Should you get a flu jab now? England plans BIGGEST flu vaccine programme amid Covid surge
Dr Hilary Jones warns of worst flu season in SEVEN years
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Alongside a booster programme for Covid vaccine, the Government is preparing to rollout its biggest flu vaccination programme. It comes amidst concerns that the flu season will be worsened this year due to the pandemic.
Much like Covid, flu is usually not a serious condition among young people but it can become a serious health concern for many elderly people and those with certain health problems.
Seasonal flu causes about 7,000 deaths in the UK each year.
But this year, scientists are warning of a bumper flu season.
This is because lockdowns and social distancing restrictions over the past year would have meant fewer Brits would have come into contact with the flu virus.
This will likely mean that the population’s immunity will have waned, leaving more people vulnerable to the flu.
This means when restrictions are lifted this year transmissions could spike.
Should you get the flu vaccine this year?
Experts are urging those at risk to get vaccinated against the flu as this year’s flu season could be more deadly than previous years.
Dr Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England, said: “Last winter, flu activity was extremely low, but this is no reason for complacency as it means fewer people have built up a defence against the virus.
“Combined with the likelihood that Covid will still be circulating, this makes the coming flu season highly unpredictable.”
Public Health England conducted research in the first wave of the virus before any Covid vaccines had been given.
This study suggests the risk of death is more than doubled for people who catch flu on top of Covid, compared to if they caught Covid alone.
Who will be eligible for the flu vaccine this year?
The flu vaccine programme will start in September this year.
Unlike in previous years, children will be included in this plan to make sure they don’t become super spreaders and to ensure their learning will not be interrupted.
The following Brits should be eligible to receive the flu vaccine for free from September:
Those children aged two and three on 31 August 2021
- Primary and secondary schoolchildren
- All those aged six months to under 50 years considered to be clinically at risk
- Pregnant women
- Everyone aged 50 and over
- Unpaid carers
- Close contacts of those considered clinically vulnerable – immunocompromised individuals
- Health and adult social care staff
Experts are hoping to deliver a record-breaking rollout of the flu vaccine this year vaccinating more than 35 million people.
The Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “We want to build a wall of protection by immunising a record number of people.
“With the nation getting closer to normal life, we must learn to live with COVID-19 alongside other viruses and we’re offering the free flu jab to millions more people to help keep them safe this winter.”
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