Greater than 35 million folks, together with secondary faculty pupils, will probably be supplied a free flu vaccine this winter below plans introduced by the federal government.
The largest flu programme within the nation’s historical past will probably be launched in September, the federal government stated, and can construct on the success of final yr’s expanded scheme which noticed a document quantity get their jab.
And for the primary time, these eligible will embody all secondary faculty pupils as much as Yr 11 – these aged 15 and 16.
The goal for 2021 is nearly double the quantity of jabs that have been administered final winter.
The flu vaccine will probably be out there to:
- All kids aged two and three on 31 August 2021
- All kids in major and all kids at school Years 7 to 11 in secondary faculty
- These aged six months to below 50 years in medical threat teams
- Pregnant girls
- These aged 50 years and over
- Unpaid carers
- Shut contacts of immunocompromised people
- Frontline well being and grownup social care workers
These aged two and three, major faculty kids and secondary faculty kids as much as Yr 11 will probably be supplied the nasal spray vaccine.
The federal government is getting ready to ship the flu jab to these relevant alongside any booster COVID-19 vaccines on order, the Division of Well being and Social Care stated, because it acknowledged that “it’s attainable there will probably be increased ranges of flu this winter”.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JVCI) will publish its closing recommendation on who ought to be prioritised for a attainable third, booster vaccine from September “later this summer season”, the division added.
Saying the winter plan, newly appointed Well being Secretary Sajid Javid inspired all these eligible for a flu jab to come back ahead.
“Flu is usually a critical sickness and we need to construct a wall of safety by immunising a document variety of folks,” he stated.
“With the nation getting nearer to regular life, we should study to dwell with COVID-19 alongside different viruses and we’re providing the free flu jab to thousands and thousands extra folks to assist preserve them protected this winter.
“The exceptional scale of the COVID-19 vaccination programme is a transparent demonstration of the optimistic affect vaccination could make and I encourage all these eligible to get their flu jab when known as ahead.”
In the meantime Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Well being England, warned that the approaching flu season is “extremely unpredictable”.
“The flu vaccine is protected, efficient and protects thousands and thousands of individuals every year from what is usually a devastating sickness,” she stated.
“Final winter, flu exercise was extraordinarily low, however that is no purpose for complacency because it means much less folks have constructed up a defence in opposition to the virus. Mixed with the probability that COVID-19 will nonetheless be circulating, this makes the approaching flu season extremely unpredictable.
“We will probably be getting ready for a difficult winter by increasing our world-leading flu vaccination programme to over 35 million folks, saving extra lives and limiting the affect on the NHS and social care.”
And Dr Nikita Kanani, NHS medical director for major care, stated getting your flu jab may “assist save your life”.
“Getting your free flu vaccine if you’re eligible in addition to maintaining good habits like often washing your arms may assist save your life, so please do come ahead if you find yourself invited to present you and your family members very important safety this winter,” she stated.
Responding to the federal government’s announcement, the chief government of NHS Suppliers Chris Hopson stated he welcomes the announcement however that such a big flu vaccine programme will take a “big quantity of planning”.
“Belief leaders will welcome at this time’s announcement which may see thousands and thousands extra folks receiving a free flu vaccine as a part of a big growth of our vaccination programme,” Mr Hopson stated.
“Flu is a virus which kills hundreds of individuals yearly and places the NHS below extreme strain each winter. We’re urging everybody who’s eligible for a flu vaccine to come back ahead for one when it’s their flip.
“Rolling out a flu programme of this scale alongside a COVID booster marketing campaign will take an enormous quantity of planning, collaboration and dedication, significantly from major care.
“It’s extremely bold in its scale and complexity, and whereas now we have little doubt the NHS can meet this problem, we do want to consider how we allow NHS workers to hold out this programme whereas assembly the opposite pressures they face.
“So we have to create a sustainable workforce strategy, maximising our use of volunteers however guaranteeing NHS professionals can even ship their day-to-day work.”