Health Care

Protect NHS by getting flu jab, says PM

Protect NHS by getting flu jab, says PM”

Anyone living in a household with somebody on the NHS shielded patient list for Covid-19 will also be eligible for a free jab.

The UK prime minister described the proposal for more than half the population of England, around 30 million, to be offered a free flu jab this winter as the "biggest ever programme of flu immunisation".

Shielded patients and their households will now be entitled to the free vaccination, as well all those aged between 50 and 64 as part of a staggered delivery "later in the season", according to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

Rekha Shah, chief executive officer of Kensington Chelsea & Westminster Local Pharmaceutical Committee and Pharmacy London lead for vaccinations, said that capacity for flu vaccinations would be need to be increased "hugely" in order to deliver on the DHSC's ambitions.

"This winter more than ever, with Covid-19 still circulating, we need to help reduce all avoidable risks".

In a bid to escape the nightmare scenario of a bad flu season alongside a resurgence of the coronavirus, the government has successfully secured contracts for 30 million doses of flu vaccine, double the number that were administered previous year. "Vaccinating more people will help reduce flu transmission and stop people becoming ill".

Boris Johnson has urged the public to get a winter flu jab, saying it will help to protect the NHS.

"It is absolutely critical that all our health and care workers get themselves vaccinated, to protect both themselves and the people they look after including our elderly and most vulnerable, from a potentially devastating second wave of infections", said Paulette Hamilton, vice chair of the LGA's community wellbeing board.

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There are also talks about how to recruit enough people to administer the vaccines.

Vaccination will not be made mandatory for health and social care workers, even though substantial numbers every year do not have a jab.

Overall, 74.3 per cent of frontline health workers had their jab.

And the health service is expecting "universal" uptake among healthcare staff. "We will do all we can locally and nationally to encourage take up of the flu vaccine".

Health experts are concerned that there could be a second spike of coronavirus cases in winter, which would coincide with the start of the flu season. That is why Keir Starmer demanded that a comprehensive flu vaccination programme be put in place ahead of the winter, including free vaccinations for the over 50s.

The British Medical Association (BMA) said the expanded flu vaccination programme was "sensible given the current health climate".

He said: 'It is likely that Covid-19 will present challenges to delivering the flu programme - we will need to take measures to ensure all patients are safe when they come to get their vaccination, and we will need to ensure people, particularly in at risk groups, are confident in doing so.

Dr Richard Vautrey, BMA GP committee chairman, said: "Whilst GP practices continue to work hard to do all they can to support patients during the Covid-19 pandemic, they are also very aware of the vital importance this winter of protecting as many people as possible from the serious impact of influenza".

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