UKHSA urges eligible groups to get vaccinated against flu and COVID-19

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The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is reminding all those eligible that it's not too late to book their flu and COVID-19 vaccinations. Cases are expected to continue to rise over the next few weeks following increased travel and socializing that occurred over the festive period.

Those at greater risk of serious illness from flu and COVID-19 should get vaccinated to reduce their chances of needing medical care or hospitalisation, reducing pressure on health services. Children who take up the flu vaccine also help to reduce spread to vulnerable friends and family, ensuring communities across the UK make the healthiest start to 2024.

For pregnant women, uptake for influenza and COVID-19 vaccines has decreased when compared to the same time last season. Vulnerable groups, including pregnant women and those with long-term health conditions, are particularly urged to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

As it can take several days to boost your immunity after the flu and COVID-19 vaccinations, now is the time to get vaccinated to start the new year in good health. Temperatures are forecast to drop later in January, with more mixing indoors increasing the possibility of further rises in flu and COVID-19.

Eligible groups can book their vaccine by contacting their local GP surgery or pharmacy to make an appointment. Vaccinations against COVID-19 are being offered until 31 January, while flu vaccinations are available until 31 March.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Immunisation at UKHSA, said:

Flu and COVID-19 levels are on the rise, so get your vaccine now to make sure that you are winter strong. Pregnant women, their unborn babies and those in clinical risk groups are at higher risk of complications and severe illness from flu. Taking up both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines provides the best protection for both pregnant women and their baby. Vaccinated women have a lower risk of stillbirth, prematurity and needing intensive care.

If you are the parent of a child aged 2 or 3 don't forget that they are also eligible for the flu vaccine and this can be booked via your GP - the nasal spray vaccine will help prevent hospitalisations, reduce the spread of flu in the community and avoid you having to juggle a sick child with work and other commitments.  

It's not too late to get your vaccines - eligible people can still speak to their GP, or alternatively a local pharmacist about getting their vaccination.

If you are showing symptoms of a respiratory illness like flu or COVID-19, you can help reduce the spread of these infections by washing your hands regularly and covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing, regularly cleaning frequently touched surfaces, and avoiding mixing with others where possible, particularly those who are more vulnerable."

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