The most comprehensive flu vaccination programme in the UK’s history has been announced by the government today with plans to vaccinate more than 30 million people this winter.
A significant new group will be eligible for the free flu vaccine as people aged 50 to 64 will be invited later in the season for a vaccination.
As part of an unprecedented drive, a free flu vaccine will also be available to people who are on the shielded patient list and members of their household, all school year groups up to year 7 and people aged over 65, pregnant women, those with pre-existing conditions including at-risk under 2s
Once vaccination of the most ‘at-risk’ groups is well underway, the department will work with clinicians to decide when to open the programme to invite people aged 50 to 64, with further details to be announced. The NHS will contact people directly, including information about where to go to get the vaccine.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:
It’s mission critical that we pull out all the stops to get ready for winter, and the Prime Minister has already announced £3 billion to protect the NHS.
We are now taking another important step to help protect the wider public by giving the flu vaccination to more people than ever before. This will be the biggest flu vaccination programme in history, and will help protect our NHS as we head into winter.
If you are eligible for a free vaccine, whether it’s for the first time or because you usually receive one, then I would urge you to get it, not just to protect yourself, but to protect the NHS and your loved ones, from flu.
Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, responding to the Government’s flu programme announcement, said
“Flu, alongside a second Coronavirus wave, could be devastating. That is why Keir Starmer demanded that a comprehensive flu vaccination programme be put in place ahead of the winter, including free vaccinations for the over 50s.
“It’s welcome ministers have listened to Labour but they must offer a guarantee that the programme will be offered to all over 50s this winter. We will do all we can locally and nationally to encourage take up of the flu vaccine.”