The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England have joined forces with TV doctor and former Gladiator Dr Zoe Williams to urge unvaccinated people at risk to take up the offer to get ‘winter strong’ ahead of the festive season – when flu and COVID-19 are expected to peak.
The life-saving NHS winter vaccination programme has already delivered more than 11.7 million flu jabs and over 8.6 million Covid vaccines to people most at risk across England since the offer went live in September – making it the fastest NHS flu vaccine roll out on record.
Now TV, radio, social media and billboard ads running through to mid-December will particularly focus on encouraging pregnant women, and those with ongoing health conditions, to get vaccinated. These groups have more recently had lower vaccine uptake despite being at higher risk.
If you are eligible, you can book an appointment to have your jabs via the NHS National Booking System or NHS app, or at a walk-in clinic or pharmacy near you. Visit Kent and Medway’s Integrated Care Board website for more information.
The campaign is also focused on inspiring parents of children aged 2 and 3 (on the 31st August) to get their children immunised against flu.
“If you have long-term health conditions, or are pregnant, getting your flu and COVID-19 vaccines are two of the most important things you can do to protect yourself from serious illness this winter”
KCC Director of Public Health, Dr Anjan Ghosh, said: “If you have long-term health conditions, or are pregnant, getting your flu and COVID-19 vaccines are two of the most important things you can do to protect yourself from serious illness this winter.
“Parents can also be assured that the flu vaccine for children is usually given as a quick and painless spray up the nose. The vaccination safeguards your child’s health and reduces the risk of them losing valuable days at school. It also protects vulnerable family and friends who could get very ill if they picked up the virus.”
Parents should receive an invitation to book an appointment on their child’s behalf. Alternatively, you can contact your GP surgery directly.
Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT) is also offering the nasal flu vaccine to pre-school children at its community clinics. Parents can book online.
You can find out more about the reasons to get protected from flu and COVID on the UKHSA’s website.
GP and TV Doctor, Dr Zoe Williams, said: “If you are eligible it’s because you are at higher risk of severe illness, so now is the time to get protected before winter arrives.
“My 2-year-old recently had their flu nasal spray vaccination.
"It was quick and painless, and I’d strongly encourage other parents to take up the offer.
"Nobody wants to see their child getting unwell with what can be a nasty illness, especially with the winter festivities ahead."
Mattea Clarke, Health Protection Consultant and flu lead for UKHSA South East, said: “For those most vulnerable both flu and COVID-19 can cause severe illness, often hospitalisation.
“If you’re eligible don’t put it off, book your appointment today”
“Nobody wants to miss out on the festive celebrations with their friends and family this winter and the vaccines provide the best possible protection.
“If you’re eligible don’t put it off, book your appointment today and arm yourself against the risk of severe illness.”