IN two months, over half of Somerset's eligible 255,000 people have received their Covid-19 booster, safeguarding them for winter.

Initiated this autumn, the campaign has provided maximum protection to 137,000 people from Covid-19 and 170,000 from flu.

As respiratory viruses tend to peak towards late December, health bosses at NHS and Public Health Somerset are advocating for people to receive their vaccines now for optimal protection during the holiday season.

Eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine extends to individuals aged 65 and above, frontline health and social care employees, and those individuals assessed as being at risk due to a compromised immune system, a learning disability, or severe mental health issues.

Shona Turnbull-Kirk, associate director for health inclusion for NHS Somerset, stressed the viruses' gravity for those 65 years and older or those with a compromised immune system.

Turnbull-Kirk said: "Covid-19 is still out there, and flu is a concern for the NHS every winter.

"Make sure you stay up to date with your vaccines for the best possible protection and to keep yourself and others safe."

She further emphasised the peace of mind a vaccine offers during the upcoming Christmas and New Year celebrations, especially for those eligible for the booster.

In a bid to simplify the process, walk-in vaccinations are an option at local pharmacies, vaccination centres, and pop-ups at community hospitals and GP surgeries.

The NHS Somerset website carries details of walk-in schedules.

Flu vaccinations can be booked through the GP's office or at participating community pharmacies.

Multiple locations simultaneously offer flu and COVID-19 vaccines, negating the necessity of booking separate appointments.

Furthermore, the schools' flu vaccine initiative, providing nasal spray vaccines to students aged 4 to 16 years, has been in operation since term start.

An injection is available in the event a nasal spray is unsuitable.

Parents of two-and-three-year-old children are advised to arrange for a nasal spray flu vaccine appointment at their local surgery.

Details on eligibility and locations offering the free flu or COVID-19 vaccine are at