Dates for the Covid-19 Boosters/Flu Vaccines in 2021-22 are here
Flu and Covid-19 Booster Update
We have started to invite all those patients who are eligible for their COVID boosters and flu vaccine this week. Please note that the COVID booster can ONLY be given 6 months after your second dose – they cannot be given earlier. We are following government guidelines on the timeframe between Covid-19 vaccines so please take this into consideration when booking.
We have also started to call all patients over the age of 65 for their flus. We are working towards having everyone in this cohot invited by the end of next week (8th Oct 2021).
You will be invited by either phone call, text or letter.
We are encouraging patients to have both the Flu vaccine and COVID booster in the same appointment to save time and help us get through the cohorts as quickly as possible.
We plan to have all house-bounds patient vaccinated by the end of the month (October).
Please only call the practice when you receive an invite. We have staggered invites to not overwhelm our telephone lines.
We look forward to seeing you and getting you fully vaccinated.
The national influenza immunisation programme 2021 to 2022
Last year saw the roll out of the biggest NHS influenza vaccination programme ever, with the aim of offering protection to as many eligible people as possible during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We would like to extend a huge thank you to all those involved for your hard work during very challenging times which led to the best influenza vaccine uptake rates ever achieved.
As a result of non-pharmaceutical interventions in place for COVID-19 (such as mask-wearing, physical and social distancing, and restricted international travel) influenza activity levels were extremely low globally in 2020 to 2021. As a result, a lower level of population immunity against influenza is expected in 2021 to 2022. In the situation where social mixing and social contact return towards pre-pandemic norms, it is expected that winter 2021 to 2022 will be the first winter in the UK when seasonal influenza virus (and other respiratory viruses) will co-circulate alongside COVID-19.
Seasonal influenza and COVID-19 viruses have the potential to add substantially to the winter pressures usually faced by the NHS, particularly if infection waves from both viruses coincide. The timing and magnitude of potential influenza and COVID-19 infection waves for winter 2021 to 2022 are currently unknown, but mathematical modelling indicates the 2021 to 2022 influenza season in the UK could be up to 50% larger than typically seen and it is also possible that the 2021 to 2022 influenza season will begin earlier than usual.
Influenza vaccination is therefore an important priority this coming autumn to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with influenza, and to reduce hospitalisations during a time when the NHS and social care may also be managing winter outbreaks of COVID-19.
The national influenza immunisation programme aims to provide direct protection to those who are at higher risk of influenza associated morbidity and mortality. Groups eligible for influenza vaccination are based on the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and include older people, pregnant women, and those with certain underlying medical conditions.
Since 2013, influenza vaccination has been offered to children in a phased roll-out to provide both individual protection to the children themselves and reduce transmission across all age groups to protect vulnerable members of the population.
The expanded influenza vaccination programme that we had last year will continue in 2021 to 2022 as part of our wider winter planning when we are likely to see both influenza and COVID-19 in circulation. This means that as a temporary measure the offer for 50 to 64 year olds will continue this year to protect this age group, as hospitalisation from COVID-19 also increases from the age of 50 years onwards.
As a temporary measure, the programme will also be extended this year to 4 additional cohorts in secondary school so that all those from years 7 to year 11 will be offered vaccination. Vaccinating children reduces transmission of influenza and JCVI have recommended that expanding into secondary schools would be cost-effective, particularly if COVID-19 is still circulating.
Therefore, those eligible for NHS influenza vaccination in 2021 to 2022 are:
- all children aged 2 to 15 (but not 16 years or older) on 31 August 2021
- those aged 6 months to under 50 years in clinical risk groups
- pregnant women
- those aged 50 years and over
- those in long-stay residential care homes
- close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
- frontline health and social care staff employed by:
- a registered residential care or nursing home
- registered domiciliary care provider
- a voluntary managed hospice provider
- Direct Payment (personal budgets) and/or Personal Health Budgets, such as Personal Assistants.
All frontline health and social care workers are expected to have influenza vaccination to protect those they care for. A separate communication will follow about staff vaccination.
The influenza chapter in ‘Immunisation against infectious disease’ (Green Book), which is updated periodically, gives detailed descriptions of the groups outlined above and guidance for healthcare workers on administering the influenza vaccine.