Get winter strong

As the winter weather sets in, the council is urging eligible and vulnerable groups to take up the flu and COVID-19 vaccine.


Pregnant women, young children and those with certain chronic medical conditions, such as coronary heart disease, cerebral palsy, liver or spleen disorders or long-term lung conditions, are particularly vulnerable to flu.

Data shows last year’s flu jab programme prevented around 25,000 hospitalisations in England.

All eligible groups are being encouraged to come forward for both the flu and COVID-19 jab, for the best possible protection this winter.

It is important to top up your protection, even if you have had a vaccine or been ill with flu or COVID-19 before, as immunity fades over time and the viruses change.

Cabinet member for public health and wellbeing, Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, said: “Vaccinations are our best defence against flu and COVID-19 ahead of what could be a very challenging winter.

“Potential new COVID-19 variants alongside the flu always carry the risk of infection, particularly in the winter, so I encourage everyone who is eligible to come forward for their seasonal vaccines. Protect yourself and your loved ones this winter.”

Who can receive a free flu jab?

  • All children aged 2 to 15 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 65 and over (including those who will be 65 by 31 March 2024)
  • 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.

If you are pregnant, you can arrange to have the vaccine at a local pharmacy or via your maternity care provider.

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 seasonal COVID-19 vaccine?

You may be able to get a seasonal COVID-19 vaccine if you're at increased risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19. For example, this may be due to a health condition or your age. The NHS will contact you if your NHS record suggests you may be eligible.

Children aged six months to 4 years old who are at increased risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 can get a first and second COVID-19 vaccine. They can then get a seasonal COVID-19 vaccination through their GP surgery.

You or your child may be offered a seasonal COVID-19 vaccine if you are:

  • aged 65 years old or over (you need to be 65 years old by 31 March 2024)
  • aged 6 months to 64 years old and are at increased risk
  • living in a care home for older adults
  • a frontline health or social care worker
  • aged 16 to 64 years old and are a carer
  • aged 12 to 64 years old and live with someone with a weakened immune system

Find out more about getting a COVID-19 vaccine, including if you're eligible and how to get it

More sites than ever before are offering the flu and COVID-19 vaccines to make it as easy and convenient as possible for people to get protection. You can find out the latest information about both vaccines and how to book by visiting or via the NHS App.

Those who can’t get online can also make a booking at one of the same sites by calling 119 for free. Booking your vaccines is quick and easy and usually just takes a few minutes.

Protect yourself this winter. Get your flu and COVID-19 vaccinations. Get winter strong.