The NHS winter vaccination programme in the North East and Yorkshire has successfully administered over 1.4 million Covid vaccines and 1.9 million flu jabs to those most vulnerable in just over six weeks, potentially saving countless lives.
Recently, the national booking system has expanded its offerings, allowing those eligible to schedule appointments for both the Covid and flu vaccines simultaneously. This development further bolsters the already impressive rollout of the flu vaccine.
The NHS continues to extend invitations for winter vaccinations to all eligible individuals, with over 16 million invitations sent out nationwide. This includes invitations to those aged 65 and older, as well as those with specific underlying health conditions.
In the region, over 90% of care home residents have now received their Covid jab, reinforcing their protection in anticipation of the heightened risks during winter, when Covid, flu, and other viruses tend to be more prevalent, especially as people spend more time indoors.
Even if individuals have previously been vaccinated or have experienced flu or Covid in the past, it’s crucial to remember that immunity diminishes over time, and these viruses evolve annually. Thus, it remains imperative for individuals to fortify their defences.
While NHS leaders are heartened by the progress, they encourage others to step forward before the colder months set in.
As winter looms, there has been a rise in Covid cases, with the past two weeks seeing an average of over 700 patients with Covid admitted to hospitals in the North East and Yorkshire. This marks an increase of about one-third compared to the same period last month.
Dr Yvette Oade CBE, Medical Director for NHS England in North East and Yorkshire said: “The vaccination figures to date are very encouraging, and show the NHS is making excellent progress in helping those most at risk of life-threatening flu and COVID-19 viruses get the protection they need this winter, but we want to ensure even more people are booking appointments.
She added: “We know things start to get more pressured for the NHS at this time of year, but vaccination is one of the best ways to prevent people from getting sick this winter and with thousands of appointments available every day, I urge everyone eligible to please come forward and book yours too.
The autumn vaccination campaign is part of a broader set of NHS initiatives to brace for winter, as the health service grapples with significant strain from ongoing industrial action, increased demand on emergency services, the potential emergence of a new Covid variant, and the prevalence of other common winter viruses.
All eligible adults can now conveniently book joint flu and Covid vaccinations in a single appointment by visiting www.nhs.uk/seasonalvaccinations or using the NHS App. In addition to this, GP practices and local NHS services will be reaching out to individuals to offer both vaccines. Those interested in the flu vaccine can also book it through an online search for a nearby pharmacy.
For additional information on children’s eligibility for the flu vaccine, please refer to this link: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/child-flu-vaccine/