Statement from the Director of Public Health

Staying Well This Winter

While winter may seem far away when we’re still enjoying the final few days of summer, it’s never too early to start thinking about ways to keep yourself healthy during the autumn and winter virus season.

This winter, most adults (those over 50, or with long term health conditions, and those who are carers or work in health and social care) will need two vaccines to keep them healthy and protect against two of these viruses – the seasonal flu jab and the COVID-19 booster.

One of these viruses is flu and it is not just a bad cold. The most common symptoms are fever, chills, headache, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness. Healthy individuals usually recover within 2 to 7 days, but it can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, or can make existing conditions worse, so for some the disease can lead to hospitalisation, permanent disability or even death.

Covid is also still circulating in the borough so, while there has been a fall in Covid rates since my last statement, please don’t be complacent, as these rates are expected to rise again in the autumn and winter. Vaccines remain our best defence against Coronavirus, and this autumn we will be offering vaccination with an updated vaccine that has been developed to provide additional protection against the Omicron variant of covid-19.

Both vaccines will be available from GP surgeries and community pharmacies. Wherever we can, we will try to offer you both vaccines at the same time (one in each arm) to avoid you having to visit us twice, but we can’t guarantee that we will always have both vaccines available.

Eligible groups to receive both vaccines free of charge include:

  • Anyone living in a long-stay care home
  • Anyone aged over 50 (note that the Flu vaccine is prioritised for the over 65s until mid-October)
  • Anyone in a clinical risk group
  • Health and social care staff, unpaid carers, hospice staff and personal assistants
  • Pregnant women
  • Close contacts of immunocompromised patients.

In addition, children aged 2 or 3 years, primary school children and secondary school children in years 7-9 will be offered the nasal flu vaccine. This vaccine offer will be extended to older secondary school children after half-term if we have enough supplies. For school-age children, all vaccination will be offered through schools.

Most Stockport residents who are eligible for vaccines will be invited by their GP surgery to attend for their flu and/or COVID-19 vaccines. Care home residents can receive their vaccines from 5 September onwards. For all other eligible groups, Covid-19 vaccines will also be available from community pharmacy from 12 September. Pregnant women can also access the flu vaccine through their midwife.

People who aren’t in the above groups can pay to receive the flu vaccine in pharmacies.

Please help to protect yourself and vulnerable members of the community by getting both vaccines if you’re eligible.

How to Get the Vaccine

We will be opening the One Stockport Hub again from 12 September every Monday, Tuesday and Saturday for a 12-week period for coronavirus vaccination. You can book online through the National Booking website, but we will also be offering vaccines on a walk in basis (limited by the stock available to us each day).

The current service at One Stockport Hub Covid-19 vaccination clinic will end when the clinic closes at the end of the day this Saturday (27 August) to allow us to prepare to run the new service from 12 September. This Saturday will therefore be the last opportunity for 5–11-year-olds to access the vaccine at this location, but a pre-bookable service for 5–11-year-olds will continue to be offered at Trinity Methodist Church on Sundays, from 9am to 6m. Please book here.

Full details of places to get a vaccination in Stockport, including many options available without prior booking, are on the council website.

Coronavirus update

The latest ONS infection survey suggests that around 2.6% of the population of the North West would test positive for COVID-19 on 6 August and in Stockport this equates to around 7,800 people. See the latest published data online.

While free PCR or lateral flow device testing is no longer be available for most people, they are still available to purchase, so if you do carry out an LFT test, please do continue to report the result.

If you do test positive, we advise that adults should isolate for 5 days and children for 3 days. After this period, you can end your isolation if you feel well and don’t have a temperature but should avoid contact with anyone who might be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 until 10 days after your positive test.

So far, 87.5% of those aged 18+ and 87.1% of those aged 16 plus have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in Stockport. Also, 85.6% of those aged 18+ and 85% of those aged 16 plus have received their second dose. Also, 65.5% of healthy 12–15-year-olds have had a first dose and 53.5% have had their second dose. In addition, 73.7% of the adult population have had a booster dose and 72.5% of those aged 16 plus. Also, of those cohorts eligible, 84.9% have had a spring booster.

Don’t forget the basics of good hygiene. You can also still continue to adapt your behaviour to reduce the risk of catching and passing on COVID-19. The guidance on what you can do to keep yourself and others safe outlines these measures well and all of these behaviours can help to reduce the risk of infection and help us live safely with COVID-19.

*Data correct as of 19.8.22