Health minister announces “largest ever flu campaign” in Wales with vaccines extended to over 50s and shielded households
Wales’ “largest ever flu campaign” which will see an increase in the number of people eligible for a free vaccine this year has been announced by the Minster for Health, Vaughan Gething.
Earlier this week Mr Gething warned of an “extraordinary winter” for health care systems across Wales with fears that the co-circulation of COVID-19 and flu in the autumn and winter will cause increased pressure on the NHS.
Those in the existing eligible groups including those aged over 65 years, pregnant women and people with medical conditions will be vaccinated first.
However subject to confirmation by the UK Government, that additional vaccine supply will be available, those who will additionally be included in this year’s flu programme include for the first time –
– Households of people in the shielded group
– Lowering the eligibility age from 65 to over 50 year olds – who will be vaccinated in a phased approach
Increasing uptake in health and social care workers will also be a key priority this season.
The NHS will get in contact with those who are eligible.
Additional supplies of the nasal spray flu vaccine offered to children will be used to maximise uptake in the vaccination programme offered to 2 and 3 year olds, and to all children in primary schools.
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething said: “This winter more than ever we need to protect the most vulnerable in our community and continue to protect our NHS.
“By extending the flu vaccine to more people than ever before we can help prevent people becoming ill and reduce pressure on the NHS this winter.
“I would urge anyone who is eligible to have the vaccine.”
The Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Frank Atherton, added: “Everyone who is eligible for a NHS flu vaccine should be confident about having it to protect themselves and those around them this winter.
“Those already eligible, which include some of the most vulnerable in our community will receive the vaccination first and via a phased approach our programme will be rolled out further to the over 50’s and households of those shielding.”
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