Flu & COVID-19 vaccines brought forward to September 11th 2023

The Flu and COVID-19 vaccine programmes will start earlier than planned this year, on September 11th, because of the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant, BA.2.86.

This is a precautionary measure as BA.2.86 is not currently classified as a variant of concern, but advice from UK Health Secretary Agency suggests that speeding up the autumn vaccine programme will give greater protection, supporting those at greatest risk of severe illness and reducing the potential impact on the NHS. Health secretary Maria Caulfield explained,

"As our world-leading scientists gather more information on the BA.2.86 variant, it makes sense to bring forward the vaccination programme...It is absolutely vital the most vulnerable groups receive a vaccine to strengthen their immunity over winter to protect themselves and reduce pressure on the NHS."

Flu and COVID-19 vaccines will be offered together

The annual flu vaccine will also be made available at the same time, wherever possible, to ensure people are protected ahead of winter.

Specific groups to be offered the booster vaccine from September 11th 2023 are (as outlined by the The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation)
    • residents in a care home for older adults
    • all adults aged 65 years and over
    • persons aged 6 months to 64 years in a clinical risk group, as laid out in the Immunisation Green Book, COVID-19 chapter (Green Book). (Please note, this applies to all people with MDS and CMML).
    • frontline health and social care workers
    • persons aged 12 to 64 years who are household contacts (as defined in the Green Book) of people with immunosuppression
    • persons aged 16 to 64 years who are carers (as defined in the Green Book) and staff working in care homes for older adults.

For more information from gov.uk

NHS England will announce full details of the accelerated roll-out soon, and those who fall into higher-risk groups are being encouraged to take up the jab as soon as they’re invited. For more detail, follow the link to the official press release from gov.uk 

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