With seasonal events now in full swing across the borough, Julie Webster, Wirral’s Director of Public Health, is urging Wirral residents to play their part, do what they love, safely and Keep Wirral Well.
Flu and COVID-19 can both be life-threatening and spread more easily when it’s cold, and we are spending more time indoors with others. Without the nationwide lockdown that helped stop the spread last winter, this is the first time they will be circulating together.
Flu is unpredictable. Different flu strains are present each year – and this winter, we have lower protection because of low levels of flu in 2020. We also know that people infected with both COVID-19 and flu are at a greater risk of dying.
Julie Webster, Wirral’s Director of Public Health said, “So, if you are eligible, I strongly encourage you to get your flu jab and any COVID-19 vaccine doses that you are due to have – including all-important boosters.
“Following COVID-19 jabs, immunity decreases over time – going down to between 40-60% in the five months after your second jab. New research has shown that booster doses effectively reinstate immunity to over 90%!
“Recently, we have seen COVID-19 cases in the 40-49 age group rise significantly – and at one point even overtaking 10–19 year-olds as having the highest rate in Wirral.
“The good news is, if you are over 40, you will now be automatically eligible for the third booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine – 6 months after your second dose. ”
Who can have a COVID-19 Booster vaccine?
Those who are eligible for a COVID-19 booster (and have had their second vaccine at least six months ago) include:
- all adults aged 40 years or over
- those living in residential care homes for older adults
- frontline health and social care workers
- all those aged 16 to 39 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 and adult carers
- adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals
Most people who can get a COVID-19 booster vaccine are also eligible for a free annual flu vaccine. If you are offered both vaccines, it’s safe to have them at the same time.
Still on the fence?
If you haven’t had your first or second COVID-19 jab – it’s not too late!
According to recent data, while most locals have had theirs, more than 50,000 eligible people in Wirral are not vaccinated against COVID-19. If you’re one of them, book now to help protect yourself against serious illness or hospitalisation.
If you’re still undecided about getting vaccinated for your own sake, please spare a thought for those who don’t have that luxury. People with compromised immune systems, such as those undergoing cancer treatment, need others to get vaccinated to help reduce the spread and protect them from getting very unwell and even dying.
Don’t forget there is still a chance you could get or pass on flu and COVID-19, even after you have had all your jabs. Continue to wear a face-covering in enclosed spaces, wash your hands regularly and open windows to encourage airflow – to protect yourself and others.
You should keep on testing regularly - especially before meeting anyone who could be more at risk to COVID-19 or flu or attending an event– to stop the infection from spreading and Keep Wirral Well.