COVID-19 is more serious for some, including older people and those with underlying health conditions that make them more vulnerable to infections.
This winter, we expect that many respiratory infections, including COVID-19 and flu may be circulating at high levels. Last winter when we were isolating, this helped to reduce the circulation of the flu and COVID-19 viruses.
This seasons’ COVID-19 vaccine protects against the Omicron strain as well as the original strains of the virus. The Omicron variant passes from person to person very easily, so having a booster vaccination this year is important to top up your protection.
For these reasons, and because the COVID-19 infections increase over winter, people who are eligible, are being offered a winter COVID-19 booster vaccine.
While flu is unpleasant for most people, it can be dangerous and even life threatening for some people, particularly those with certain health conditions.
It is important to have the flu vaccination if you are advised to.
How to get a flu vaccination
Flu vaccines are safe and effective and are offered every year by the NHS to help protect people at risk of flu and its complications.
The best time to get vaccinated is before the winter months when flu starts spreading, but you can get vaccinated later.
If you’re eligible for the free flu vaccine, it’s worth thinking about also having the COVID-19 seasonal booster at the same time. Getting both vaccines is important because:
- More people are likely to get flu this winter
- You’re more likely to get seriously ill if you get flu and COVID-19 at the same time
It’s safe to have both vaccines at the same time.
Who can get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Anyone aged five years old and over can get a first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine (primary COVID-19 vaccination course).
A booster dose is now available to key age groups:
- A first booster for everyone aged 16 and over, and some children aged 12 to 15, once they have completed their primary COVID-19 vaccination course
- A seasonal booster (winter booster) for some people, including those aged 50 and over, those at higher risk or who are pregnant, and frontline health and social care workers
- If you’ve not had a first booster dose yet, you’re still eligible and can book anytime. If you’re eligible for both, you only need one booster during the winter.