Millions of eligible people in England can now book their life-saving autumn COVID-19 vaccine online as the NHS steps up its winter vaccination programmes early in response to the risk of the new COVID-19 variant.
Anyone eligible can book their COVID-19 vaccinations via the NHS website, by downloading the NHS App, or by calling 119 for free if they can’t get online.
Hundreds of thousands of adults who are eligible for winter vaccines – including all aged 65 and over, pregnant women and those with an underlying health condition – will also begin receiving invitations from the NHS to encourage them to get their COVID-19 and flu jabs from this week.
GP practices and other local NHS services will also be contacting people to offer both flu and COVID-19 vaccines, and people can book the flu vaccine by searching online for a local pharmacy.
Jane Scattergood, senior responsible officer for the Lancashire and South Cumbria COVID-19 vaccination programme, said: “We are seeing a spike in the number of people becoming ill with COVID-19 at the moment and so I would urge anyone who is eligible to take the offer of a vaccination booster this winter, to protect yourself from serious illness.
“It’s starting to get colder now, we spend more time together indoors and become more susceptible to winter illnesses so it is important we all do what we can to protect ourselves and our families from becoming unwell.
“As well as those identified and invited nationally, carers, pregnant women and health and social care staff are eligible for a vaccine. Please simply declare this using the online booking system and go ahead and book your appointment. Don’t wait to be called. We will not require any evidence of your eligibility.”
This year’s adult COVID-19 and flu vaccination programme has been brought forward on the advice of scientists following the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant (BA.2.86), which has a high number of mutations.
COVID-19 vaccination for those aged under 18 years will begin later in the year – the NHS will let eligible families know when this offer opens.
To book a COVID-19 vaccine, visit www.nhs.uk/covid-19-advice-and-services.