There are some things you can do to help yourself stay well in winter. This includes getting your flu and COVID-19 vaccinations. Here is the NHS’s latest advice on this subject:
Flu and COVID-19 vaccinations
It’s important to get your seasonal flu and COVID-19 vaccinations if you’re at higher risk of getting seriously ill from these illnesses.
Who should have the flu and COVID-19 vaccines
You may be able get the NHS flu and COVID-19 vaccines if you:
- are aged 65 or over (including those who will be 65 by 31 March 2024)
- have certain health conditions or a learning disability
- are pregnant
- live with someone who has a weakened immune system
- are a carer
- are a frontline health or social care worker
- live in a care home
Most children can get the children’s flu vaccine. This includes children who were aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2023, school-aged children (Reception to Year 11) and children with certain health conditions.
How to get the flu vaccine
If you’re eligible for an NHS flu vaccine, you can:
- contact your GP surgery to book an appointment
- find a pharmacy that offers NHS flu vaccination (if you’re aged 18 or over)
- book a flu vaccination appointment online or in the NHS App (if you’re aged 18 or over)
Some people may be able to get vaccinated through their maternity service, care home or their employer if they are a frontline health or social care worker.
You do not have to wait for an invitation before booking an appointment.
How to get the COVID-19 vaccine
If you’re eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, you can:
If you’re 65 or over, you’re also eligible for the pneumococcal vaccine, which will help protect you from pneumonia. Ask your GP surgery.
Who’s most at risk from cold weather?
Some people are more vulnerable to the effects of cold weather. This includes:
- people aged 65 and older
- babies and children under the age of 5
- people on a low income (so cannot afford heating)
- people who have a long-term health condition
- people with a disability
- pregnant women
- people who have a mental health condition
Get advice if you feel unwell
If you’re 65 or over, or in one of the other at-risk groups, it’s important to get medical help as soon as you feel unwell.
You can get help and advice from:
- a pharmacy – pharmacists can give treatment advice for a range of minor illnesses and can tell you if you need to see a doctor
- your GP – you may be able to speak to a GP online or over the phone, or go in for an appointment if they think you need to
- NHS 111 – go to 111.nhs.uk or call 111 if you have an urgent medical problem and you are not sure what to do
The sooner you get advice, the sooner you’re likely to get better.
In an emergency, go to A&E immediately or call 999.