Get winter-ready – complete guide to flu and COVID-19 vaccines

Winter is tough at the best of times, but with two significant viruses – flu and COVID-19 –circulating alongside all the normal colds and snivels, it’s more important than ever to protect yourself.

If you’re unfortunate enough to get flu and COVID-19 at the same time, you are much more likely to become seriously ill. Last winter, when COVID-19 cases were high enough to bring a national lockdown, flu rates were low. Experts believe the picture will be different this year, with flu posing more of a threat.

Getting your flu and COVID-19 vaccines and boosters when eligible will reduce the spread of the viruses in the community, helping to protect those most at risk.

Maybe you’ve had two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and don’t know if you’re due for a booster – or perhaps you’re a parent unsure about the flu vaccine programme. Whatever your questions, read on for our complete guide to winter vaccines this year – by age.

If you’re a parent of a two to three-year-old

If your child is two or three (born between 1 September 2017 and 31 August 2019) they are eligible for the flu vaccine nasal spray. To book your child’s vaccine or find out more, contact your GP or health visitor.

Read more about the flu vaccine for children.

If you’re a parent of a primary school-aged child

Children at primary school will receive the flu nasal spray, as usual, via their school. Look out for information from your school when it’s time for your child to get the vaccine.

Read more about the flu vaccine for children.

If you’re a parent of a secondary school pupil, aged 12 to 15

COVID-19 vaccines

Children aged 12 to 15 are eligible to receive one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The roll out of the vaccine is currently taking place in secondary schools across the borough, via the school immunisation service. If they haven’t already, your school will be in touch shortly with more information about the vaccine and a consent form for parents. Please discuss the vaccine with your child. If you don’t return the form, and your child wishes to be vaccinated, we will contact you to seek verbal consent – without it we will not vaccinate your child that day.

Vaccinations in schools are happening throughout November. 12 to 15-year-olds can also be vaccinated during half term at vaccination centres across South West London. You can book a slot on the national booking system

Children in this age group, with a health condition that puts them at risk of coronavirus, can book an appointment with their GP and will receive two doses. If you think your child is at risk, and they haven’t been vaccinated so far, contact your GP.

Read more about COVID-19 vaccinations for 12 to 15-year-olds.

Flu vaccines

For the first time, all secondary school pupils up to year 11 will also be eligible to receive the free flu nasal spray vaccine this year. Again, your school will be in touch with more details when the teams are ready to visit your school. Flu and COVID-19 vaccines won’t be given during the same sessions.

Read more about the flu vaccine for children.

If you’re aged 16 to 17

Young people over 16 are eligible to receive one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. If you haven’t had yours yet, you can book online or find your local walk-in clinic or read more about the vaccine. If you have questions or need more information, come and chat to our friendly nurses before you decide, with absolutely no obligation to get the jab.

If you’re aged 18 to 49

If you’re aged between 18 and 49 you are eligible for two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Again, if you haven’t had your first dose yet, pop along to our walk-in clinics at any time. We will continue to offer the vaccine to anyone who has missed their first dose so far, throughout the winter – or as long as it takes.

Remember, you can have your second dose eight weeks after your first, and you need to be double jabbed for the best protection. So, if your second dose is due, visit a walk-in clinic or book online today.

Some adults are eligible for a free flu jab. This could be you, if you are a frontline health or social care worker, have certain health conditions (find out which), live in long-stay residential care, are the main carer for an older or disabled person or live someone who is at risk. Find out more here.

If you don’t fall into these groups, and wish to protect yourself from flu, you can receive the vaccine privately from pharmacies for around £10.

If you’re pregnant

If you’re pregnant, it’s especially important to protect yourself from both flu and COVID-19. Read more about flu and COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy.

If you haven’t received either vaccine yet, contact your GP or midwife – if you have questions about the vaccines and pregnancy talk to them too, or call in at one of our walk-in vaccine clinics, where you can also receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

If you’re aged 50 to 64

If you’re in this age group, you are eligible for a free flu vaccine and a COVID-19 booster (as well as the normal two doses of the vaccine). You can book your flu jab at many local pharmacies.

You can receive your COVID-19 booster six months after your second dose – you will be contacted by the NHS when it’s your turn. You’ll then be able to book online through the national COVID-19 vaccination booking service.

You can’t currently receive the booster at a walk-in clinic without an invitation.

If you’re over 65

In this age group it’s really important you receive your COVID booster and your flu jab to protect you through the winter. Contact your local pharmacy or your GP to book your flu jab appointment, if you haven’t already done so. If you haven’t had a COVID-19 booster invitation yet, and it’s been six months since you had your second dose, get in touch with your GP.

More information
· Read more about the COVID-19 vaccination programme, including boosters here.
· Read more about flu here.
· Find local COVID-19 walk-in vaccination clinics here.
· Find a local pharmacy offering the flu jab here Find a pharmacy that offers the NHS flu vaccine.

Contact Information
Press Office SWL CCG
South West London CCG