THE countdown is on to book flu and Covid-19 vaccinations as the national booking system is set to close.

A final call for eligible people to come forward for their flu and Covid-19 vaccinations is being made by the NHS in Hampshire before the national booking system closes on December 14.

Across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, more than 485,000 Covid-19 vaccinations have been delivered to those eligible since September this year, including people aged 65 and over and frontline health and social care workers.

There are still more than 38,000 appointments available, but the NHS’s national booking system, NHS App and 119 phone service will close for flu and Covid-19 vaccine bookings from 15 December.

This makes 14 December the last day to make a booking.

After this date, it will still be possible for those eligible to book their vaccinations through local NHS vaccination services, however, there will be fewer flu and Covid-19 appointments, and you may need to travel further.

Dr Matt Nisbet, GP and clinical lead for the Covid-19 vaccination programme for the NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board, said: “It’s great news that thousands of people have now been vaccinated against COVID-19 and flu across our area.

“However, there is still time for others who are eligible to come forward so please do take advantage of booking online between now and the 14 December.”

People can continue booking the Covid-19 vaccine through local services until January 31, and flu jabs will continue to be given until the end of March.

Dr Nisbet added: “Getting vaccinated is the best way for people to ensure they and their families are protected against flu and Covid-19 this Christmas when the viruses spread more easily as people spend more time indoors. “It takes about two weeks following vaccination to build up the maximum defences against the viruses, so it’s important to book in as soon as you can.

“It is crucial to get this protection, even if you have had a vaccine or been ill with flu or Covid before, as immunity fades over time and the viruses change each year.”

Although the 119 service, which provides booking support for those unable to access online services, will close for bookings on December 15, it will continue answering queries until December 22.

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Covid vaccination helpline will also remain open to respond to any queries.

The helpline number is 0300 561 0018 and is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm and Saturday and Sunday 9am to 1pm.

If you are experiencing cold and flu symptoms on the day of your vaccinations, it's advisable to rebook your appointment for when you are well.

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