Wales’ free flu vaccination programme expanded to include all over 50s and children for second year
Wales’ free flu vaccination programme is to be extended to include all over 50s and school children for the second year running.
Those who will be able to receive the vaccine for free will include those over 50, secondary school children in academic years 7-11 (11-16 years old), pregnant women, those with underlying health conditions and children aged two to 10 years of age.
Health Minister Eluned Morgan said that it was to reduce hospitalisations during a time when the NHS and social care may also be managing winter outbreaks of COVID-19.
This is the second year the programme has been extended, which means that more than 1.5m people in Wales will be eligible for a free vaccine again this year.
Last year more people in Wales than ever before received a flu vaccine as part of the annual flu vaccination programme with the aim to help protect both the public and the NHS from the co-circulation of flu and COVID-19.
Health Minister Eluned Morgan, said: “Here in Wales we feel it’s important that we continue to protect as many people as possible from flu and I’m pleased to confirm we will once again roll out an extended flu programme.
“Covid has not gone away and our NHS is still very much recovering from the pandemic, ensuring as many people are protected from the flu will not only help individuals and their communities but also protect our NHS. I would encourage eligible people to take up the offer.”
An additional funding package of £7.85m will be allocated to health boards to reach both additional cohorts.
Achieving a high uptake is vital to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with influenza, and to reduce hospitalisations during a time when the NHS and social care may also be managing winter outbreaks of COVID-19, the Welsh Government said.
The vaccine watchdog JCVI has given an indication that there is likely to be an autumn booster programme for COVID-19 vaccinations and there may be opportunities to administer both vaccines at the same time throughout the 2022-23 season.
Those planning and administering vaccines should utilise these opportunities where appropriate, to help maximise vaccine uptake, the Welsh Government said.
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