THOUSANDS of Brits are being urged to get their flu and Covid jabs before bookings close in two weeks.
The NHS online booking system, app and 119 phone service will be closed for appointments from December 15, health officials warn.
Thousands of Brits are being urged to get their flu and Covid jabs before bookings closeCredit: Getty
It is the last chance for eligible adults to get their top-up doses before Christmas, when “lots of people will be coming together with their families and friends”, they said.
Steve Russell, of NHS England, said: “We’re getting closer to the festive period and getting vaccinated is the best way to keep you and those around you from getting seriously ill.
“So, if you haven’t yet taken up the offer — now is the time to do so, nobody wants to be unwell at Christmas.”
All over-65s, long-stay care home residents, frontline health and social care workers and immunosuppressed people are eligible for both jabs.
Pregnant women and school-aged children are also able to get a free flu vaccine on the NHS.
More than 11million Covid and 16million flu jabs have been dished out on the health service in England since the start of the autumn campaign, as of November 30.
Hundreds of thousands of appointments are still available each week.
Last year saw the worst flu season for a decade, with the outbreak being worse because of low immunity after two winters of Covid measures.
Dr Mary Ramsay, of the UKHSA, said more than half of under-65s in a clinical risk group and two-thirds of pregnant women have not yet come forward for their flu vaccine this winter.
She said: “Getting vaccinated as soon as possible will help reduce your risk of getting seriously ill with flu or Covid-19 this festive season.
“The vaccines can take a week or two to provide maximum protection so get booked in now to keep your Christmas plans on track.”
Dr Jamie Lopez Bernal, of the UKHSA, said: “Getting vaccinated as soon as possible will help reduce your risk of getting seriously ill with flu or Covid-19 this festive season.
“So in amongst getting sorted for Christmas, make time to prioritise your health by getting vaccinated to ensure you stay Winter Strong and keep your plans on track.”
Who is eligible for a flu and Covid vaccine?
Those eligible for a flu vaccine this year include:
- those aged 65 years and over
- those aged 6 months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups (as defined by the Green Book, chapter 19 (Influenza))
- pregnant women
- all children aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2023
- school-aged children (from Reception to Year 11)
- those in long-stay residential care homes
- carers in receipt of carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person
- close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
- frontline workers in a social care setting without an employer led occupational health scheme including those working for a registered residential care or nursing home, registered domiciliary care providers, voluntary managed hospice providers and those that are employed by those who receive direct payments (personal budgets) or Personal Health budgets, such as Personal Assistants
Those eligible for an autumn Covid vaccine are:
- residents in a care home for older adults
- all adults aged 65 years and over
- persons aged 6 months to 64 years in a clinical risk group, as laid out in the Immunisation Green Book, COVID-19 chapter (Green Book)
- frontline health and social care workers
- persons aged 12 to 64 years who are household contacts (as defined in the Green Book) of people with immunosuppression
- persons aged 16 to 64 years who are carers (as defined in the Green Book) and staff working in care homes for older adults
Source: The NHS