Boost your immunity this winter
Looking after our health during winter is really important.
This winter, the NHS in North West London is reminding residents of the range of healthcare services available and providing information on how to boost your immunity with the flu vaccination and Covid-19 booster.
All the information on this page is featured in a leaflet that is available in English and in a range of other languages (all available at the bottom of this page).
You can also listen to local GP, Dr Steeden, talking through this information here. Please note since this video was recorded eligability for Covid boosters has chnaged - see NHS.uk for the very latest guidance.
Boost your immunity this winter with the flu jab
and Covid-19 booster vaccination.
Both flu and Covid-19 are serious illnesses and it is important to protect yourself against them this winter, by having both your Covid-19 and flu vaccinations.
This page provides more information about who is eligable for these vaccinations and answers some of the most frequantly asked questions asked.
Which vaccinations should I have this winter?
Everyone over 40, or those with a health condition that puts them at higher risk from Covid-19 is now *eligible for the Covid-19 booster vaccine and everyone over 50 is also eligable for a free flu vaccine. Both flu and Covid-19 are serious illnesses.
If you are in these groups, having both the Covid-19 vaccines including a booster vaccine and the flu jab is the best way to protect yourself this winter.
*For more information on eligibility and the vaccines visit:
I’ve had 2 doses of Covid-19 vaccine, why do I need a booster?
The Covid-19 booster will help improve your longer-term protection against getting seriously ill from Covid-19.
I’m fit and healthy, do I still need to get the flu vaccination?
Flu vaccination is important because more people are likely to get flu this winter as fewer people will have built up natural immunity to it during the Covid-19 pandemic. If you get flu and Covid-19 at the same time, research shows you're more likely to be seriously ill.
Getting vaccinated against flu and having your Covid-19 booster will provide protection for you and those around you for both these serious viruses.
Will the flu jab give me flu?
No, the flu jab cannot give you the flu. It is an inactivated vaccine, which means it does not contain any of the live flu virus. However, some people may experience mild flu-like symptoms as a side effect of the flu jab that will pass after a few days.
How do I get my vaccinations?
Everyone eligible for a flu and Covid-19 booster vaccinations will be contacted by the NHS and offered an appointment. If your second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine was more than six months ago you can go to the NHS booking website and book your booster.
Frontline health and social care workers will be invited to book an appointment through their employer.
Can I have both vaccines at the same time?
If you are offered both vaccines, it's safe to have them at the same time.
Is it still safe to get the flu jab if I’ve had Covid-19?
If you've had Covid-19, it's safe to have the flu vaccine. It will still be effective at helping to prevent flu.
I’m pregnant, will the flu jab or booster vaccine harm me or my baby?
No it won’t. Having both the flu and Covid-19 vaccine will help protect you and your baby. It's safe to have the vaccines at any stage of pregnancy.
Will the flu jab protect me from Covid-19?
No - Flu and Covid-19 are different viruses, requiring different vaccines to protect you from them.
I would like to know more about the vaccine for children
Please also visit our flu page where there is a section dedicated children's information on flu
Flu can be very serious in young children.
The nasal spray flu vaccine is free on the NHS for:
- children aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2021 – born between 1 September 2017 and 31 August 2019
- all primary school children (reception to year 6)
- all year 7 to year 11 children in secondary school
- children aged 2 to 17 years with long-term health conditions
If your child is aged between 6 months and 2 years and has a long-term health condition that makes them at higher risk from flu, they'll be offered a flu vaccine injection instead of the nasal spray.
This is because the nasal spray is not licensed for children under 2 years.
The nasal spray vaccine offers the best protection for children aged 2 to 17 years. They will be offered the flu vaccine injection if the nasal spray vaccine is not suitable for them.
More information on the vaccine for children can be found here: Child flu vaccine - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Ensuring you have the right information about the flu vaccination is important, there are some common myths, you will find these along with accurate NHS advice on our mythbuster page.
You can download in English and a range of languages below.
Please note eligability for Covid-19 boosters has changed
since these resources were created. All adults will be eligable for a booster see NHS.uk for timings.
This information is also summarised in a short video, currently available in the languages below.
Choosing the right NHS service for you
Accessing the most appopriate NHS service will ensure youget the right care when you need it.
The menus below provide more information about our services and how you can access them.
When you think you need A&E,
think NHS 111 first
Doctors, nurses, paramedics and fully trained advisors are available to help you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and will ensure you receive the right care in the right place, at the right time. If you need urgent care you can then be booked into your local A&E or urgent treatment centre, or if an alternative local service is more appropriate, NHS 111 clinicians can help you access it.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a life-threatening medical emergency, you should still attend A&E or call 999.
You can contact NHS 111 online at 111.nhs.uk or over the phone by calling 111.
Your GP can help you in-person,
online, or over the phone
If you need to speak to a GP or doctor, it is best to call your usual practice as they will have your medical records to hand and can provide help based on this.
If you need prescription medication, your GP practice can arrange for it to be collected at a pharmacy that is convenient for you.
Our GP practices offer phone appointments.
We want to reassure patients that our GPs can help many people over the phone without the need to come into the surgery, and if you do need to be seen face-to-face, you will be booked in for an appointment
Over the phone your GP can:
- assess you
- provide help & advice
- organise tests & prescriptions
- make a referral
- book you in to be seen face-to-face, if they need to see you.
GP appointments are available at evenings and weekends
Call your GP practice to book and get details of local appointments or call NHS 111.
More information on GP services at evenings and weekends can be found here.
If you need to speak to a GP or nurse, get a sick note or find out test results, don’t forget you can use the online consultation form on your GP practice's website. The secure form will be responded to quickly and may save you a phonecall to the practice.
Local pharmacists are there to
help with minor health concerns
Visiting your nearest pharmacy is a quick and convenient way to get clinical advice on minor health concerns.
Local pharmacists are qualified healthcare professionals who can help you manage minor illnesses, offer confidential discussions in a consultation room with no need for an appointment, or refer you to a GP or A&E if your symptoms suggest it’s something more serious.
If you have a serious or life threatening medical emergency,
call 999 or go to accident and emergency (A&E)
A&E departments are for seriously ill people with life-threatening conditions and will be very busy over the next few months. We encourage you to use alternative health services if it is not an emergency.
There are services available
to support with mental health
The NHS provides a range of talking therapies for people who feel anxious and worried or down and depressed. If you need help you can refer yourself, you don’t need to go to your GP first
If you need help for a mental health crisis or emergency,
you can get immediate help on our freephone lines from our trained mental health advisers and clinicians all day every day.
For residents in:
Ealing, Hounslow, Hammersmith and Fulham
Brent, Harrow, Hillingdon, Kensington &
(Central and North West London Foundation NHS Trust)
Self-care helps you to stay
as healthy and as independent as you can
On a day-to day basis, it's about making small lifestyle changes that can have a big effect on your wellbeing.
Self-care can be as simple as calling a friend for a chat, doing a bit of exercise or joining a lunch club. It is also about managing any conditions you have in a way that puts you in control and improves your quality of life.
Some simple things you can do:
Take a look at our five areas of well-being to get you started: Connect, Be Active, Give, Take Notice, Learn. You can also find out more more about improving your mental wellbeing on NHS.UK
Even a minor illness and ailments such as colds, headaches and diarrhoea can disrupt your life. Be prepared for most common ailments by keeping a well-stocked medicine cabinet at home.
Medications for these ailments can be bought at your local pharmacy, where you can also get advice.
Do make sure you always read the label before taking any medication.
NHS Health checks and screening
The NHS health check is your chance to get your free midlife MOT. For adults in England aged 40-74 without a pre-existing condition, it checks your circulatory and vascular health and what your risk of getting a disabling vascular disease is. This guide explains what happens at the check, when and how you get one, and how to lower your risk.
You will also be invited for regular cancer screening. Make sure you take an appoinmnt for screening when invited.