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Flu and COVID-19 winter vaccination campaign launched

COVID-19 Autumn Booster Flu Vaccine

A planned and targeted winter vaccination campaign to help protect those most at risk from respiratory illnesses has been launched will commence later this month.

The campaign, which is due to commence on 19 September, will see flu and COVID-19 vaccines offered to over 1 million people in Northern Ireland within eligible groups over the coming months.

The programme will be implemented using a combination of GPs, community pharmacies and Health and Social Care Trusts, with the majority of vaccinations expected to be administered by GPs and community pharmacies.

Flu vaccine

If you are eligible for flu vaccination, you need to be vaccinated every year as the antibodies that protect you from flu decline over time, and flu strains change from year to year. It can take up to two weeks for your immunity to build up fully after you have had your flu vaccine.

COVID-19 autumn booster

The COVID-19 autumn booster is being offered to people at higher risk from coronavirus. By taking up the booster vaccine this autumn, you will increase your protection ahead of the winter months, when respiratory viruses are typically at their peak.

Vaccine programme arrangements

Given that the two vaccination programmes will be running at the same time, with slightly different arrangements and eligible groups for each, we are urging people to work with our health service, whether it is the school nursing service, your GP surgery, community pharmacy or another route of vaccination, so that both programmes can be delivered in a timely and well-managed way.

Some people may be offered the flu jab and COVID-19 booster vaccine at the same appointment. It is safe and effective to receive it in this way.

Everyone who is eligible for vaccination should make themselves aware of their own GP surgeries, community pharmacists or Trust’s vaccination arrangements, or look out for the consent form for their children coming home in schoolbags.

Eligible groups for flu vaccine in 2022 to 2023 are:
  • Those aged 50 years and over (by 31 March 2023)
  • Those aged 6 months to 2 years, and 16 to 49 years in clinical risk groups
  • Pregnant women
  • All preschool children aged 2 or over on 1 September 2022
  • All primary and secondary (up to year 12) school children
  • Those in long-stay residential care homes
  • Carers
  • Close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
  • Frontline health and social care workers.
Eligible groups for COVID-19 vaccine in 2022 to 2023 are:
  • All adults aged 50 and over (those born before 31 March 1973)
  • Those aged 5 to 49 years in a clinical risk group
  • Pregnant women
  • Residents in a care home for older adults, and staff working in care homes for older adults
  • Those aged 5 to 49 years who are household contacts of people with immunosuppression
  • Those aged 16 to 49 years who are carers
  • Frontline health and social care workers.
COVID-19 first, second and booster doses

COVID-19 first, second and booster doses are still available to those who are not yet fully vaccinated.