Winter vaccines for older people

Fact sheet
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British Geriatrics Society
Date Published:
11 Jan 2023
Last updated: 
11 January 2023

This winter, respiratory illnesses, including COVID and flu, are prevalent across the NHS affecting both older people and the healthcare professionals who care for them. It is important for both older people and healthcare professionals to be vaccinated to give them the best chances of staying well. Below we have outlined the current eligibility for the COVID and flu vaccines. 

Please note: The information below was current and correct at time of publishing (please see 'last updated' date in the heading of this page). If you are a member of the public and unsure which vaccine(s) you are eligible to receive and whether they are available in your area, please speak to your GP or other healthcare provider. 
  • Everyone aged 5 and over is eligible to a first and second dose of the COVID vaccine. 
  • Everyone aged 16 and over is eligible to a first booster dose. 
  • A seasonal booster ('Autumn' booster) is currently available to those who are: 
    • Aged 50 and over 
    • A frontline health and social care worker 
    • Pregnant 
    • Aged 5 and over and is high risk or lives with someone who is high risk 
    • Aged 16 and over and is a carer 

More information about eligibility for the COVID vaccines can be found here:  

The following groups are eligible to a free flu vaccine through the NHS: 

  • Those aged 50 and over 
  • Those aged over 18 with a serious long-term health condition 
  • Those aged over 18 who are pregnant 
  • Those aged over 18 who are in long-stay residential care 
  • Those aged over 18 who receive Carers’ Allowance or are the main carer for an older or disabled person 
  • Those aged over 18 who live with someone who is more likely to get a severe infection (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant, or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis) 
  • Frontline health and social care staff 

Adults who are not eligible for a free flu vaccine may be able to access one through their employer. Alternatively, adults can pay for the flu vaccine through many high street pharmacies. 

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