Vaccines are vital for protecting the population of Kent and Medway; vaccines are the best defence we have against viruses including flu, Covid-19, meningitis, and measles, mumps and rubella.

Eligible residents are encouraged to protect themselves by making sure they are up-to-date with all their vaccinations.

Vaccines are extremely safe. All vaccines must go through the same regulatory approval process as any medicines to make sure they meet strict safety standards and offer high levels of protection.

The Covid-19 vaccination programme is now in its third autumn season. Vaccination helps to protect against severe illness, hospitalisations and deaths from Covid-19.

All those eligible are urged to join the millions of others who have taken up their free vaccine offer to get winter strong – don’t put it off, book your appointment today and protect yourself against the risk of severe illness.

The national booking system closes for Covid-19 vaccine appointment bookings on Friday, 15 December.

After this date, you can still have your Covid-19 vaccine at a walk in clinic or pharmacy.

JCVI advises the following groups be offered a Covid-19 booster vaccine this autumn:

  • residents in a care home for older adults
  • all adults aged 65 years and over
  • those aged six months to 64 years in a clinical risk group
  • frontline health and social care workers
  • people aged 12 to 64 years who are household contacts of people with immunosuppression
  • people aged 16 to 64 years who are carers and staff working in care homes for older adults.

If you need further clarification, please contact the Covid Vaccination Team, email

Flu vaccines are safe and effective. They're offered every year on the NHS to help protect people at risk of flu and its complications.

The best time to have a flu vaccine is in the autumn before flu starts spreading. But you can get vaccinated later.

You can have an NHS flu vaccine at:

  • your GP surgery
  • a pharmacy offering the service (if you're aged 18 or over)
  • some maternity services if you're pregnant
  • catch-up community clinics (for children). 

The children's nasal spray flu vaccine is given to:

  • children aged two or three on 31 August 2023 (born between 1 September 2019 and 31 August 2021)
  • all primary school children (Reception to Year 6)
  • all secondary school children (Year 7 to Year 11)
  • children aged two to 17 with certain long-term health conditions.

Babies and children aged six months to two years with certain health conditions will be offered a flu vaccine injection instead of the nasal spray.

Find out more and book a community clinic for children aged two or three, primary school children and secondary school children.

You are eligible for flu and Covid-19 vaccines if you have any of the following conditions, listed on the drop down.

This is not an exhaustive list, so speak to your GP, pharmacist or your specialist if you think you have a medical condition that puts you more at risk. 

Only 49.1 per cent of people aged 16 to 65, with a condition that made them eligible for the vaccines, had the flu jab through their GP last year.

Chronic respiratory disease
This includes people with Cystic Fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis and emphysema. For flu, those with asthma, who require continuous or repeated use of inhaled or systemic steroids or with previous exacerbations requiring hospital admission, are eligible. For the Covid-19 vaccine, people who have poorly controlled asthma are eligible – defined as more than two courses of oral corticosteroids in the preceding 24 months, or on maintenance oral corticosteroids or more than one hospital admission for asthma in the preceding 24 months.

Chronic heart disease and vascular disease
Including congenital heart disease, hypertension with cardiac complications, chronic heart failure, individuals needing regular medication and/or follow-up for ischaemic heart disease. This includes individuals with atrial fibrillation, peripheral vascular disease or a history of venous thromboembolism. 

Chronic kidney disease
Chronic kidney disease at stage three, four or five, chronic kidney failure, nephrotic syndrome, kidney transplantation. 

Chronic liver disease
Including cirrhosis, biliary atresia, chronic hepatitis. 

Diabetes and other endocrine conditions
Including Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and Addison’s disease.

Splenic dysfunction or asplenia
This also includes conditions such as homozygous sickle cell disease, thalassemia major and coeliac syndrome that may lead to splenic dysfunction

Chronic neurological disease
Including stroke, transient ischaemic attack (TIA). This group also includes individuals with cerebral palsy, severe or profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) including all those on the learning disability register, Down’s syndrome, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease and related or similar conditions; or hereditary and degenerative disease of the nervous system or muscles; or severe neurological disability.

If you are immunosuppressed due to disease or treatment then you are eligible for the flu and Covid-19 vaccines. This includes patients undergoing chemotherapy leading to immunosuppression, patients undergoing radical radiotherapy, solid organ transplant recipients, bone marrow or stem cell transplant recipients, people living with HIV (at all stages), multiple myeloma or genetic disorders affecting the immune system. People who may require long-term immunosuppressive treatment are also eligible, including those with rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus and psoriasis.

  • If you have previously had blood cancer including leukaemia, lymphoma, and myeloma, then you are eligible for the vaccines.

Morbid obesity
Adults with a Body Mass Index ≥40 kg/m2.

The MMR vaccine is a safe and effective combined vaccine.

It protects against three serious illnesses:

  • measles
  • mumps
  • rubella (german measles).

These highly infectious conditions can easily spread between unvaccinated people.

Getting vaccinated is important, as these conditions can also lead to serious problems including meningitis, hearing loss and problems during pregnancy.

The MMR vaccine is given to babies and young children as part of the NHS vaccination schedule.

The first dose is given when children are one, the second at three years and four months.

If you have not had two doses, you can ask your GP practice. 

If your child has missed their MMR before starting school, you can also book a catch-up vaccination for your child at a community clinic or via your GP.