COVID-19 and flu vaccinations

Adult COVID-19 and flu vaccination programmes

Due to the risks presented by the new BA.2.86 COVID-19 variant, the NHS has brought forward the adult COVID-19 and flu vaccination programmes. The intention is to vaccinate all those who are eligible by the end of October.

  • 11 September onwards: Care home residents and staff, and some people who require a home visit, began to be vaccinated. Local services started to invite people who are most at risk, including those who are immunosuppressed.
  • 18 September onwards: The NHS will invite people in priority order of risk. Those eligible will be able to book an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccination on the National Booking Service.
  • Appointments for a flu vaccination can be made at a GP surgery or pharmacy.
  • Health and social care workers will be invited for their vaccines through their employer.

Children's flu vaccination programme

School-aged children will be able to get the flu vaccine at school or at community clinics. Those with long-term health conditions can also get the vaccine at GP surgeries. Children aged two and three years will be able to get an appointment with their GP practice.


Eligible for an autumn COVID-19 vaccine

  • Residents in a care home for older adults
  • All adults aged 65 years and over
  • People aged 6 months to 64 years in a clinical risk group
  • Pregnant women
  • Frontline health and social care workers
  • People aged 12 to 64 years who are household contacts of people with immunosuppression
  • People aged 16 to 64 years who are carers and staff working in care homes for older adults.

Eligible for a flu vaccine

  • People aged 65 years and over
  • People aged 6 months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups
  • Pregnant women
  • All children aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2023
  • School-aged children (from Reception to Year 11)
  • People 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 without an employer-led occupational health scheme. This includes:
    • those working for a registered residential care or nursing home
    • registered domiciliary care providers
    • voluntary managed hospice providers
    • people who are employed by those who receive direct payments (personal budgets) or personal health budgets, such as Personal Assistants.

How to get your vaccination

You will be invited to book an appointment.

You can use the National Booking Service to Book or manage a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination

You can also call 119 Calls are free, the hours are:

  • Monday to Friday: 9am to 5pm
  • Saturday: 9am to 1pm
  • Sunday and bank holidays: closed

You can visit a walk-in clinic: Find a walk-in coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination site

If you are contacted to book an appointment

How you will be contacted

This will either be by letter, phone or text.

Do not respond to anybody who claims to be able to provide you with a vaccine for a payment.

  • The NHS will never ask for your bank account or card details.
  • The NHS will never ask for your PIN or banking password.
  • The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.
  • The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.

How you will be contacted for your vaccination

Once you have been contacted

Book your appointment as soon as possible. You may be offered the option to book an appointment online. If you cannot book online you may be able to book an appointment by phone.

  • There is a national vaccination centre at Princess Royal Health Centre, Huddersfield
  • If you are unable to travel to the vaccination centre you are offered, please refer back to the letter for advice on alternative ways you can get vaccinated.
  • Vaccinations are being carried out across a range of locations such as GP practices and health care centres.

COVID-19 guides for parents and carers

Help getting to a vaccination clinic

Our free transport offer is to help those who cannot get to a vaccine clinic themselves to make sure those who are eligible can get a vaccine.

Please submit your request at least 48 hours before transport is required. We may not be able to provide transport at shorter notice due to availability.

How to book transport

Fill in our simple online form.

Clock Completing this form takes around 5 minutes

Request transport to a vaccination appointment

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine

Attending the clinic

Attend your appointment if you are given one.

  • If you have had COVID-19, you should still get vaccinated when you are invited to your appointment. See people who have had COVID-19, had the flu vaccine or are unwell.
  • The vaccination centre your appointment takes place in will keep you safe from COVID-19 through a range of measures, including cleaning and disinfecting and having social distancing in waiting areas.
  • Please wear a face covering to your appointment.
  • If you are taking medication, please bring a list of it with you to the vaccination centre. Do not bring the medicines themselves.
  • If you are taking a blood thinner called Warfarin you need your latest INR reading and when it was last checked. If you don't know this, you can get if from your GP. Computers at the vaccination centres do not link back to medical records so results can't be looked up on the day.

Frontline social care workers

We strongly recommend that all frontline social care workers who can receive a vaccine choose to take it.

Frontline workers are at increased personal risk of exposure to infection with COVID-19 and of transmitting that infection to susceptible and vulnerable patients in health and social care settings.

There is greater COVID-19 mortality and morbidity in men and women working in social care than in non-social care staff of the same age and sex.

After you have received the COVID-19 vaccinated

Continue to follow prevention and help advice

Continue to follow prevention and help advice to protect yourself, family and community and to play your part in helping to stop the spread.

If you are a frontline worker, continue to follow guidance on wearing PPE, handwashing using soap and water or hand sanitizer, as well as other protective measures.

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms after your vaccination

It is possible to have caught COVID-19 and not realise you have the symptoms until after your vaccination appointment.

Symptoms of COVID-19

Get tested if you get these symptoms.

COVID-19 testing

About the COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 vaccines are safe

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has confirmed that the vaccines have gone through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through. They have been through three stages of clinical trials and have been tested on tens of thousands of people around the world.

  • No safety concerns were seen in studies of more than 20,000 people.
  • No long-term complications have been reported.
  • The vaccines will not alter your DNA.
  • The British Islamic Medical Association recommends that the currently available COVID-19 vaccines are eligible for individuals in Muslim communities: BIMA COVID-19 Vaccine Statements

The trial phases were organised to overlap, speeding up the overall production time, but without cutting any corners on trialling the vaccine and ensuring it meets strict standards of safety and effectiveness.

Time has also been gained because:

  • Trial volunteers were recruited at the start of the process, so they were ready to go once the vaccine was ready for trial.
  • In the UK trials, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) made this their top priority.
  • Plans were made for the next phase of trials by the companies without having to wait for investor decisions.
  • Companies made decisions to begin large scale production of vaccines which were still in trials. So, if vaccines were found to be safe and effective, they would be ready to be distributed straight away.

Side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 vaccines can cause side-effects but not everyone gets them.

  • Most side-effects are mild and short-term.
  • Common side effects include a painful arm, feeling tired, headache, general aches and mild flu-like symptoms.
  • These symptoms are normal and are a sign that your body is building immunity.
  • They normally last less than a week.

How the vaccine reduces your chances of suffering from COVID-19

  • The vaccine works by making a protein from the virus that is important for creating protection.
  • This protein works in the same way as they do in other vaccines, by stimulating the immune system to make antibodies and cells to fight the infection.
  • It may take a week or two for your body to build up some protection from the first dose of vaccine.
  • Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective - some people may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, but this should be less severe.

COVID-19 Vaccine - Frequently Asked Questions

Protecting those you care for from COVID-19

  • Some vaccinated people may get mild or asymptomatic infection and therefore be able to pass the virus on - but any infection in a vaccinated person will be less severe and the person will be contagious for a shorter period of time.
  • You can still carry the virus on your body and clothes if you come into contact with it, meaning you could still infect others once you have been vaccinated.
  • You therefore still need to follow your workplace guidance, including wearing the correct personal protection equipment (PPE) and taking part in any screening programmes.

Pregnancy, breastfeeding and fertility

If you are pregnant, or think you might be, you can have the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine. You will be invited when your age group are offered it, or earlier if you have a health condition or reason that means you're eligible.

It's preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. This is because they've been more widely used during pregnancy in other countries and have not caused any safety issues.

When you are offered a vaccine, speak to your GP surgery to arrange an appointment. This is to make sure you go to a vaccination centre offering the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.

More information

  • Potential vaccination benefits are particularly important for some pregnant women. This includes those who are at very high risk of catching the infection or those with clinical conditions that put them at high risk of suffering serious complications from COVID-19. Pregnant women should discuss this with their nurse or doctor.
  • COVID-19 vaccines do not contain live coronavirus, nor do they contain any additional ingredients that are harmful to pregnant women or their babies.
  • There is no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in breastfeeding or on breastfed infants. Despite this, COVID-19 vaccines are not thought to be a risk to breastfeeding infants, and the benefits of breast-feeding are well known. Because of this, national advice is that the vaccine can be had whilst breastfeeding.
  • There is no evidence to suggest the vaccine affects fertility, and no biologically plausible mechanism by which current vaccines would impact on women's fertility.

COVID-19 vaccination: a guide for women of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding

Allergies and the COVID-19 vaccine

If you have allergies it should not deter you from having the vaccine, especially if they are seasonal allergies.

  • People who receive the vaccine are monitored before leaving their appointment and can access medical care if they experience reactions.
  • However, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) advise on a precautionary basis that people with a significant history of allergic reactions do not receive the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

The bivalent vaccines, like all NHS COVID-19 vaccines, do not contain gelatine, eggs or any animal products and are suitable for halal and vegan diets.

People who have had COVID-19, had the flu vaccine or are unwell

If you have, or had, COVID-19

Wait a while before getting vaccinated.

  • It is not known how long any immunity may last.
  • Although naturally acquired immunity as a result of past infections provides some immunity, it is at a lower level and for a shorter time than if you have been vaccinated.
  • Wait at least 4 weeks after you had symptoms.
  • Or wait 4 weeks since your positive test if you didn't have any symptoms.
  • And wait until you have recovered from your COVID-19 infection.

If you have had the flu vaccine

This doesn't protect you from COVID-19.

  • If you are eligible for both vaccines, you should have them both.

If you are unwell

It is better to wait until you have recovered to have your vaccine, but try to have it as soon as possible.

  • You should not attend a vaccine appointment if you are waiting for a COVID-19 test due to symptoms or unsure if you are fit and well.

Information in British Sign Language

BSL video guide on COVID-19 vaccination for eligible adults

COVID-19 freephone helpline

If you have any questions about the vaccine please call the freephone number:
0800 456 1114 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

Find out more about the vaccine

Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines
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