Winter vaccines could be this year’s most valuable Christmas present
With just over two weeks to go until the big day, any person in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire due a flu or Covid-19 vaccine is being encouraged to come forward before Christmas.
Getting vaccinated now or in the next few days will ensure that people’s immune systems have enough time to respond to the vaccine and build up a good level of defence against both flu and Covid-19.
Vaccinations for Covid-19 are still available from a wide range of locations across the region, with many people now able to have the jab closer to home, with more community venues now acting vaccine centres.
People can find their nearest vaccination centre through the NHS website or by calling 119.
Gill May, Chief Nurse, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board, said: “Christmas is a time for families and friends, and we know that young and old will be spending more time together, most likely indoors, over the festive period.
“It’s fantastic that we can be together with our loved ones again, however we need to be mindful that both Covid-19 and flu are more prevalent at this time of year, with each virus capable of spoiling Christmas for even the healthiest of people.
“Our vaccination centres have really good appointment availability for the coming days, so I’d encourage any person who has still yet to come forward to do so as soon as possible, not just for their sake, but for the wellbeing of all those they will be mixing with over Christmas.”
Currently, all adults over the age of 50 are advised to have the Covid-19 autumn booster jab, as well as the flu vaccine, with some people able to receive both during the same vaccination appointment.
Although pre-booked appointments are always recommended, some vaccine sites do accept walk-ins, and details of which locations do can be found by through the online NHS Grab a Jab portal.
Flu vaccines are free for all adults over 50 years of age, as well as for some more vulnerable people, including pregnant women, those with a long-term health condition and frontline health and social care workers.
Like the Covid-19 vaccine, flu jabs can also be booked online through the NHS website, or arranged in person at GP practices and community pharmacies.
People not eligible for a free flu vaccine can still get protected by arranging to have their vaccine privately at a high street chemist or at a larger supermarket with an in-store pharmacy.
Anne Williams worked as a vaccinator at Bath Racecourse, and recently received the two winter vaccinations.
She said: “Like Covid-19, the flu virus can be particularly nasty, so it just makes complete sense to stay protected against both, and being able to have the jabs at the same time meant it was all done and dusted in just a few minutes.
“I feel better heading into this Christmas knowing the chances of me becoming very poorly from either Covid-19 or flu, as well as the likelihood of me passing the viruses on to my family, is now much lower.”
More information about the flu and Covid-19 vaccines can be found online at www.bsw.icb.nhs.uk.