Tameside gets bitten!

Residents and staff at CARE homes in Tameside have received their new seasonal Covid-19 booster vaccination.

People aged 65 and over, those with weakened immune systems, people confined to their homes and pregnant women can now book their own appointment for the encore of a new style that targets newer variants of Covid-19. People aged 50 and over will be invited later.

In Tameside, vaccines are administered by GP-led centers based on Primary Care Networks (PCNs) – clusters of GP practices in areas around Ashton, Hyde, Denton and Stalybridge.

Patients will be asked to book a slot for their COVID-19 booster at a PCN clinic, provided three months have passed since their last dose. Invitations will be sent by SMS or letter when the time comes. People registered with a GP practice in Denton, Hyde and Stalybridge PCN can book their appointment via the local online booking service at www.tamesideandglossop.nhsvaccinations.co.uk or by calling 0161 368 5426 ( for Denton call 0730 640 3262). Ashton patients will be able to book their slot using the national online booking system at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus-vaccination or by calling 119.

People with compromised immune systems are already able to self-report and attend walk-in visits to make it as easy as possible to get the extra protection. Health and care workers can also book through national booking services.

As with previous campaigns, those most at risk will be called first.

Tameside is also preparing to launch its annual flu vaccination programme, which will first be offered to the most vulnerable groups. The flu shot provides the best protection against the flu, which is serious and is a different virus from the common cold. The flu vaccine is the best protection for people and those around them. It is available free of charge for those most at risk.

Young children, the elderly, people in clinical risk groups and pregnant women will be able to make an appointment for a flu shot with their GP or at a pharmacy.

From mid-October 2022, people aged 50 to 64 who are not in a clinical risk group will also be able to get the flu shot free of charge.

People may be able to get both vaccines at the same time, although if this is not possible, all eligible people are urged to receive the vaccines separately but as quickly as possible.

Debbie Watson, Director of Population Health at Tameside Council, said: “The coronavirus is still around and the best way to protect yourself is to accept the offer of a free reminder. If you are offered a flu vaccine at the same time, it is absolutely safe and effective to have both vaccines together, including during pregnancy.

“All vaccines must go through the same regulatory approval process as all drugs to ensure they meet strict safety standards and provide high levels of protection. We continue to see lower levels of severe disease due to the effectiveness of these two vaccinations.

The Covid-19 autumn booster and flu vaccination programs are part of a package of measures to prepare for winter as the Greater Manchester Health Service continues to face record demand from its emergency and urgent care services.

Bed capacity is being increased, there will be more 999 and NHS 111 staff, and the integrated care system will work to ensure patients can be discharged from hospital to their own homes or to the community with appropriate support as soon as clinically appropriate.

Lucas E. Kelly