People across the Black Country are being urged to boost their immunity as winter approaches

Millions of eligible people are being urged to get their flu and Covid booster vaccines to top up their immunity, as almost 10 million people in England have already received their boosters.

More than 10 million people are expected to have received their Covid autumn booster in England by Monday, with 49.5% of those 65 and over getting their flu jab, helping protect against serious illness throughout the winter. 

Around 33 million people are eligible for the flu vaccine and 26 million people are eligible for the COVID-19 booster. Latest Covid data has shown continued high rates of cases and hospitalisations in recent weeks.

Cases of flu have climbed quickly in the past week, indicating the season has started earlier than normal. This is leading to increased pressure on emergency departments with rates of hospitalisations and ICU admissions rising the fastest in children under 5. Katie Spence, Regional Deputy Director for UKHSA West Midlands, said:

“We are expecting to see both COVID-19 and flu viruses circulating this winter, so it’s vital that people in the West Midlands who are eligible get vaccinated as soon as possible – to protect lives, livelihoods and the NHS.

“COVID-19 and flu spread more quickly in the winter and can cause serious illness. Protection from the COVID-19 vaccine decreases over time, so if you’re 50 or over, in an at-risk group or pregnant, it’s time to boost your immunity.

"Flu viruses can change every year, so for the best protection, eligible people should get their flu vaccine every year. Vaccines are the best protection we have against viruses like COVID-19 and flu, and they’re free to everyone eligible.

“If you’re pregnant, flu and COVID-19 can cause serious harm to you and your baby. The COVID-19 vaccine offers the best protection for pregnant women and their babies. Flu jabs don’t contain live influenza virus, so they can’t infect you or your baby – but the flu vaccine can reduce risk of serious complications such as pneumonia, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy.

"Pregnant women who have their flu jab also pass on some protection to their babies, which lasts for the first few months of their lives. While parents of young children should make sure they get their flu vaccine, as flu can be a serious illness for your child, and they can also spread the infection to those who are more vulnerable.”

The NHS Winter Vaccines chatbot will return, helping to guide those who are searching online for the right information. This instant online conversation tool was first developed to support last winter’s campaign and answers FAQs with trusted NHS information in a single place.


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