A nationwide advertising campaign is launched today (Friday, October 22) as part of the government’s appeal to the public for its COVID-19 recall and flu shots, to protect themselves and loved ones this winter.
The multimedia campaign will be broadcast on outdoor billboards, community broadcasts and radio and television to support the national immunization campaign.
Colder weather traditionally leads to increased transmission of viruses. Experts have warned that this year there could be a strong flu surge coinciding with the continuation or increase in COVID-19 cases. Immunity to influenza is expected to be lower due to declining levels of circulating virus last winter.
Vaccines offer high levels of protection, but immunity wanes over time, so it’s critical that vulnerable people show up for their COVID-19 booster vaccine to strengthen their defenses and protect themselves this winter. For those who are not eligible for a booster, the protection of two doses is sufficient.
Vaccines provide the best possible protection against infections and serious illnesses. The government is pushing the biggest winter vaccination campaign ever against COVID-19 and the flu, so people can protect themselves and their loved ones this winter and play their part in reducing the pressure on the NHS.
The campaign’s TV ad is hitting screens today asking people to “get vaccinated, get boosted, protect themselves.” It introduces Michelle, an NHS nurse, explaining the benefits of the flu shot and the COVID-19 booster vaccine. The new TV commercial will air in prime-time spots alongside Emmerdale and Coronation Street, as well as on daytime shows such as This Morning and Loose Women.
Targeted digital channels will also run campaign ads, including social media platforms, digital radio and online video like YouTube.
People will be invited for the COVID-19 reminder jab when it is their turn – if they haven’t been contacted within a week of their second jab, they can call 119 or book online. Those who are eligible for a free flu shot can make an appointment with their local doctor’s office or pharmacy.
The offer of a first and a second COVID-19 vaccine remains open to anyone who is eligible. Vaccines are available for 12-15 year olds to provide the best possible protection this winter in schools, and they will also be available at vaccination centers from this weekend.
This week, the country’s leading pharmacies joined forces to encourage people to come forward and get a free flu and COVID-19 booster shot when they are eligible. Along with independent pharmacists, Boots, LloydsPharmacy and Asda – which together have more than 4,000 pharmacies across the UK – have supported the call for people to get vaccinated for the best possible protection this winter.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Affairs Sajid Javid said:
Our immunization program is building a wall of defense across the country and our recall deployment is now well underway with over 4 million rounds of arms.
As winter approaches, it is essential that those eligible receive their booster shot and flu shot to protect themselves, their loved ones and the NHS.
This is a national mission and I am extremely grateful to the public, volunteers and NHS workers who are deploying jabs. It’s fantastic to see some of our biggest street pharmacies supporting the winter vaccination program. “
Confidence in the vaccine is high, data from the Office for National Statistics showing that almost all (94%) of people aged 50 to 69 say they would be likely to get their COVID-19 booster if they were available, the figure rising to 98% for the over 70s. Likewise, more than three-quarters (77%) of 50-69 year olds are likely to be vaccinated against the flu and almost all (94%) of over 70s .
Dr Raj Patel, general practitioner and deputy national medical director for primary care at NHS England, said:
The flu is a huge killer and last year GPs and pharmacists injected record numbers of people and as we head into what could be one of the toughest winters yet for the NHS , getting your flu shot and covid has never been more important.
The flu takes a serious toll on the health of thousands of people every winter and it has never been easier to make sure you are protected so I urge everyone to make an appointment directly with your GP. or your pharmacist as soon as possible. “
Mary Ramsay, head of immunization at the UK Health Security Agency, said:
This is the first winter that COVID-19 and seasonal flu are expected to circulate together, putting more lives at risk. Vaccines are important to protect against both diseases.
Please make an appointment if you are eligible for the flu shot, or get your COVID-19 booster as soon as prompted – which is due 6 months after a second dose. “
Michelle, the nurse featured in the ad, said:
As a frontline worker for the NHS, I have seen with my own eyes the devastating impact that Covid and the flu can have in winter. Vaccines offer the best protection and I hope this campaign will convey the importance of offering your vaccine. “
General practitioner and TV doctor Dr Dawn Harper said:
It is really important that if you are eligible to take advantage of the offer for the different vaccinations – this is both the flu shot and the COVID-19 booster – you do so.
Thousands of people die from the flu every year and this year we expect high levels to circulate as winter approaches. With the added threat of additional COVID-19 and our faltering immunity, it’s so vital that people are protected against these two deadly viruses.
It’s a huge effort and we need everyone to do their part in protecting themselves and those around them. You can get your COVID-19 booster and flu shots at vaccination centers, general practitioners, or community pharmacists, so be sure to make an appointment as soon as you are invited. “
Dr Leyla Hannbeck, Executive Director of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, said:
Community pharmacies are already on track to break last year’s flu shot record this season, showing patients want to protect themselves against the flu.
Pharmacies have courageously remained open throughout the pandemic despite the risks and are increasingly seen as the first port of call for community members to meet their basic health needs.
They provide accessibility and convenience for patients to get their flu shot. As winter approaches and with potentially higher cases of Covid, it is essential that all eligible patients get vaccinated. “
Marc Donovan, Chief Pharmacist at Boots, said:
Boots offers free NHS and private flu shots and is seeing high demand this year. We have already made over a million flu shot reservations to date, but there are still plenty of appointments available at our pharmacies across the UK.
Boots is also helping the NHS deliver COVID-19 booster shots this winter to select pharmacies, at the same time offering a free flu shot to all eligible patients. Having both vaccines provides optimal protection against serious illnesses caused by these viruses in the months to come. “
Victoria Steele, Superintendent Pharmacist at LloydsPharmacy, said:
It is very likely that we will see much higher levels of influenza virus transmission this winter. Immunity and protection are increasingly at the forefront of our concerns, and we have seen this through the high volume of influenza bookings at LloydsPharmacy this year and the increased sales of medicines for it. winter, as many are starting to take precautions as cold and flu season approaches. .
It is important that we all do what we can to protect ourselves and our loved ones this winter by receiving both the flu shot and the COVID booster shot, for those who are eligible. I encourage people to book as soon as possible, as it takes time for the body to develop its antibodies after any vaccine. You can make an appointment for a flu shot online or by visiting your local LloydsPharmacy. “