Protect yourself from winter viruses

Date published: 12 January 2023

With COVID-19 and flu circulating at high levels in Northern Ireland, the Department of Health is reminding people to take the opportunity to be vaccinated.

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Last month we saw a significant rise in COVID-19 rates with the latest data indicating that around 1 in 16 people in Northern Ireland had the virus in the lead up to Christmas.

At the same time, we have seen an increase in cases of flu to the highest levels since before the COVID-19 pandemic, and we expect this to persist for a number of weeks. For the majority of people, flu will be unpleasant but will not lead to serious illness. However, it can be dangerous and even life threatening for some people, particularly those with certain health conditions. And it’s important to reduce your risk of getting both illnesses at once, which could make you even more unwell.

Remember that free flu and COVID-19 vaccinations are still available for all eligible groups and are the best protection against the viruses. It will also help to protect our health service at a time when hospitals are under extreme pressure.

You can find out which HSC Trust clinics and community pharmacies are offering vaccinations near you by entering your post code at the following link: Find a vaccination clinic.

Or alternatively, here are some upcoming sessions in your local Trust areas - online booking is now available at the following link:​ 

Belfast Trust

RVH vaccine centre
Monday to Friday 8am – 5.30pm
Saturday 10am – 4pm  
Sunday 10am – 2pm

Northern Trust

Sun Room, Mid Ulster Hospital, Magherafelt
Friday 13 January 10am – 3pm
Friday 20 January 10am – 3pm
Friday 27 January 10am – 3pm

You can book online or walk ins are also available.  

South Eastern Trust

A number of walk-in appointments are available at the following locations:

One Stop Clinic (Level 1), Ambulatory Care Centre, Ulster Hospital
Saturday 14 January 10.00am – 4.00pm (5+ yrs)
Saturday 21 January 10.00am – 4.00pm (5+ yrs)

Great Hall, Downshire Hospital, Ardglass Road, Downpatrick
Saturday 14 January 10.00am – 3.00pm (5+yrs)

Lisburn Primary and Community Care Centre, Lagan Valley Hospital
Saturday 21 January 10.00am – 3.00pm (5+ yrs)

Southern Trust  

Seagoe Parish Centre, Portadown
Thursday 12 January 1.30pm – 4.30pm

The Junction, Dungannon
Sunday 15 January 10.30am - 3pm

Western Trust

Key Workers Accommodation, SWAH
Wednesday 25 January 9am - 4:30pm

Out Patients Clinic. Omagh Hospital & Primary Care Complex
Friday 13 January 9am - 4:30pm
Friday 27 January 9am - 4:30pm

Level 5 Altnagelvin
Tuesday 17 January 9am - 4:30pm
Tuesday 24 January 9am - 4:30pm
Tuesday 31 January 9am - 4:30pm

Eligible groups for flu vaccine in 2022 to 2023 are:

  • Those aged 50 years and over (by 31 March 2023)
  • Those aged 6 months to 2 years, and 16 to 49 years in clinical risk groups
  • Pregnant women
  • All preschool children aged 2 or over on 1 September 2022
  • All primary and secondary (up to year 12) school children
  • Those in long-stay residential care homes
  • Carers
  • Household contact of immunosuppressed individuals
  • Frontline health and social care workers.

Eligible groups for COVID-19 vaccine in 2022 to 2023 are:

  • All adults aged 50 and over (by 31 March 2023)
  • Those aged 5 to 49 years in a clinical risk group
  • Pregnant women
  • Residents in a care home for older adults, and staff working in care homes for older adults
  • Those aged 5 to 49 years who are household contacts of people with immunosuppression
  • Those aged 16 to 49 years who are carers
  • Frontline health and social care workers.

Notes to editors: 

  1. For media enquiries please contact the DoH Press Office by email
  2. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt.
  3. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service For Media Enquiries Only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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