Get ready for winter with your vaccinations - by CEO Maz Fosh
As we approach winter in the NHS, we start to think about vaccinations, which used to just be the influenza (flu) jab. However, this year, like last year, we are encouraging people who are eligible to get their COVID-19 boosters too, to boost their immunity, to help protect themselves and their families from both viruses.
This winter it is expected that many respiratory infections, including COVID-19 and flu may circulate and potentially together in the case of COVID-19 and flu, at high levels, which could lead to increasing pressures on hospitals and health care services. Therefore, it’s important that as many people as possible get the vaccinations.
The autumn booster is the best way to maximise your protection against COVID-19, serious illness, hospitalisation or death, and provided you are eligible and it’s at least 90 days since your last dose you can book an appointment online or by calling 119.
The flu vaccine is safe and effective and offered every year on the NHS to help protect people at risk of getting seriously ill from flu. It’s best to have the flu jab in the autumn or early winter before flu starts spreading. You can read more about the flu vaccine on the NHS website
Like the COVID-19 booster, many groups of people are eligible for a free flu vaccine. You can check the gov.uk webpage on the flu immunisations programme to see if you or your family members are eligible.
Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust delivers the school age immunisation programmes. This is particularly challenging this year as it has been extended to all children in secondary school years 7, 8 and 9 as well as all primary school children from Reception to Year 6. Our staff have over 360 venues to visit to deliver the vaccine to school children. If you have children in these age groups, please help by completing the consent forms in good time.
Winter also brings other illnesses like colds and stomach bugs, which can usually be treated at home or by visiting your chemist. Pharmacists are trained clinicians who provide expert advice on how to help manage illnesses, as well as offering guidance on the best treatments.
We also have NHS 111 over the phone and online which is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can call 111 from a mobile or landline to speak to an advisor to get help or type in 111.nhs.uk on your phone or device and press the green start button. These services offer advice for urgent, but not life-threatening symptoms. Always contact NHS 111 first, it can save you time as they can book you an appointment at a local health facility.
Boost your immunity this winter, get your vaccinations and help protect Lincolnshire.