More people in England are to be offered the free NHS flu vaccine this autumn and winter as the government has expanded who is entitled to it. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has also announced who will be able to have a COVID-19 booster.
The announcement, on 15th July 2022, means that everyone aged 50 and over will be among those offered a COVID-19 booster and a flu jab this year under plans to increase protection against respiratory viruses ahead of winter.
Included in the JCVI list about who should receive the COVID-19 booster are:
- Carers (people eligible for Carer’s Allowance, those who are the sole or primary carer of someone who is elderly, disabled or who has a health condition that means they are at increased risk of COVID-19).
- All adults aged 50 years and over.
- Residents and staff in care homes for older adults.
- People aged five to 49 years who are in a clinical risk group (such as people with diabetes, chronic heart, liver or kidney disease, or respiratory disease).
- People aged five to 49 years who live with people with immunosuppression.
Regarding this year’s flu vaccine programme, the government announced the extra groups that will be able to receive a vaccine later in the season will be:
- 50 to 64-year-olds that are not in a clinically at risk group.
- Secondary school children in years 7, 8 and 9.
These will join those previously eligible for a flu vaccine, which includes:
- Unpaid carers (similar criteria to the eligibility for the COVID-19 booster).
- Residents in long-stay residential care homes.
- Close contacts of immunocompromised individuals.
- People aged 65 years and over.
- Children aged 2 or 3 years on 31st August 2022
- Primary school aged children (from reception to Year 6)
- People in clinical risk groups aged 6 months to under 65 years
- Pregnant women
- Frontline staff employed by social care providers without employer led occupational health schemes, including those funded using Direct Payments or Personal Health Budgets, such as Personal Assistants.
The NHS will announce in due course when and how eligible groups will be able to book an appointment for their COVID-19 booster or free flu vaccine.
For more information about the COVID-19 booster and who is eligible for it, please visit the JCVI article on the gov.uk website at this link. To learn more about the flu vaccine visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/flu-influenza-vaccine.