First Minister encourages people to get the flu vaccine
This week, First Minister Mark Drakeford, got his flu vaccination and encouraged others to take up the offer this winter to help keep people safe and well.
This year will be Wales’ largest ever flu vaccination programme, with people aged 50 and over and all those eligible for a free vaccine being invited to have their jab.
Those eligible for the free flu vaccine include pregnant women and people with underlying health conditions and this year the Welsh Government has also extended the free flu vaccine to all primary care workers in Wales.
The schools flu vaccine programme has also been extended this year to include all those in secondary school in years 7-11.
In an effort to improve efficiency and increase uptake of both vaccines, the COVID booster programme will be co-administered, where appropriate to do so, to those who are eligible.
Both vaccines can be administered in succession without delay so there is no need to postpone either appointment once booked.
First Minister for Wales, Mark Drakeford, who received his flu vaccine this week, said:
“Unlike last year, we are expecting a significant amounts of flu to circulate this winter and Covid is still with us.
“It’s very important people take up their offer of the flu vaccine as well as the Covid booster. Data suggests this winter flu season could be 50% to 100% higher than a typical season.
“As we have seen with COVID, vaccines play a huge role in helping to help protect us. They are the best way to keep everyone safe and help stop the spread of the virus.
“We want to protect as many people as possible, particularly those who are most vulnerable in our community, and reduce the pressure on our NHS.”
Public Health Wales states that last year in Wales one in three people, around 1 million, got their flu vaccine and that flu is more likely to be serious if you have a long-term health condition, are pregnant, or are older.
The people at high risk of COVID-19 are generally the same people at increased risk of becoming very ill with flu.
Anne McGowan, Nurse Consultant for Public Health Wales’ Vaccine Preventable Disease Programme said: “Having a flu vaccine every year is one of the most effective ways to protect against flu.
“Getting it is simple, and for most eligible groups is available from either their General Practice or a Community Pharmacy, with separate arrangements in place for school-age children and NHS staff.
“To help extend protection against infection it is very important to get your COVID-19 booster vaccine when offered. It is available to those eligible groups that completed their primary course of the vaccinations earlier this year.
“COVID-19 booster vaccinations are offered by invitation at existing local mass vaccination centres. Please get yours when you are invited.”
As of 20 October 2021, Wales has administered 2,420,558 first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, which accounts for 76.4% of its total population, and 2,238,258 second doses, which is 70.6% of its total population.
As part of the NHS daily coronavirus update on Friday, October 22, it was revealed that 322,591 people have had the booster jab in Wales.
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