NHS in Norfolk and Waveney poised to begin offering autumn COVID-19 and flu booster vaccinations

17th August 2023

People in Norfolk and Waveney who are eligible for COVID-19 and flu vaccines this autumn are being encouraged to come forward when they are invited to do so.

The COVID-19 vaccination programme is now entering its third autumn season. Vaccinations help to protect against severe illness, hospitalisations, and deaths from COVID-19.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises the following groups will be offered a COVID-19 vaccine this autumn:

· 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.

Kate Keeling, Head of Immunisation and Health Inclusion, NHS Norfolk and Waveney said: “We are gearing up for the autumn campaign of vaccinations which will include both flu and COVID-19.

“People in Norfolk and Waveney who are eligible must come forward when they are invited to do so. We know that vaccinations are the best form of protection and keep people safe and well, especially during the winter months.

“Vaccinations will be available for those who need it through many ways including their local GP practice, community pharmacies, some hospital hubs, wellness hubs and on the Wellness on Wheels (WoW) bus.

“It is best to have your flu vaccination in the autumn or early winter before flu rates increase. Remember that you need it every year, so do not assume you are protected because you had one last year.”

The flu virus is not just a heavy cold and occurs every year, usually in the winter, this is why it’s sometimes called seasonal flu. Flu is a highly infectious disease.

The most common symptoms of flu are fever, chills, headache, aches and pains in the joints and muscles along with extreme tiredness. Healthy individuals usually recover within 2 to 7 days, but for some the disease can lead to hospitalisation, permanent disability and in some cases even death.

Flu vaccines help protect against the main types of flu virus circulating. Those who are eligible for the vaccine include:

· everyone aged 65 years and over

· everyone under 65 years of age who has a medical condition, including children and babies over 6 months of age

· all pregnant women, at any stage of pregnancy

· all children aged 2 and 3 years (provided they were aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August before flu vaccinations starts in the Autumn)

· all children in primary school

· some secondary school-aged children (Years 7 to 11)

· everyone living in a residential or nursing home

· everyone who receives a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person

· all those living with someone who has a lowered immunity due to disease or treatment

· all frontline health and social care workers

Accessing COVID treatments
The NHS offers treatment to people with COVID-19 who are at the highest risk of becoming seriously ill. Some patients in this highest risk group have been informed by a letter or email that they may be eligible to receive these treatments, should they test positive for COVID-19.

If you have received a letter from NHS England about COVID-19 treatments, it means your medical records show that you have, or previously had, one or more of those health conditions, which means that these new treatments might be suitable for you if a test confirms you have COVID-19.

What to do if you now get COVID-19

• You will no longer be automatically contacted by the NHS about treatments after a positive COVID-19 test result.

• You should contact NHS 111, (not your GP or hospital specialist)

• Contact NHS 111 as soon as possible after you test positive so that they can consider referring you for an assessment for treatment.

More information is available at: www.nhs.uk/CovidTreatments