Health leaders are warning of a ‘twindemic’ of flu and COVID-19 this winter and are urging people to book jabs for both if eligible.
A new pilot scheme will allow those eligible to book their flu vaccines online for the first time, as 200 sites across the country will be administering them.
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‘Vaccinations are our strongest weapon against these viruses and NHS staff are once again doing all they can to protect the public, including through a new trial that will allow people to book their flu jab through the National Booking Service,’ NHS Director for Vaccinations and Screening Steve Russell said.
Record numbers of sites are already delivering COVID autumn boosters with more than 7 million people receiving their booster in just over a month.
The NHS experienced a bumper week last week, rolling out 2 million booster jabs to the over 65s and the vulnerable.
‘The rollout is off to a flying start- we have invited twice as many people as we did last autumn and we have jabbed twice as many people as we did last autumn,’ NHS Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard said.
The next stage of the booster campaign has begun as those aged 50 and over can now book their jabs. Twelve million more people can now receive their COVID booster and flu vaccine.
Dr Susan Hopkins Chief Medical Advisor at the UK Health Security Agency urged those eligible to get their jabs saying: ‘The double threat of widely circulating flu and COVID-19 this year is a real concern, so it’s crucial that you take up the free flu vaccine as soon as possible if you are offered it. It will help protect you from severe flu this winter, and even save your life.
‘All those over 50 are now eligible for the jab, many of whom will have low natural immunity due to COVID-19 restrictions over the last two years.’