Health chief warns of Covid and flu ‘perfect storm’ as Welsh NHS expands its vaccination programme
Wales’ Chief Medical offer has warned of the ‘perfect storm’ of both flu and Covid-19 circulating over the winter months, as NHS Wales gears up for its largest ever flu vaccination programme.
This autumn the expanded programme will offer the flu vaccine to all over 50s and all secondary school children, in addition to people that had previously been eligible for a free jab due to being at increased risk from the virus.
Covid booster shots will also be rolled out alongside flu jabs to those who are eligible, to protect both the public and the NHS.
The government has allocated additional funding of £6.8m to health boards to reach the more than 1.5 million people eligible for the vaccination programme this year.
“This is the first time we have extended the flu vaccination programme to those in school years 7-11, as we appreciate the greater risk of flu and respiratory conditions spreading through young people during the winter period,” Dr Atherton said.
“We are concerned about a perfect storm of both flu and Covid-19 this winter and are doing everything to prepare as best as we can.”
Last year the number of people to receive the flu vaccine topped one million for the first time ever and uptake among over-65s was the highest ever at more than 75%.
The government has set a target of vaccinating 75% of secondary school pupils this winter, and extending protection to 80% of those aged 65 and over.
“It is thanks to the incredible success of our COVID vaccination programme, where we have learnt valuable lessons and seen unprecedented levels of uptake, that we have been able to extend the flu vaccination programme to all those over 50 years old and between years 7 to 11 in the schools programme,” Health Minister Eluned Morgan said.
“We expect there to be a co-circulation of both flu and Covid-19 this winter and cannot stress enough how key it is that those who are eligible take up both their flu jab and Covid booster vaccine.”