More than half of the 255,000 people in Somerset eligible for a COVID-19 booster have had their vital top-up dose ahead of winter.
Somerset began its autumn booster campaign just two months ago and has already given maximum protection from COVID-19 to 137,000 people and from flu to 170,000 people.
As the weather turns colder, respiratory viruses spread more easily as we spend more time indoors. They usually reach their peak towards the end of December. NHS and Public Health bosses in Somerset are urging people to get their jabs now to ensure maximum protection throughout the festive and New Year period.
Those who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine include those aged 65 and over, frontline health and social care workers, and those deemed at risk because, for example, they have either a weakened immune system, a learning disability or severe mental health problems.
To make it easier than ever to get your COVID-19 vaccination in Somerset the NHS is offering walk-ins at local pharmacies, vaccination centres and pop ups at community hospitals and GP practices. Details of walk ins can be found on the NHS Somerset Website.
The public can book flu vaccinations as usual through their GP practice or by visiting one of the many participating community pharmacies. There are also plenty of locations offering flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time, so you won’t need to book separate appointments.
The schools flu vaccine programme has been running in Somerset since the start of term with children aged 4 years up to those aged 16 years (school year 11) being offered a nasal spray vaccine, or an injection if this is unsuitable.
Parents of children aged 2 and 3 years (on 31 August) should book a nasal spray flu vaccine for their child at their local GP surgery.
Shona Turnbull-Kirk, Associate Director for Health Inclusion for NHS Somerset, said: “COVID-19 is still out there, and flu is a concern for the NHS every winter. These viruses are more serious in people aged 65 and over and those with a weakened immune system. Make sure you stay up to date with your vaccines for the best possible protection and to keep yourself and others safe.
“As we head into the busy social season of Christmas and New Year, the vaccine will provide important protection and peace of mind for yourself and loved ones, so if you are eligible for the booster and yet to come forward, we would encourage you to do so as soon as possible.”
For more information on eligibility and where you can receive the free flu or COVID-19 vaccine this year, please visit nhs.uk/wintervaccinations