Vaccination teams across BSW will begin offering eligible patients a Covid vaccine from Monday 11 September, in line with the latest expert guidance on the new Covid variant.
This change follows an announcement by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) on the risks presented by the new BA.2.86 variant and pre-emptive measures the NHS has been asked to take.
Local health and care workers are also being encouraged to receive vaccines and encourage colleagues to do the same. Those wanting to access materials to help encourage colleagues to get up to date with vaccinations can download material at the following link before midnight on Friday 8 September: Health and social care workers winter vaccinations campaign
The adult Covid-19 and flu vaccination programmes had been due to start in October to maximise protection over the winter months, but now those most at risk including adult care home residents will be vaccinated from 11 September.
The NHS has been asked to bring the programme forward and will be working quickly to ensure as many eligible people as possible are vaccinated by the end of October.
Residents of older adult in care homes and those most at risk including those who are immunosuppressed will receive their Covid vaccine first, followed by carers, pregnant women, and health and social care as well as adults aged 65 and over.
From 18 September, the NHS will start to invite people in priority order of risk and those eligible will be able to book an appointment on the National Booking Service. Eligible people should wait to receive an invite from their local provider.
The NHS winter flu and Covid-19 vaccination programme provides vital protection to those eligible and their families over winter, keeping people from developing serious illnesses, and helping to minimise hospitalisations during busy winter months.
Following the JCVI’s recommendation that adults over the age of 65 and those with underlying health conditions would be eligible for a flu and Covid-19 vaccination this year, the offer was due to start from early October to maximise protection for patients right across the winter months.
Now with the increased risks presented by the Covid-19 variant BA.2.86, vaccine sites can vaccinate those eligible for both flu and Covid from 11 September.
Professor Sir Stephen Powis, NHS England Medical Director, said: “Vaccinations are our best defence against flu and Covid-19 ahead of what could be a very challenging winter, and with the potential for this new Covid variant to increase the risk of infection, we are following the latest expert guidance and bringing the Covid vaccination programme forward, with people able to get their flu vaccine at the same time to maximise protection.
“The NHS will work quickly to offer people protection against these nasty viruses as soon as possible, first going into adult care homes and inviting those most at risk including those with weakened immune systems.
“So please come forward to get your protection against both Covid and flu as soon as possible once invited – it will help protect you and those around you this winter.”
Groups eligible for a flu vaccine this year:
- 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 who are employed by those who receive direct payments (personal budgets) or Personal Health budgets, such as Personal Assistants
Groups eligible for an autumn Covid vaccine:
- 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.