Plans are being finalised to offer the flu vaccine from September followed by COVID boosters from October.
In the meantime people are asked not to contact their GP practice for an appointment – they will contact you if they are offering the service.
With Suffolk and north east Essex having one of the highest overall take-up rates of COVID vaccinations in the country it is anticipated there will be keen demand, which will help protect people’s health over the colder winter months when the virus is most prevalent.
Subject to vaccine availability, following the success of last year’s offer of administering the COVID booster and flu jab with two separate vaccinations at the same appointment, the local health system in Suffolk and north east Essex is aiming to replicate the scheme this year to those who are eligible. Both vaccines will also be available separately and will be offered by a variety of providers (inc. GPs, community pharmacy and hospitals). A mix of booked appointments and no-appointment walk-in clinics will be available across the area to make accessing these valuable health protections as easy as possible.
There is a dedicated local vaccination website at www.sneevaccine.org.uk which will have all the information people need to access a COVID booster, including eligibility requirements and walk-in clinic locations, when the information becomes available.
Elizabeth Moloney, who is leading on the vaccination rollout for the NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board, said: “With the news of a new COVID variant spreading worldwide we all need to be mindful that the virus is still prevalent and that we cannot yet lessen or ease up on staying as protected as possible.
“Getting vaccinated is the best possible action against COVD and flu.
“The cold winter months will undoubtedly see an increase in COVID cases, as well as flu, which although a different virus, can too have a hugely detrimental effect on health, such as inner ear infections in children, inflammation of the heart and pneumonia, and being potentially harmful to a pregnant women and unborn babies.
“While we plan the vaccination programme over the coming weeks we urge people to remain patient and wait to hear further updates.
“Those eligible for either one or both of the vaccinations will be contacted and we’ll be promoting clinic availability far and wide to ensure the vaccine is accessible to all.”
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which advises the government on COVID vaccination has listed the following groups as being eligible for a COVID booster:
- Residents in a care home for older adults
- All adults aged 65 years and over
- Persons aged 6 months to 64 years in a clinical risk group
- Frontline health and social care workers
- Persons aged 12 to 64 years who are household contacts of people with immunosuppression
- Persons aged 16 to 64 years who are carers and staff working in care homes for older adults.
And for a flu vaccination:
- those aged 65 years and over
- those aged 6 months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups
- pregnant women
- all children aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2023
- primary school aged children (from Reception to Year 6)
- those in long-stay residential care homes
- carers in receipt of carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person
- close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
- frontline workers in a social care setting