Local people are supporting the call to protect themselves against a predicted winter COVID-19 outbreak with a long queue forming outside Grimsby’s vaccine walk-in clinic.
Health chiefs in North East Lincolnshire joined those having their boosters at Open Door, on Albion Street, in urging all those eligible to have theirs when called. The health centre is next having a walk-in session on Wednesday, 12 October from 4pm until 7pm. For details of that and other walk-ins in our region go to www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-walk-in-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-site
Professor Derek Ward, Director of Public Health for North East Lincolnshire and Greater Lincolnshire, said levels in the borough are currently low but are on the way up and protecting against both COVID-19 and flu is very important.
“We expect to see a wave of COVID during October/November and possibly another in January,” said Professor Ward.
“There’s also the risk of us being hit with a wave of flu cases at the same time so it’s particularly important people take up the offer of vaccinations as soon as they are invited by the NHS. Please also remember the basics – hands, face, space and fresh air. They protect against COVID, flu and lots of other nasty viruses,” he added.
He was supported by local GP and clinical lead of the health and care partnership in North East Lincolnshire, Dr Ekta Elston.
“This winter, we need you to keep doing everything you can to keep each other safe,” she said.
“Health and care services in North East Lincolnshire, like everywhere, are already extremely busy. We do expect to see more cases of COVID-19 in the coming weeks as people mix freely again and spend more time indoors as the weather gets colder. The risk of catching COVID-19 is highest indoors and in crowded places. More people are likely to get flu this winter as fewer people will have built up natural immunity to it during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You can help though. Your actions during the pandemic made an enormous difference and we need people to look out for each other in the same way again.”
People over 65 are currently being offered COVID-19 boosters and at Open Door to help administer the vaccines earlier this week was Hannah Nadin, the Head of Urgent Care at the Care Plus Group.
“We all appreciated how important it is to keep the population vaccinated and how we must all look at prevention and not cure. I and others are certainly happy to help,” she said.
In the queue and ready for his booster vaccine was 65-year-old Stephen Thornton. A Grimsby Town fan for 60 years, Stephen knows the importance of joining the army of GTFC fans and other eligible people who will be receiving their booster jabs.
“Having these vaccines is a no-brainer, and I would say 100 per cent that we should all have them,” he said.
Immingham couple Malcolm and Wendy Futers added: “The more people who get their vaccines and boosters the more people are protected, it’s as simple as that.”
And for Irene Wood and Dianne Davies, pictured, there was one short message: “We are here so we can be safe.”
How to keep yourself safe this winter.
The risk of catching Covid-19 and flu this winter is severe. Both flu and COVID-19 can be life-threatening. Getting flu and COVID-19 at the same time increases the risk of serious illness, especially for older people or people of all ages who already have health conditions.
Even if you are fit and healthy, you can still catch these viruses and spread them to the people around you. Some of the people you meet may be at greater risk and it’s easy to pass these viruses on without knowing.
- make sure you’re fully vaccinated against COVID or get your seasonal booster if eligible
- have a flu jab this year
- wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser regularly
- Catch a sneeze or cough in a tissue and dispose of it in the bin or flush it
- open doors and windows to let fresh air in when meeting people inside
- consider wearing a face covering in crowded indoor places
- keep an eye on more vulnerable friends, relations or neighbours
- touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
- visit older or vulnerable people if you’re poorly (this includes if you have sickness and diarrhoea)
Remember, while there are cases of COVID-19 about, there’s still a risk you can catch it or pass it on, even if you’re fully vaccinated or you’ve had the virus before.
People aged 65 and over, pregnant women, carers, front line health and care workers, care home residents and people of all ages who have a weakened immune system or live with someone who has can get a seasonal COVID booster. The booster will be offered soon to everyone aged 50 and over and they will be invited by the NHS when it is their turn. For more details about the Covid booster, please see A guide to the COVID-19 autumn booster – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
The Covid-19 boosters are highly effective at increasing immunity and, offering a further dose to those at higher risk of severe illness this autumn, will significantly reduce the risk of hospitalisations and deaths over the winter.
Most of the groups above will also be offered a free flu jab including frontline health staff and staff employed by the following types of social care providers without employer led occupational health schemes: a registered residential care or nursing home; registered domiciliary care provider; a voluntary managed hospice provider; Direct Payment (personal budgets) or Personal Health Budgets, such as Personal Assistants.
Younger people with some long term health conditions will be offered a free NHS flu jab and as will everyone aged 50 and over from mid October. The NHS will announce when this is available.
You can find out about flu jab eligibility by visiting Flu vaccine – NHS (www.nhs.uk).
Flu jabs are also available at cost (usually around £16 or less) at community pharmacies or your employer may provide one.
Depending on their age and school year, your child may be offered a free flu vaccine. Children can catch and spread flu easily. It can be a very unpleasant illness for children. It can also lead to serious problems, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Vaccinating them also protects others who are vulnerable to flu, such as babies and older people. You can find out more at www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/child-flu-vaccine/.
The best time to have the flu vaccine is in the autumn or early winter before flu starts spreading. But you can get the vaccine later.
If you have an appointment for a COVID-19 booster vaccine at a GP surgery or pharmacy, you may also be offered a flu vaccine at the same time. This is safe but you don’t have to have them at the same time. Do not delay booking your flu vaccine appointment so that you can get both vaccines together. Only some people will be offered both vaccines at the same time.