Autumn 2023 flu and COVID vaccines

Updated on Friday 1st September 2023

It has recently been announced that autumn flu and COVID vaccine programmes are going to start earlier than usual in England this year. This is because of a new strain of coronavirus that has been identified in the UK.

Autumn vaccinations will now begin on September 11th. People who are most at risk from winter illnesses will be invited to have a COVID vaccine in September, including:

  • people who live in care homes
  • people who clinically vulnerable
  • those aged 65 and over
  • carers of clinically vulnerable people
  • health and social care staff

The annual flu vaccine will also be made available to this group at the same time wherever possible.

For more information, please visit the UK GOV website.


Should people with cancer get the coronavirus vaccine?

Public health experts and cancer specialists have agreed that people living with cancer should receive the vaccine. The covid vaccines that are available can be given to people who are having cancer treatment. Covid vaccines are not live vaccines, they cannot harm you when your immunity is reduced. Vaccines save lives and reduce the need for hospital stays from covid.

Vaccines can be given before, during or after cancer treatment. If you are due to start cancer treatment or have cancer surgery your medical team may recommend that you have vaccinations before treatment begins. Having vaccinations before treatment gives a better chance of protection. 

Where can I find up to date vaccine guidance?

Visit government websites for vaccination guidance in:

How effective is the vaccine?

It is possible that the vaccines may be slightly less effective for people having chemotherapy or other cancer treatments. But it is still expected that the vaccines will give useful protection against the virus. 

Is it safe to have a flu vaccine?

You may be offered the flu vaccine at the same time as your covid vaccine. The flu vaccine is the safest and most effective way to protect you against flu. Research shows it is safe to have the two vaccines at the same time. You should get the flu vaccine when it is offered to you.

I have other questions about the vaccine. Who can I speak to?

You may find it helpful to talk to your cancer healthcare team who can answer any questions you might have about getting vaccinated. They can also talk to you about the best time for you to have the vaccine. 

Or to speak to our experts, you can: