On Monday (24 October), a new countrywide marketing campaign encouraging millions of eligible individuals to acquire their flu and COVID-19 booster shots to increase their immunity will commence, as nearly 10 million people in England have already got boosters.
Ads will air on television, radio, social media, and digital platforms, emphasizing the necessity of receiving both immunizations to boost winter protection.
There will also be targeted messages for those with long-term health issues, pregnant women, and ethnic minority communities, with an emphasis on those with low vaccine confidence, and examples of instances in the past where vaccination rates were low.
By Monday, it is predicted that more than 10 million people in England will have had their COVID-19 autumn booster, with 49.5% of those 65 and older receiving their flu shot to protect them from serious illness throughout the winter.
Recent COVID-19 statistics indicate a continuation of elevated case and hospitalization rates.
Flu cases have increased rapidly during the previous week, indicating that the season has begun earlier than usual. This is resulting in greater burden on emergency rooms, with hospitalization and intensive care unit admission rates growing most rapidly among children under 5 years old.
Thérèse Coffey, Deputy Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, received her fall boost this week and urged individuals eligible to take advantage of the offer as soon as possible, stating:
The fall COVID booster and influenza vaccine campaigns are in full swing. Vaccines are our best defense against both viruses and will assist in keeping people out of the hospital this winter.
While approximately 10 million people, including myself, have already been immunized, we are actively urging everyone eligible to have both shots as soon as possible through our new marketing effort.
Vaccination rates are currently lower than last season for pre-schoolers (12.1% in all 2 year olds and 12.8% in all 3 year olds), pregnant women (12.4%), and those under the age of 65 in a clinical risk category (18.2%).
Vaccines are the best defense against both viruses and will reduce the number of individuals requiring hospital treatment, so relieving pressure on the National Health Service.
Dr. Thomas Waite, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, stated:
The limits put in place to prevent the spread of COVID and protect the NHS last year also prevented the influenza virus from spreading as expected, thus the population’s immunity levels are likely relatively low.
Flu has begun to circulate at low levels, primarily among children and young adults. As winter approaches, we can anticipate an increase in flu and COVID cases across all age categories. Getting vaccinated against both viruses is the most critical thing you can do to lower your risk of developing a severe illness. If eligible, please receive your vaccinations as soon as possible; it is essential to be protected before any winter outbreaks begin.
Dr. Mary Ramsay, Director of Immunisations at the UK Health Security Agency, stated, “The most recent data confirms our predictions, and a challenging winter is anticipated.
This year, we encourage individuals to view COVID-19 and flu vaccinations as equally crucial; both will deliver a “boost” this winter. Over time, the protection afforded by the COVID-19 vaccination diminishes, and boosting immunity will enhance protection against new strains.
Millions of individuals have received vaccinations to date, notably older age groups who remain at risk for serious illness and death from both diseases. Having both immunizations will safeguard you and the health care system, allowing us to continue treating people with various problems.
You may come into touch with influenza or COVID-19 tomorrow, so I recommend all eligible individuals to schedule their vaccination as soon as possible.
Steve Russell, director of immunizations and screening for the NHS, stated:
The NHS fall booster campaign has vaccinated twice as many individuals as it did at this point last year, with over 10 million people having received their COVID-19 booster shots.
There is evidence of rising levels of COVID and influenza infections in the community and care homes; therefore, it is imperative that everyone eligible receives vaccinations prior to what will be a very difficult winter. Getting vaccinated has never been easier, so make an appointment without delay.
Building on the success of the 2021 to 2022 COVID-19 vaccination campaign, this year’s campaign will emphasize that the protection conferred by vaccines diminishes over time, therefore all eligible individuals should enhance their immunity by receiving both vaccines prior to the onset of a challenging winter.
The advertisements use blue (flu) and yellow (COVID-19) halos to depict the protection provided by the respective vaccines. They will air on TV, VOD, radio, social media, and digital outlets. Information on digital channels that is highly targeted and engaging will help to emphasize the necessity of increasing your immunity in advance of a severe winter by scheduling vaccinations early.
The NHS Winter Vaccines chatbot will return, assisting those searching for the correct information online. This rapid online dialogue tool was initially built to complement last winter’s campaign and provides a centralized repository of reliable NHS information in response to frequently requested queries.
Teams of campaign ambassadors will engage in multicultural community activities with a variety of ethnic groups who are typically more vaccine-hesitant. This will occur nationwide in high-traffic houses of worship and nearby community settings. Unique social media content and radio advertisements will reinforce essential messaging.
Approximately 33 million people are eligible for the influenza vaccine, while 26 million are eligible for the COVID-19 booster.