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NHS issues last call for people to get fully protected ahead of the festive season

With vaccination figures across the region continuing to rise, the NHS has issued its last call for people to get fully protected before the Christmas holidays begin.

Anyone eligible for a free flu and/or COVID-19 vaccine this year is being urged to book their vaccination appointments now, to help protect themselves and others from getting seriously ill this winter.

In the last week more than 4,000 people a day, across the North East and North Cumbria, have taken up the offer of a free flu vaccine - bringing the number of people vaccinated against the virus to just under 900,000 since the vaccination campaign began.

Over 671,320 people have also received a COVID-19 boosters, with thousands more getting vaccinated every day.

Dr Neil O' Brien, medical director, North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB) said: "There are now only a few weeks left to get fully protected before Christmas - as the online seasonal offer for COVID-19 vaccines will come to an end on 15 December.

"Flu vaccines will still be available after this date but as we know that flu and COVID-19 levels are expected to peak around Christmas time I would strongly urge anyone, especially those people who are severely immunosuppressed or have respiratory health issues, and who have not yet come forward, to book both their vaccinations now.

"It can take up to two weeks for your body to build up maximum protection after getting vaccinated, so booking an appointment before 14 December will mean that you can be protected in time for the Christmas holidays".

Those eligible for a both free flu and COVID-19 vaccine include:

  • people aged 65 and over
  • care home residents
  • anyone in a clinical at-risk group, people who are immunosuppressed and their household contacts
  • pregnant women
  • people with learning disabilities
  • health and social care workers and carers


In addition, school age children will be offered flu vaccinations through their school age vaccination service and parents of 2- to 3-year-olds can get the flu vaccine, for their children, by calling their GP Practice.

Appointments for COVID-19 vaccinations will be available to book up to 14 December at many sites across the region.

Anyone eligible can book:

  • Via the National Booking Service 
  • through the NHS App
  • or by calling 119
  • by contacting the North East North Cumbria call centre if you are housebound or newly severely immunosuppressed - Email: necsu.immunosuppressedney@nhs.net or Tel: (0191) 486 2001 Monday to Friday 9am till 4pm.

Limited walk-in vaccination availability is also listed at Find a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination site - NHS (www.nhs.uk)  and on the North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB) website at: https://northeastnorthcumbria.nhs.uk/our-work/workstreams/health-and-prevention/covid-19-and-flu-programme/covid-19-and-flu-walk-in-vaccination-clinics/

Flu vaccinations at local community pharmacies can be booked online at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/book-flu-vaccination/

"We know this is a very busy time of year with people putting up Christmas trees, shopping for gifts and preparing for the holidays," added Dr O'Brien.

"But it is also really important that everyone also looks after their health and getting both the flu and COVID-19 vaccinations now, if you are eligible, could stop the viruses spoiling your and your family's Christmas and New Year celebrations."

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