Autumn COVID-19 booster and flu vaccines
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 Autumn booster programme has begun and people aged 75 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 65 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.
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.
From mid-October 2022, 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.
- 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)
- 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
- 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
- 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
- a runny or blocked nose
- a headache
- loss of appetite
|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 practice, participating 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 practice, participating community pharmacy(50-64 years), school or community clinic upon invite from school age immunisation service (secondary school age children)|
- 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)
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)
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.
- 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.