumn.COVID-19 vaccines and the flu vaccine can be given on the same day and for people that are eligible for both, there may be opportunities to have both together. We would encourage you to get your vaccinations as soon as possible and get fully protected rather than waiting as it may not always be possible to get them together.

Can I have my flu vaccine and COVID-19 booster in the same appointment?
Yes, if you are eligible to receive these two vaccines, you may be offered both in the same appointment. It is safe to receive both vaccines in the same appointment. But it’s important that you do not wait to try and schedule both vaccinations at the same time as this may not be possible and could delay your protection over winter. Please take up the offer of each vaccine when you are invited to, even if they are on different dates.
Can I get the flu and COVID-19 vaccine whilst I’m pregnant?
It’s also safe to have both the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine together, and studies show that the antibodies your own body produces in response to COVID-19 vaccination also help with the baby’s own immunity to the virus.COVID-19 vaccines and the flu vaccine can be given on the same day and for people that are eligible for both, there may be opportunities to have both together. We would encourage you to get your vaccinations as soon as possible and get fully protected rather than waiting as it may not always be possible to get them together.
COVID-19 testing
  • You no longer need to test if you have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Free Lateral Flow tests are no longer be available for most people (please see https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests to check on eligibility for free tests). Tests are available to buy from local pharmacies. 
  • PCR test sites have closed.
  • National and local contact tracing has ended.   

For guidance on any changes to advice related to COVID-19, including any variants, please visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

Get mental health support

The impact and experience of the COVID-19 outbreak has been different for everyone. For help and advice visit here.