Autumn boosters & flu jab for over 50s

NHS invites people 50 and over for autumn boosters and flu jab

Millions of people aged 50 and over will be able to book their autumn booster and flu vaccines from 14th October, as the NHS COVID-19 and flu programmes continue to protect the country ahead of winter.

Online and phone bookings will open to around 12 million people aged between 50 and 64 to book their COVID-19 jabs from Friday 14 October.

And for the first time, the service will allow some people who are eligible for a flu vaccine to book an appointment online under a new pilot with more than 200 sites across the country.

More than 7 million people have already had their autumn booster in just over a month, following a bumper week last week of almost 2 million jabs being delivered to people aged 65 and over and those most at risk from COVID-19.

Record numbers of sites are delivering autumn boosters since the campaign began a month ago, while the flu jab is being offered at thousands of community pharmacies and GP surgeries across England.

The public can still book flu vaccinations through their GP practice or by visiting a participating community pharmacy. Please call 119 if you need help.

Approximately 26 million people are eligible for an autumn Covid-19 booster, with health leaders warning of a ‘twindemic’ of the two illnesses this winter, and have urged people to come forward for their jabs.

NHS Chief Executive Amanda Pritchard said: “Thanks to the incredible work of our frontline staff across the country, our Covid autumn vaccination programme continues to go from strength to strength as we open up eligibility to around 12 million more people from tomorrow.

“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.

“As we approach what could be an extremely challenging winter for the NHS, it is vital to get your protection against both Covid and flu so please come forward and book in when you can”.

NHS Director for Vaccinations and Screening Steve Russell said: “More than 7 million autumn Covid boosters have been administered so far thanks to the hard work of NHS staff and volunteers, and while this is a brilliant start, our work is not done as more than 12 million people are now being invited to take up the offer and book an appointment as soon as possible.

“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.

“If you are between 50 and 64 then please do not hesitate to log on and book yourself an appointment; it is the best way to protect yourself from serious illness this winter”.

Around 33 million people in England will be eligible for a free flu vaccine this year, including all primary-age and some secondary-age children, who will be offered a nasal spray.

While sites are co-administering the flu and Covid vaccines where possible, people may be required to book two separate appointments for the different vaccines.

Public Health and Mental Health Minister Dr Caroline Johnson said: “It is really encouraging that millions of people have already come forward for their flu and Covid booster vaccines, increasing their immunity ahead of winter when viruses circulate more easily.

“Those eligible can now easily book a free flu and autumn booster vaccine online through the National Booking Service. Please come forward to give yourself and your loved ones vital protection over the coming months.”

Chief Medical Advisor at the UK Health Security Agency Dr Susan Hopkins said: “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 which will have low natural immunity due to Covid-19 restrictions over the last two years”.

Those eligible for the flu jab are:

  • people aged 50 and over
  • those aged between six months and 49 years with a specified health condition
  • some secondary school-aged children
  • 2 and 3-year-olds
  • pregnant women
  • primary school-aged children
  • those in care homes
  • people who are carers, as set out in the Green Book
  • frontline healthcare workers
  • frontline social care staff who do not have access to occupational health schemes
  • household contacts of people with weakened immune systems.

In line with advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, those eligible for an autumn Covid booster this year include:

  • residents in care homes for older adults
  • staff working in care homes for older adults
  • frontline health and social care workers
  • all adults aged 50 years and over
  • persons aged 5 to 49 years in a clinical risk group, as set out in the Green Book
  • persons aged 5 to 49 years who are household contacts of people with immunosuppression
  • persons aged 16 to 49 years who are carers, as set out in the Green Book.

For a full list of pharmacies offering a free NHS flu vaccination, including those not part of the NHS pilot, please visit the nhs.uk website.

Pharmacies are taking appointment bookings for flu vaccination online.

More than 131 million Covid vaccines have been administered by NHS staff and volunteers since the first Covid-19 jab was delivered outside of clinical trials to Maggie Keenan in Coventry in December 2020.