CARE home residents and staff across Tameside have been receiving their new variant-tackling seasonal Covid-19 booster vaccination.
People aged 65 and over, those with a weakened immune system and housebound people and pregnant women are now able to book their own appointment for the new-style booster which targets more recent variants of Covid-19. Those aged 50 and over will be invited at a later date.
In Tameside, vaccines are delivered by GP led hubs based on Primary Care Networks (PCN) - groups of GP practices within the areas around Ashton, Hyde, Denton and Stalybridge.
Patients will be invited to book a slot for their COVID-19 booster at a PCN clinic, as long as it has been three months since their last dose. Invitations will go out by text message or letter, when the time is right. Those registered with a GP practice in Denton, Hyde and Stalybridge PCN can book their appointment through the Local Booking Service online at www.tamesideandglossop.nhsvaccinations.co.uk or by calling 0161 368 5426 (for Denton call 0730 640 3262). Ashton patients will be able to book their slot using the National Booking System online at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus-vaccination or by calling 119.
Those with weakened immune systems are already able to self-declare and attend walk-ins to make getting the extra protection as easy as possible. Health and care workers can also book through national booking services.
As with previous campaigns, those most at risk will be called forward first.
Tameside is also gearing up to begin its annual programme of flu vaccinations, which will be offered to more vulnerable groups first. The flu vaccination offers the best protection against flu which is serious and is a different virus to the common cold. The flu vaccine is the best protection for people and those around them. It's available for free to those most at risk.
Younger children, older people, those in clinical risk groups and pregnant women will be able to book an appointment for a flu vaccine at their GP practice or a pharmacy.
From mid-October 2022, people aged 50 to 64 years old that aren't in a clinical risk group, will also be able to get their free flu vaccine.
People may be able to get both vaccines at the same time, although if this is not possible then everyone eligible is urged to get the jabs separately but as quickly as they can.
Debbie Watson, Director of Population Health at Tameside Council, said: "Coronavirus is still here and the best way to protect yourself is to take up the offer of a free booster jab. If offered a flu jab at the same time, it is absolutely safe and effective to have both vaccinations together, including in pregnancy.
"All vaccines must go through the same regulatory approval process as any medicines to ensure they meet strict safety standards and offer high levels of protection. We are continuing to see lower levels of serious illness due to the efficiency of both these vaccinations."
The autumn Covid-19 booster and flu vaccination programmes are among a package of measures to prepare for winter as the health service in Greater Manchester continues to face record demand on its urgent and emergency care services.
Bed capacity is being ramped up, there will be more 999 and NHS 111 staff, and the integrated care system will work to ensure patients can be discharged from hospital back to their own home or into the community with appropriate support as soon as it is clinically appropriate to do so.