Top up your immunity this winter

Everyone who is eligible is being encouraged to get two essential vaccines to protect themselves this winter – flu and the COVID-19 booster.

Last year, the flu vaccination programme was expanded to help protect people from the virus and ease pressure on the NHS and urgent care services. The expansion has stayed in place this year to help improve winter wellness, with those most vulnerable also invited to receive the COVID-19 booster.

Who can receive a free flu jab?

  • all children aged 2 to 15 – children will be offered the flu nasal spray in schools to help reduce community transmission. Two and three-year olds will be offered the nasal spray vaccine through their GP practice
  • people aged 50 and over (including those who will turn 50 by 31 March 2022)
  • people with long-term health conditions
  • pregnant women
  • care home residents
  • carers
  • close contacts of people who are immunocompromised
  • frontline health and social care staff employed by:
    • a registered residential care or nursing home
    • registered domiciliary care provider
    • a voluntary managed hospice provider
    • Direct Payment (personal budgets) and/or Personal Health Budgets, such as Personal Assistants


If you are recognised as being in one of the ‘high-risk’ groups for flu, you will receive an invitation from your GP practice inviting you for a free flu vaccine. Alternatively, you can arrange to have the vaccine at a local pharmacy or via your maternity care provider if you’re pregnant.


People who do not meet the requirements for a free flu jab may request a vaccine from any participating pharmacy for a small fee, depending on vaccine availability.


Visit to find out more about the flu vaccine and where to get it.

Who is eligible for a COVID-19 booster?


Booster vaccine doses will be available on the NHS for people most at risk from COVID-19 who have had a second dose of a vaccine at least six months ago. This includes:

  • people aged 50 and over
  • people who live and work in care homes
  • frontline health and social care workers
  • people aged 16 and over with a health condition that puts them at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19
  • people aged 16 and over who are a main carer for someone at high risk from COVID-19
  • people aged 16 and over who live with someone who immunocompromised

Eligible people can book their COVID-19 booster via the NHS website at


Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, cabinet member for housing, public health and wellbeing, said: “It is vital that people take advantage of their free flu jab and COVID booster vaccine if they are eligible to do so. Vaccines are the best way to protect yourself and your friends and family from dangerous viruses this winter. If infected by both flu and coronavirus, you could be at risk of more serious illness.

“Frontline health and social care workers and carers can also top up their immunity to help protect themselves and the people they care for. I urge everyone to take flu seriously – the flu virus kills almost 11,000 people and hospitalises tens of thousands more in England every year, and with the continued risk of coronavirus too, it’s more important than ever to get have both jabs.”

16 August 2023