About the winter vaccination (COVID and flu) programme

GPs and community NHS teams across Gloucestershire are offering the COVID-19 and flu vaccines to people who are most at risk of getting very ill this winter. If you’re eligible for one or both of these vaccines, it’s really important to take up the offer as soon as possible to reduce your risk of becoming seriously unwell.

This page will explain who is eligible for which vaccine (COVID and flu), how you will be invited to book your jabs and answer any questions you may have.

COVID vaccinations

The groups who will be offered COVID vaccinations this winter are:

  1. Anyone who is eligible but has not had their first or second doses of the COVID vaccine

We’re at the forefront of the COVID-19 community vaccination response and great progress has been made in vaccinating those aged 16/17 (single dose) and anyone aged 18 and over (two doses). If you are eligible but haven’t yet had your first or second dose you can still take up the offer; just follow the instructions in your original invitation from local GP services, use the national booking system to get an appointment at a community pharmacy ( or call 119) or look out for drop-in clinics.

2. Those eligible for COVID Boosters

The Government has confirmed that the most vulnerable in our population should be offered a COVID booster this autumn/winter, from six months after their second dose. The COVID booster programme is being rolled out to:

  •  care home residents
  • health and social care workers (see here for more information about how to access a booster)
  • people aged over 50
  • those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19,
  • adult carers, and adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals (people who have reduced ability to fight infections).

People who are eligible for a COVID booster will receive an invitation from local NHS services to book in for their vaccination when the time is right, there is no need for them to contact their GP surgery at this time.

3. 12-15 year olds (COVID)

The Government has also confirmed that following advice from the Chief Medical Officers in the UK, all children aged 12 to 15 years old will be offered a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Community NHS services will be in touch with parents of children in this age group soon, with details of the offer of a vaccine to be delivered through schools. There is no need for you to contact your GP surgery. Find out more here.

Flu vaccinations

In parallel with the COVID-19 vaccination programme, the annual flu vaccination programme is also underway.

This year, the following groups are eligible:

  • all children aged 2 to 15 (but not 16 years or older) on 31 August 2021
  • those aged 6 months to under 50 years in clinical risk groups
  • pregnant women
  • those aged 50 years and over
  • those in long-stay residential care homes
  • carers
  • close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
  • frontline health and social care staff

Adults, two and three year-olds who are eligible for a flu vaccination will receive an invite from local GP services to have a jab at either their local GP Practice or nearest GP-led community vaccination site.  Adults may also be able to get a flu jab at a local pharmacy.

Primary school children and secondary school children up to the age of 15 will be offered a nasal spray flu vaccine via the school delivery programme managed by Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust.

JCVI have confirmed that adults can have their COVID booster and flu vaccination at the same time, so you may be offered the opportunity to have both at the same appointment, subject to supplies. However, if you’re not yet eligible for a COVID booster (i.e. your second dose was less than six months ago) it’s really important not to delay getting your flu vaccine so please have it as soon as its offered.

We will regularly post updates on the rollout of the vaccination programme on our news page here.

Groups of GP practices are working closely together with community services and volunteers to provide vaccination services across the county.

GPs and their teams are providing the bulk of COVID-19 vaccinations at the GP led community vaccination centres (and associated mobile services). If people have booked a vaccination appointment following communication from local GP services, they are politely asked to keep it. Some vaccination sites may offer drop-in clinics, which we will advertise below. Dates are added regularly, so please keep checking back for the latest information.

Some community vaccination sites may also offer flu vaccinations to those who are eligible, dependent on availability, though many will be offered an appointment for a flu jab at their regular GP practice.

There are eleven community vaccination sites:

Cheltenham East Fire Station
North Cotswold Hospital, Moreton in Marsh
Cirencester Hospital
Forest of Dean
Old Cinderford Health Centre
Aspen Centre, Horton Road
Rosebank Surgery, Stroud Road
Churchdown Community Centre
Stroud and Berkeley Vale
Beeches Green Health Centre, Stroud
Rowcroft Medical Centre, Stroud
Unit C11, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College campus, Berkeley Green
The Devereux Centre, Tewkesbury

Through the national booking website or phone number, residents can choose to make an appointment at a pharmacy location in the county – Boots and Allied Pharmacy in Gloucester, Badhams Pharmacy in Bishops Cleeve, Cainscross Pharmacy in Stroud and Cirencester or Day Lewis and Allied Pharmacy in the Forest of Dean, subject to availability. Some out of county services/centres may be available to certain residents in priority groups (based on where they live) through the national booking system – website: or phone 119.

Some vaccination sites are offering drop-in clinics for COVID-19 vaccines. We will share details here when we’re aware of them:

Where Date Open to
Unit C11, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College campus
Berkeley Green
Wednesday 1 December


Anyone eligible for a booster (can only be given from six months after the second dose)

Anyone aged 12-15 in need of a first dose (must be accompanied by a parent)

Also anyone aged 16/17 (second doses can only be given 12 weeks after the first) or over 18s for first or second doses of Pfizer (second doses can only be given from 8 weeks after the first)

Unit C11, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College campus
Berkeley Green
Thursday 2 December


Anyone eligible for a booster (can only be given from six months after the second dose)

Anyone aged 12-15 in need of a first dose (must be accompanied by a parent)

Also anyone aged 16/17 (second doses can only be given 12 weeks after the first) or over 18s for first or second doses of Pfizer (second doses can only be given from 8 weeks after the first)

Cheltenham East Fire Station Thursday 2 December


Also anyone aged 16/17 (second doses can only be given 12 weeks after the first) or over 18s for first or second doses of Pfizer (second doses can only be given from 8 weeks after the first)

People should not attend the drop-in service if:

  • they have already made an appointment at a vaccination centre in the county
  • they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have had a positive COVID-19 test within the last 4 weeks.

Please note these FAQs relate to first and second doses of the COVID vaccination programme. These are currently being updated with information about the COVID booster and flu vaccination programmes. For FAQs about the school programme for 12 to 15 year olds please see here.

Local GP services will be in touch in the coming weeks, if they haven’t already, to offer an appointment slot locally to people aged over 18 at one of 10 Primary Care Network GP-led vaccination centres across the county.

Residents do not need to travel outside of the county for their COVID-19 vaccination if they do not wish to.

NHS vaccination teams in Gloucestershire will be progressing through this age group as soon as possible, as vaccine supplies pick up. Local GP services will contact them to schedule appointments and they do not need to call their surgery at this time.

Many people in the current priority groups will have also recently received a national letter from the NHS giving them the option to use the national booking website: or phone 119 to book a vaccination appointment at other available services e.g. several pharmacy locations in the county, subject to availability.

Some out of county services e.g. the large vaccination centre in Bristol, may also be available to certain residents in priority groups (based on where they live) through the national booking system.

The average age of people in intensive care is 60, but people much younger have been seriously ill and died too, with thousands more still suffering the effects of Long COVID after what might have been a mild initial case. If we’ve learned anything from this last year, it’s that nobody is really safe. Anyone can get COVID-19, including young people, and anyone can spread it. Getting vaccinated is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself and others around you from the virus, vaccines reduce infections, hospitalisations and deaths from COVID-19.

Mr Noel Peter, Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, explains why everyone over the age of 18 should have a vaccine.

Yes. The NHS will not offer any COVID-19 vaccines to the public until experts have signed off that it is safe to do so.  The MHRA, the official UK regulator, have said the vaccines in use are safe and highly effective, and we have full confidence in their expert judgement and processes.

As with any medicine, vaccines are highly regulated products. There are checks at every stage in the development and manufacturing process, and continued monitoring once it has been authorised and is being used in the wider population.

There have been reports of an extremely rare adverse event of concurrent thrombosis (blood clots) and thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) following vaccination with the first dose of AstraZeneca.

The UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has considered the relative balance of benefits and risks and advise that the benefits of prompt vaccination with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine far outweigh the risk of adverse events, in particular for individuals 40 years of age and over and those who have underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease.

JCVI currently advises that it is preferable for adults aged under 40 years without underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease, to be offered an alternative COVID-19 vaccine, if available.

Anyone who has received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine should still attend for their second vaccination, irrespective of age.

Read more about the AstraZeneca vaccine here.

Mr Noel Peter, Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, explains why the NHS is confident the vaccines are safe.

Yes. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) confirm that pregnant women are advised to get the vaccination where possible as they are at a higher risk from COVID-19, especially in the 3rd trimester.

The vast majority of pregnant women who become seriously ill with COVID-19 are unvaccinated, so it’s really important to have both doses of your vaccine to protect you and your baby.

Thousands of pregnant women have been safely vaccinated across the UK and worldwide and there is no current evidence of any serious side effects for pregnant women who have had the vaccination.

You can read the guidance from JCVI here.

The NHS has lots of information available to help you make a decision about whether to have a vaccination during pregnancy. You can also talk things through with a healthcare professional before you make a decision, whether that’s your GP or midwife, they’d be happy to talk through the risks and benefits with you.

Five reasons to get the COVID-19 vaccine if you’re pregnant

A leaflet for women who are currently pregnant or breastfeeding

Local GP, Dr Jeremy Welch, joined the Gloucestershire Maternity Voices Partnership on a Facebook Live to answer questions about having the jab while pregnant.

Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines are now available. Both vaccines have been shown to be safe and offer high levels of protection, and have been given regulatory approval by the MHRA.

For more information about the vaccines visit the vaccination page here.

In most cases, no. Supply and availability of vaccines will be a key factor.

Any vaccines that the NHS provide will have been approved because they pass the MHRA’s tests on safety and efficacy, so people should be assured that whatever vaccine they get it will offer a high degree of protection.

When it comes to the AstraZeneca vaccine, the JCVI advise that the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks. For adults aged over 40 years, this vaccine will continue to be used routinely based on availability.

Those under the age of 40, without underlying health conditions, who have not yet had their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, will be able to choose an alternative vaccine based on availability and an assessment of risk, should they wish to do so. These individuals may however make an informed choice to receive the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

The JCVI also advise that pregnant women should be offered the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines where available.

Read more about the AstraZeneca vaccine here.

When it is the right time, you will receive an invitation to come forward from your GP surgery/the NHS. Please be sure that this communication is from an official NHS source. Remember your vaccination is free and the NHS will never ask for payment.

We know lots of people will be eager to get vaccinated, but we are asking people not to contact the NHS to get an appointment until they receive their communication.

If you don’t drive, or don’t have a family member, friend or neighbour who can take you to your local vaccine centre, the Community Wellbeing Service may be able to help you.  If you contact your local service they will be able to discuss the options with you and put you in touch with someone who can help.  Please note there is likely to be a charge for any transport provided.

The COVID-19 vaccination will reduce the chance of your suffering from COVID-19 disease.

While you will need two doses of the vaccine to get the best long‑term protection from the virus, you will still have significant protection for a period of time after you have received the first dose. The second dose of the vaccine can be given up to 12 weeks after the first dose.

If you’re a frontline worker in the NHS, you are more likely to be exposed to COVID-19 at work.

For the public (and staff), getting your COVID-19 vaccination, should protect you and may help to protect your family and those you care for.

The COVID-19 vaccine should help reduce the rates of serious illness and save lives and will therefore reduce pressure on the NHS and social care services.

People with history of a severe allergy to the ingredients of the vaccines should not be vaccinated.

The MHRA have updated their guidance to say that pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding can have the vaccine but should discuss it with a clinician to ensure that the benefits outweigh any potential risks.

Dr Gayatri Amirthalingam is a consultant in the National Immunisation team at Public Health England. In this video she explains that there are no concerns about the COVID-19 vaccines affecting present or future fertility, providing important reassurance.

This is all included in the information published by the MHRA, and Public Health England will also be publishing more resources for patients and professionals. The NHS will ensure that people have all the necessary information on those vaccines that are approved by the MHRA before they attend for their vaccination.

People currently unwell and experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine until they have recovered.

Yes, they should get vaccinated. There is no evidence of any safety concerns from vaccinating individuals with a past history of COVID-19 infection, or with detectable COVID-19 antibody, so people who have had COVID-19 disease (whether confirmed or suspected) can still receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it is their time to do so.

Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short term, lasting no longer than a week, and not everyone gets them. These may include:

• A sore arm where the needle went in
• A headache
• Feeling achy
• Feeling or being sick
• Feeling tired

If required, paracetamol can help relieve some discomfort.

There have been reports of extremely rare cases of blood clots. The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is safe,effective and has already saved thousands of lives. The MHRA, and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) have both said that the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks for the vast majority of adults.

The JCVI advises as a precaution that it’s preferable for people under the age of 40 with no underlying health conditions to be offered an alternative vaccine where possible once they are eligible.

[nhs-accordion name="How many doses of the vaccine will be required and when?"]
You are required to have two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, up to 12 weeks apart.

First and second doses of COVID-19

There are a number of patient resources available. Several of these leaflets are available in multiple languages, just click on the link which takes you through to relevant page of the website.

A guide for older adults
Resources for children and young people
A guide to COVID vaccinations – Easy Read
Invite letter – Easy Read
What to expect after your vaccination
What to expect after your vaccination – Easy Read
Why am I being asked to wait?
Women of childbearing age, those currently pregnant or breastfeeding
A guide for women currently pregnant or breastfeeding – Easy Read
Vaccination guides in British Sign Language 
Information for Healthcare Workers
A guide for social care staff

The Inclusion Gloucestershire website has lots of useful resources, including easy read guides and information about reasonable adjustments for people with severe learning disabilities. Visit the site here.

COVID-19 Booster

A guide to booster vaccination

12 to 15 year old vaccines

Resources for the school vaccination programme are available here.

Information in other languages 

We are working with healthcare professionals and others in the community to produce translations of important vaccination information into other languages. Find these resources here.

Organisations play a vital role in helping to promote a positive vaccination message to make sure workplaces are safe. Only through collective effort, will we help people to make well informed decisions and encourage as many people as possible to get the Covid-19 vaccine.

The COVID-19 vaccination is our best chance of protecting ourselves from the most severe symptoms of COVID-19 and getting back to normal, so we are urging employers to support their staff in getting the vaccine. There are benefits for everyone; if people are protected from COVID-19 the risk of cases and outbreaks and therefore workplace absence is reduced. In supporting business and society to get back to normal, we will hopefully avoid any more years like the one we’ve all just been through.

We have developed some resources which we hope will help you understand your role in the COVID-19 vaccination programme, and information to make it as easy as possible for you to share accurate information with your staff about how and why they should take up the offer of a vaccination.

For more information on the national COVID-19 vaccination programme and priority groups, you may find the following links useful:

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