Britain Set to Carry Out Largest Flu Vaccine Roll-Out in Its History This Winter

Encouraged by its large Covid vaccine programme, Britain will carry out the largest flu vaccine roll-out in its history this winter, with all secondary school pupils and children aged two and three set to be offered vaccines. Officials expect that, altogether, 35 million people could be vaccinated against seasonal flu this year and that Covid and flu vaccines will continue to be given for “years to come”. MailOnline has the story.

NHS England and Improvement, and Public Health England have issued the 2021-2022 annual flu letter to providers, outlining their plans for this year’s expanded programme.

From September, 35 million people including all secondary school students up to Year 11, children aged two and three on August 31st, all primary school children, people aged 50 and over, pregnant women, unpaid carers, and frontline health and adult social care staff will be eligible for the free jab.

The drive will build on last year’s expanded flu programme, which saw a record 19 million jabs being administered.

[Health Secretary Sajid] Javid encouraged all those eligible to get their flu jab when they are called.

“Flu can be a serious illness and we want to build a wall of protection by immunising a record number of people,” he said. 

“With the nation getting closer to normal life, we must learn to live with Covid alongside other viruses and we’re offering the free flu jab to millions more people to help keep them safe this winter.

“The phenomenal scale of the Covid vaccination programme is a clear demonstration of the positive impact vaccination can make and I encourage all those eligible to get their flu jab when called forward.”

Public Health England medical director Dr Yvonne Doyle said the upcoming flu season will be “highly unpredictable” combined with “the likelihood that Covid will still be circulating”.

The flu programme is expected to be delivered alongside any booster programme for Covid vaccinations.  

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is expected to publish its final advice on the Covid booster jab programme later this summer. …

In a letter sent to senior leaders, GPs and hospital bosses earlier this month, NHS England said health systems should be preparing to deliver booster doses of the coronavirus vaccination between September 6th and December 17th. 

NHS Providers Chief Executive Chris Hopson said people will [need] to be vaccinated for flu and coronavirus for “years to come”.     

“Rolling out a flu programme of this scale alongside a Covid booster campaign will take a huge amount of planning, collaboration and commitment, particularly from primary care,” he said.  

“It is incredibly ambitious in its scale and complexity, and while we have no doubt the NHS can meet this challenge, we do need to think about how we enable NHS staff to carry out this programme while meeting the other pressures they face.

“We’ll be vaccinating against flu and Covid for years to come so let’s put our approach on a sustainable footing as soon as possible.”

Worth reading in full.

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