Leeds urged to get boosted this winter

The Lord Mayor of Leeds has urged residents across the city to check if they are eligible for the free flu jab or COVID booster this winter.

Ahead of the winter months the Lord Mayor of Leeds was joined by Cllr Salma Arif, Leeds City Council’s executive member for Public Health and Active Lifestyles and Victoria Eaton, Leeds’ Director of Public Health to receive their free vaccinations.

The flu vaccine is available for more people than ever this year, with many adults, most children, and all pregnant women now eligible for a free vaccination from the NHS. It’s an easy way to make sure that you and those around you are protected from serious illnesses this winter.

Those eligible for the COVID-19 booster includes everyone aged 50 and over and people 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 the vital top-up dose to help keep both them and the people they care for protected.

Getting both vaccines will be especially important this year because more people are likely to get flu this winter and people are more likely to be seriously ill if they get flu and COVID-19 at the same time.

Speaking after receiving both vaccines, the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Robert W Gettings MBE JP, 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.”

Leeds City Council’s director of public health, Victoria Eaton said:  “For most healthy people, flu symptoms can make you feel exhausted and unwell, and you have to stay at home and rest until you get better, but for people with underlying health conditions, people with learning disabilities, pregnant women or the elderly, the virus can be very serious.

“The vaccine is offered to those most at risk of serious illness because we know that they need it to stay well during the flu season. This year with COVID-19 still circulating, it is more important than ever that people take up the offer of both vaccines to protect them from infection of the flu or COVID virus; it will also help to reduce pressure on the NHS and social care staff who may be dealing with COVID-19 and flu.”

Sam Prince, who leads the Covid-19 vaccination programme in Leeds, said: “Vaccines have saved many lives over the years for both flu and more recently COVID-19. But 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, so it’s really important people get both their COVID-19 and flu vaccines if you are offered them. Vaccines are the best way to protect yourself from serious illness and will help reduce pressure on the healthcare system.

“If you have been offered a flu vaccination or COVID-19 booster you should book in as soon as possible and with more vaccination centres than ever before this year, they are quick, convenient and will provide vital protection this winter.”

Councillor Salma Arif, Leeds City Council’s executive member for public health and active lifestyles, has also received her vaccinations. She said:

“It is so important that everyone across Leeds’ who is eligible gets boosted this winter, vaccines remain a crucial way for people across Leeds to keep themselves and those around them safe this winter.

“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.”

For more information on eligibility and where you can receive the free flu or COVID vaccine this year, please visit nhs.uk/wintervaccinations.

You can also book a COVID booster at www.nhs.uk/get-vaccine or for details of local walk-in clinics, please visit www.healthandcareleeds.org/health/coronavirus/covid-19-vaccine/walk-in-clinics/

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