Residents in Lancashire and South Cumbria aged 75 and over, and those with weakened immune systems, are now able to book their own appointment for the new-style booster.
Today’s announcement follows the rollout of the new variant-busting jab to care home residents and staff earlier this week.
From Monday 12 September onwards, GPs, pharmacists, and mass vaccination sites will begin giving jabs to hundreds of thousands of people at greater risk from the COVID-19 virus.
Everyone aged 50 and over, people with certain health conditions that put them at risk, including pregnant women, and frontline health and care staff are all eligible for the full-approved jab, which targets more recent variants of COVID-19.
The first NHS invitations are set to hit doorsteps this week, and eligible people can book their booster vaccine from today (Wednesday 7 September) for an appointment from the following week using the National Booking Service, by calling 119, or finding a local vaccination walk-in site.
Lancashire and South Cumbria is also gearing up to begin its annual programme of flu vaccinations, which will be offered to more vulnerable groups first.
Younger children, older people, those in clinical risk groups and pregnant women will be able to book an appointment for a flu vaccine at their GP practice or a pharmacy.
From mid-October 2022, people aged 50 to 64 years old that aren’t in a clinical risk group, will also be able to get their free flu vaccine.
People may be able to get both vaccines at the same time, although if this is not possible then everyone eligible is urged to get the jabs separately but as quickly as they can.
Carole McCann, Chief Nurse for the Lancashire and South Cumbria COVID-19 vaccination programme, said: “We are envisaging a challenging winter, and anticipate seeing the continued spread of COVID-19 plus a resurgence in flu for the first time since the pandemic.
“We are urging everyone who is eligible for the COVID-19 booster to get it to protect themselves and anyone around them who might be vulnerable. The same goes for the flu vaccination, please get it to maximise your overall protection from what is a nasty illness that could result in hospital admission, or worse.”
The autumn COVID-19 booster and flu vaccination programmes are among a package of measures to prepare for winter as the health service in Lancashire and South Cumbria continues to face record demand on its urgent and emergency care services.
Bed capacity is being ramped up, there will be more 999 and NHS 111 staff, and the integrated care system will work to ensure patients can be discharged from hospital back to their own home or into the community with appropriate support as soon as it is clinically appropriate to do so.
Carole added: “We want people to stay safe and to stay well, and we’re making the COVID-19 booster and the annual flu vaccination available to the people that need it most.
“The NHS in Lancashire and South Cumbria will be here if you need us this winter; please help us to help you by getting your vaccinations done at the earliest opportunity.”