Health authorities in the North East and Yorkshire are issuing a timely reminder to the public, emphasizing the ongoing availability of COVID-19 vaccinations for eligible individuals at local NHS walk-in centres or participating pharmacies.

This call to action targets those at risk, as the winter COVID-19 vaccination campaign is set to conclude on January 31, 2024. Post this date, COVID vaccinations will be temporarily halted, necessitating individuals to await the commencement of a future seasonal campaign. Exceptions include those developing new health conditions or commencing treatments significantly compromising the immune system, where vaccination advice may be provided by a clinician.

As winter conditions elevate the risk of flu and COVID transmission, vaccination stands as the most effective measure for safeguarding oneself and family members. Optimal defenses against the viruses are achieved approximately two weeks after receiving the vaccine.

Emphasizing the importance of vaccination, Regional Medical Director and Clinical Lead for the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme, Dr Yvette Oade, stressed, “Despite positive uptake of the seasonal Covid vaccine, there are still over 800,000 vulnerable individuals in the region who remain unvaccinated and at a higher risk of severe illness from Covid.”

The ongoing winter COVID-19 vaccination campaign in the North East and Yorkshire has witnessed the administration of over 1.8 million COVID vaccine doses at various sites.

Regional Medical Director and Clinical Lead for the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme, Dr Yvette Oade, said; “Although we have seen encouraging uptake of the seasonal Covid vaccine, there are still over 800,000 people across the region at a higher risk of falling seriously ill to Covid that have not been vaccinated.

“As we approach the end of the winter COVID-19 vaccination campaign, we are encouraging people to come forward and get vaccinated to keep you, and those around you, safe.”

Aligned with guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, eligible individuals for the seasonal COVID vaccine include residents in care homes for older adults, adults aged 65 and over, individuals aged 6 months to 64 years in a clinical risk group, frontline health and social care workers, carers aged 16 to 64 years, and staff working in care homes for older adults.

While appointments may still be available through local NHS vaccination services or walk-in sites until January 31, 2024, individuals experiencing cold and flu symptoms on their scheduled vaccination day are advised to reschedule their appointments for when they are in good health.

Following the January 31 deadline, the COVID-19 vaccination offer will be suspended until the next anticipated seasonal campaign in April 2024. Exceptions may apply for those developing new health conditions or undergoing treatments severely impacting the immune system, subject to clinician advice. The flu vaccination program will continue until March 31, with eligible individuals encouraged to receive their flu vaccine promptly for protection during the peak flu season.