Leeds mayor urges people to get their free Covid and flu vaccinations as NHS officials warn against complacency
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The flu vaccine is available for free to more people than ever, with many adults, most children and all pregnant women now eligible for a free vaccination from the NHS. Health bosses say that getting both the flu and Covid vaccines will be especially important this year because more people are likely to get flu this winter and they are more likely to be seriously ill if they catch both viruses at the same time.
Those eligible for the Covid-19 booster include everyone aged 50 and over as well as people who are at higher risk from the virus due to a long-term condition or weakened immune system, including pregnant women. Frontline health and social care workers and unpaid carers are also being offered a top-up dose to help keep both them and the people they care for protected.
Speaking after receiving both vaccines, Coun Gettings said: “I am grateful that I have been able to receive my free flu and Covid jabs from the NHS ahead of the winter and I would urge anyone across Leeds who is eligible to do the same. It is so important that as a city we come together this winter to look out for each other and getting vaccinated, if you are eligible, is an important part of that.”
Coun Arif, Leeds City Council’s executive member for public health and active lifestyles, said it was important that everyone who is eligible takes up the offer of a booster jab.
“Vaccines remain a crucial way for people to keep themselves and those around them safe,” she said. “As a council we are working with partners across the city to ensure people are aware of the importance of the flu vaccine and Covid booster this winter and I must extend a sincere thanks to staff across Leeds who are working to ensure the effective delivery of both vaccines.”
Public health director Ms Eaton said most healthy people would just need rest if they caught flu but it can prove very serious for people with underlying health conditions, people with learning disabilities, pregnant women or the elderly.
She said that taking up the officer of vaccines would not only protect people from infection, but would also help to reduce pressure on the NHS and social care staff who might have to look after those who fall ill.
Sam Prince, who leads the Covid vaccination programme in Leeds, added: “We must not be complacent. Infections are rising once again this winter, and the double threat of widely circulating flu and Covid-19 this year is a real concern.”