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People in north east London urged to get vaccinated this winter

People in north east London are being urged to protect themselves against Covid-19 and flu this winter – and it has never been easier to get vaccinated.

It is really important that anyone eligible has their flu vaccination, Covid-19 booster or initial Covid-19 jab so if you are invited for a vaccine, do take up the offer to protect yourself and those around you. You will also be helping the local NHS.

NHS North East London Clinical Commissioning Group (NEL CCG) is working with local partners to deliver vaccinations in Hackney and the City of London, Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

Dr Jagan John, GP and Chair of NEL CCG, said: “Winter is always a challenging time for the NHS in north east London.

“We want to help our residents stay well by having their vaccinations as there could be a significant flu surge this winter, coinciding with rising Covid-19 cases.

“This is due to a combination of cold weather, more indoor socialising and expected lower immunity because, due to lockdown restrictions, fewer people caught flu last year. If you have flu and Covid-19 at the same time, research shows you’re more likely to be seriously ill.

“Covid has not gone away and for the first time we will have Covid-19 and flu circulating together. They both spread easily, cause hospitalisation, and can both be fatal. It is really important that people get their vaccines as soon as they can.

“Also, if you haven’t had your first Covid-19 vaccine, now really is the time.

“The good news is it’s never been easier as we now have around 100 covid vaccination sites across north east London and all of our GP practices will be offering flu jabs, plus we are visiting every school.”

Flu alone accounts for around 11,000 deaths a year in England but a recent national survey found that nearly one third of people were unaware flu and Covid-19 could circulate at the same time, and more than a quarter did not know flu could be fatal.

Vaccines for older and vulnerable adults

Everyone aged 50 and over is eligible for a free flu vaccine and a Covid-19 booster vaccination, as well as other vulnerable adults.

You can find more information here on who is eligible for a free flu jab and information on the vaccine itself. You can get vaccinated at your GP surgery, at a hospital appointment, at a pharmacy offering the service, or through your midwife if you are pregnant. You can find a pharmacy offering the flu vaccine here now.

Eligible vulnerable adults can also get their Covid-19 booster to make sure they have a high level of protection as we head into winter. You can see who is eligible here – people must have received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, with the second one at least six months ago. You can have your Covid-19 booster at the same time as your flu jab if you wish, but it is up to you.

If you are eligible, you can go ahead and book your booster now at the National Booking Service. NHS frontline staff, including NHS Volunteers, can also book boosters on the National Booking Service, and will need to show work ID when they get vaccinated.

People who have a health condition that means they have a weakened immune system are entitled to a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, eight weeks after their second. This is not the same as a booster vaccine, and they may still be eligible for a booster in the future. Those affected can speak to their GP, hospital team or pharmacist to get their third dose.

Vaccines for children and young people

The NHS in north east London is also visiting schools to give flu vaccinations to young people as usual this year, and Covid-19 vaccinations to young people aged 12-15. Twenty local schools are due to be visited this week (from Monday 11 October). Children’s parents or guardians will be contacted with information about the vaccine and when it will be available. Children who are yet to start school can have their flu vaccine at their GP practice, and plans are being made to provide sites outside of school for 12- 15-year-olds to get a Covid-19 vaccine.

Covid vaccines for those aged 16-17 and above

Anyone aged 16 and over can easily find their nearest, high street, walk-in vaccination centre for their first or second jab through the ‘Grab a Jab’ NHS online walk-in finder. There is no need to pre-book and no need to bring a parent or guardian if you are 16 or 17; you can simply walk in and have your jab. You can also book appointments at a local centre through the National Booking ServiceThis map shows where all north east London vaccination sites are.