Flu vaccination should be done at the same appointment the COVID-19 booster is given, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised.
Its interim guidance says that any potential COVID-19 booster programme should be offered in 2 stages.
Stage 1 will offer, as soon as possible from September, a third dose COVID-19 booster vaccine and the annual flu vaccine to:
- immunosuppressed people from 16 years upwards;
- older adults in residential care homes;
- all adults aged 70 and over;
- other adults aged 16 and over who are considered clinically extremely vulnerable;
- frontline health and social care workers.
Stage 2 should offer a third dose COVID-19 booster vaccine as soon as practicable after stage 1, with equal emphasis on deployment of the influenza vaccine where eligible, to:
- all adults aged 50 and over;
- adults aged 16 to 49 years who are in an influenza or COVID-19 at-risk group;
- adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals.
NHS England and NHS Improvement is awaiting further data from clinical trials over the summer so planning needs to be flexible. JCVI warns that the 2021 to 2022 influenza season in the UK could be up to 50% larger than typically seen.
Local systems are being asked to plan for a minimum of 40% of COVID-19 booster vaccination to a maximum of 75% through general practice. Up to 1,000 community pharmacy sites will also be invited to support phase 3 delivery.