Those eligible for the flu vaccine are being urged to get it to help avoid additional pressure on the NHS this winter.
More people are being offered the vaccine this year due to the additional risk posed by Covid-19.
To handle the increased numbers, some people will be offered the vaccine in community hubs, walk-in or drive-through centres.
This provides a safe alternative to GP surgeries for many adults who are eligible and have received, or will receive, a letter in the coming weeks, to book a vaccination appointment.
As in previous years, local health teams will be deployed to primary schools to offer the vaccination to all primary school aged children.
Those living in and working in care homes, as well as people receiving care at home, and the elderly are all eligible for the free flu jab, with local NHS boards making arrangements for vaccinations to take place in the home.
Appointments will be staggered, with those most at risk prioritised.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nicola Steedman said: “This year, more than ever, it is important that you receive your flu vaccine if you are eligible.
“The way the flu vaccine is administered will be a little different for many people, given Covid-19 restrictions, and it may not be at a GP practice for some.
“Some people may be worried about the risks of going out to get their vaccination, but getting your flu vaccine is one of the most important reasons for leaving your home and strict infection prevention and control measures will be in place to protect you.
“The vaccine is safe and it’s the best way to help protect you from flu this winter. It only takes a few minutes to be vaccinated, and it helps to provide protection from flu for around a year.
“Flu is serious and with Covid-19 still circulating in the community there is increased risk to life if you are ill with both viruses simultaneously, therefore we all need to play our part to keep ourselves as healthy as possible over the winter months. Flu vaccination is a big part of that.”
Invitations have been sent to two of those groups, parents of those aged two to five-years-old and those aged 65 and over, inviting them to make an appointment.
From October, further letters will be sent to priority groups including:
– All primary school children
– Anyone with an eligible health condition
– Pregnant women
– Healthcare workers
– Unpaid and young carers
– Those living in the same home as people previously shielding from coronavirus
– Social care workers who provide direct personal care
– From December, those aged 55 to 64 (by 31 March 2021) who would not usually be eligible will also be offered the flu vaccine.