New vaccine campaign launches urging East Midlanders to boost their immunity this winter

Published on: Monday, 24th October 2022
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A new country-wide marketing campaign urging millions of eligible people to get their flu and Covid booster vaccines to top up their immunity launched on Monday 24th October, as almost 10 million people in England have already received their boosters.

Adverts will air across television, radio, social media and in prominent locations, stressing the importance of people getting both vaccines to increase their protection this winter.

Targeted communications for individuals with long term health conditions, pregnant women and ethnic minority communities, with a particular focus on those with low vaccine confidence, will also appear, and will include examples of where vaccine uptake rates have been low in the past.

More than 10 million people are expected to have received their Covid autumn booster in England by Monday, with 49.5% of those 65 and over getting their flu jab, helping protect against serious illness throughout the winter.

Latest Covid data has shown continued high rates of cases and hospitalisations in recent weeks.

Cases of flu have climbed quickly in the past week, indicating the season has started earlier than normal. This is leading to increased pressure on emergency departments with rates of hospitalisations and ICU admissions rising the fastest in children under 5.

Consultant in Health Protection, Anthony, McGinty at UK Health Security Agency, East Midlands, said: “Although rates of flu remain low it’s particularly important to get vaccinated for both flu and Covid-19, especially if you’re in a higher risk group. Our protection against these viruses needs topping up before winter as  Covid-19 vaccine protection decreases over time and the flu vaccine can change  each year to target the most common types circulating. Topping-up our immunity with vaccinations will help to boost protection against both of these infections.

The jabs are there to protect you and the rest of your family from a potentially very serious illness this winter and so I urge all those eligible in the East Midlands to come forward and have their jabs when offered.

We must also remember that washing our hands is essential to reduce the spread of virus’s such as flu and Covid-19. Wash your hands regularly throughout the day especially after being in crowded enclosed places and coughing/sneezing. If you feel unwell at all then stay at home and avoid contact with the elderly and those with underlying health conditions until you feel better.”

Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, Dr Thomas Waite said: “The restrictions we had in place to curb the spread of Covid and protect the NHS last year also prevented the flu virus from spreading as we would normally expect to see, so levels of immunity in the population are likely quite low. 

“Flu has started circulating at low levels mainly in children and younger people at the moment. As winter approaches, we can expect flu and COVID cases to rise in all age groups. Getting vaccinated against both viruses is the most important thing you can do to reduce your chances of getting seriously ill. If eligible please come forward for your jabs as soon as you can – it is important to be protected before any winter surges begin.”

NHS director for vaccinations and screening Steve Russell said: “Thanks to the efforts of staff, the NHS autumn booster programme has vaccinated twice as many people as it had at this stage last year with almost 10 million people getting their covid-19 boosters already.

“We are seeing evidence of increasing levels of covid and flu infections in the community and care homes, and so ahead of what will be a very challenging winter, it is vital that everyone eligible gets protected – it has never been easier to get your vaccines so book in without delay.”

Building on the success of the 2021/22 Covid vaccination campaign, this year’s campaign will stress that the protection provided by vaccines wanes over time, so everyone eligible should boost their immunity by getting both vaccines ahead of a difficult winter.

The adverts use blue (flu) and yellow (Covid) halos to represent the protection both vaccines provide. They will run on TV, video on demand, radio and prominent out of home spaces. Highly targeted, eye-catching information on digital channels will help to reiterate the importance of boosting your immunity ahead of a difficult winter by booking jabs early.

The NHS Winter Vaccines chatbot will return, helping to guide those who are searching online for the right information. This instant online conversation tool was first developed to support last winter’s campaign and answers FAQs with trusted NHS information in a single place.

Multicultural community activity will see teams of campaign ambassadors engage with a range of different ethnic groups who tend to be more vaccine hesitant. This will take place across the country in high footfall places of worship and nearby community settings. Dedicated print and radio adverts and unique social media material will reinforce key messages.

Around 33 million people are eligible for the flu vaccine and 26 million people are eligible for the COVID-19 booster.

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