Confused about COVID-19 booster jabs and flu vaccines? Devon County Council explain what you need to know…
Who do I need have the flu and COVID-19 vaccination?
The NHS in Devon is reminding people to get their flu and COVID-19 vaccinations to give themselves the best possible protection against illness this winter.
An average of 11,000 people in England a year die from flu, and this year the government has warned that there could be a significant flu surge coinciding with continuing or rising COVID-19 cases due to colder weather and increased social contact indoors.
Research shows that if you get flu and coronavirus at the same time, you’re more likely to be seriously ill. It’s also thought that more people are likely to get flu this winter as we won’t have natural immunity due to lower levels of circulation last year during the national lockdowns.
The COVID-19 vaccine does not protect against flu so it is vital to have both your coronavirus and flu jab to reduce your chances of becoming unwell and needing hospital treatment. Getting vaccinated helps you and the NHS, which is already facing extreme pressures in the run up to the very busy winter season.
Darryn Allcorn, Chief Nurse for the NHS in Devon, said:
“The NHS is incredibly busy and we need you to stand by us this winter. Please have both the annual flu and booster Covid vaccinations if you are eligible. If you still haven’t had your first or second dose of the Covid jab, it’s not too late.”
How can I get the flu vaccination?
You can either book your flu vaccination appointment at your GP practice or a pharmacy near you.
The flu vaccine is safe and effective and is offered free on the NHS to adults who:
- are 50 and over (including those who’ll be 50 by 31 March 2022)
- have certain health conditions
- are pregnant
- are in long-stay residential care
- receive a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick
- live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)
- frontline health or social care workers
- all children aged 2 or 3 years old on 31 August 2021
- all primary school-aged children
- all year 7 to year 11 secondary school-aged children
- children with a health condition that puts them at greater risk from flu
Children aged 2 and 3 years will be given the vaccination at their general practice usually by the practice nurse. School-aged children and young people will be offered the flu vaccine in school. For most children, the vaccine will be given as a spray in each nostril. This is a very quick and painless procedure.
Where can I get the flu vaccine?
If you are eligible you can have a free NHS flu vaccine at:
- your GP surgery
- a pharmacy offering the service
- your midwifery service if you’re pregnant
- a hospital appointment
If you do not have your flu vaccine at your GP surgery, you do not have to tell the surgery. This will be done for you.
If you are not eligible for a free NHS flu vaccine, you can still pay for one privately through your local pharmacy.
Who can have the COVID-19 vaccination?
Everyone aged over 12 years old is being offered the COVID-19 vaccine.
People aged 18 years old and over (or turning 18 within three months) can get a 1st and 2nd dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Most children and young people aged 12 to 17 are currently only being offered a 1st dose.
COVID-19 booster vaccine doses are being offered to people most at risk from coronavirus who have already had two doses of a vaccine more than 6 months (182 days) ago.
- people aged 50 years old and over
- residents of care homes for older adults
- frontline health and social care workers
- people aged 16 years old and over with a health condition that puts them at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19
- carers aged 16 years old and over
- people aged 16 years old and over who live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)
How can I get the COVID-19 booster jab?
The NHS will let you know when it’s your turn to have a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose. It’s important not to contact the NHS for one before then.
You’ll be offered a booster jab at least six months (182 days) after you had your second dose.
Once you have received your invitation, you can book using the National Booking Service online or calling 119. Booster doses are currently only available through booked appointments.
If you have not been contacted and it’s been 6 months and 1 week (190 days) since your second dose, please try to book your appointment using this service.
Where can I have the COVID-19 booster jab?
There are a range of sites where people can have their COVID-19 booster jab in Devon, including the main vaccination centres at Exeter Greendale, Newton Abbot Racecourse, Barnstaple Leisure Centre, the Riviera International Centre in Torquay, and Home Park stadium in Plymouth. Other local sites include GP practices and pharmacies.
Can I have the COVID-19 booster and flu vaccination at the same time?
It is safe to have the COVID-19 booster and flu vaccinations at the same time. This would involve having two separate jabs.
Many GPs are now focussing on their very busy workloads, but some are also continuing to offer COVID-19 vaccinations in addition to the annual flu vaccinations. If your practice is offering both, you may be able to have them together.
COVID-19 vaccine centres are not offering the flu vaccination. If you have your booster jab there, you will need to book in for your flu jab elsewhere.