I have always loved autumn and we are heading into it with a vengeance. However while Keats may have had it down as the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” in the early 21st century the colder mornings are also a reminder for those eligible to get prepared for winter!
The colder weather brings with it the glorious evolution into reds and browns of the Weald autumnal landscape but also heralds the arrival of the flu season and increased risk of Covid.
Australia and New Zealand have experienced their most rampant winter flu season for many years which is often a leading indicator globally.
Alongside this, Covid cases are also on the rise in the UK and the NHS Director for Vaccinations and Screenings advised that this winter could be the first time we see the “twindemic” of both Covid and flu in full circulation.
Those eligible should be aware that Covid boosters and flu vaccines are both available this autumn.
Those eligible for the Covid booster are:
- adults aged 50 and over,
-people aged five to 49 with health conditions which put them at higher risk,
- care home staff,
- front line health and social care workers,
- carers aged 16-49,
- households contacts of people with weakened immune systems.
The NHS will be in touch with those eligible for a Covid vaccine on a rolling basis during the autumn.
Those eligible for a free flu vaccine are:
- adults aged 65 and over,
- those with certain health conditions,
- pregnant women
- those in long-stay residential care
- those in receipt of carer’s allowance
- household contacts of people with weakened immune systems
- front line health and social care workers
Those not eligible for a free flu vaccine who wish to do so can pay for one, with many of our local pharmacies offering this service.
I know our local GP practices have started running Covid booster and flu vaccine clinics, including the great team at Christ’s Hospital and we remain indebted to the volunteers at Christs Hospital and elsewhere who are continuing to help deliver an invaluable programme.