HEALTH leaders in St Helens are inviting all those over 50 years of age to get protected this winter by getting their Covid-19 autumn booster vaccine as well as their annual flu and pneumonia jab, if eligible.

Earlier this month, the autumn Covid-19 booster rollout expanded to include all over 50s.

It is also available for those previously eligible for the jab including frontline health and social care workers, care home and housebound residents, anyone who is pregnant, carers aged 16 or over, and those aged 5 and over who have a weakened immune system or who live with someone at high risk from Covid-19.

Anyone now eligible can have their autumn booster if it has been 3 months or more since their previous Covid-19 vaccine dose.

For anyone who has missed their first or second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, the offer to get these jabs is still available through the NHS national booking service.

What health chiefs are saying

Dr Hilary Flett, local GP and Clinical Director for St Helens at NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, said: “As with previous vaccination rollouts, the NHS is focusing on delivering the jabs to those most at risk first, to get them up to date protection ahead of the winter period and to save lives.

“Covid-19 is still very much with us in St Helens and the protection we get from the vaccines needs to be topped up to keep us safe from serious illness, so it’s just as important to get your autumn booster when eligible, as it is to get any other doses of the vaccine you may have missed.

“You can also visit the Living Well Covid-19 vaccination bus which again be visiting St Helens town centre on Church Street outside Boots, on Tuesday, November 2 from 10.30am for boosters and other primary doses.”

Flu jab and pneumonia vaccines

Those eligible for the autumn Covid booster are also likely to be eligible for a flu and pneumonia vaccination.

The jabs may need to be booked separately, but it is safe to get both flu and Covid vaccinations at the same time.

Ruth du Plessis, director of Public Health at St Helens Borough Council, said: “Now is a really good time to get your flu jab, before it starts to spread in the winter months.

"The flu vaccination is the best way to stop you getting the virus in the first place, and if you do catch it, the vaccine can protect you from getting seriously ill.

“Winter viruses are already circulating locally and, if unprotected, you could become seriously ill if you catch flu and Covid-19 at the same time, so if you’re eligible for both vaccines then don’t hesitate to get booked in.”

How to book Covid booster in St Helens

To book a Covid-19 autumn booster, anyone eligible can book an appointment at a vaccination centre or participating pharmacy in St Helens, or find a walk-in vaccination site nearby, by visiting the NHS website at:

The flu jab can be given at GP surgeries and participating pharmacies.

For more information, visit the NHS website at:

Anyone who has a Covid-19 infection or who is showing symptoms of the virus should wait until their symptoms are better before getting their jabs.

They should ideally wait: • 4 weeks (28 days) if you are aged 18 or over • 12 weeks (84 days) if you or your child are aged 5 to 17 • 4 weeks (28 days) if you or your child are aged 5 to 17 and at high risk from COVID-19, or live with someone who has a weakened immune system.