Free flu vaccine extended to over-50s as NHS battles ‘twin threats’ with Covid-19

People over the age of 50 will be entitled to a free flu vaccine from the beginning of next month as part of an expanded jab rollout in the face of the “twin threats” of flu and coronavirus.

This latest age group can be vaccinated by their GP or pharmacist in England from December 1, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

Earlier this year the Government announced this winter would see the biggest flu vaccination programme in the UK’s history, with enough supply to vaccinate 30 million people throughout the flu season.

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DHSC said flu vaccine uptake this year is higher in all vulnerable groups except pregnant women compared to the same time last year.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This winter is like no other, and we have to worry about the twin threats of flu and Covid-19.

“Covid means getting a flu jab is more important than ever this year. So we are delivering the largest ever flu vaccination programme.”

England’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam urged all those eligible to get the jab.

He said: “Influenza vaccination is a critical tool this and every winter to prevent severe illnesses and potential hospitalisations for thousands of people.

“I urge all those who are eligible for the flu vaccine, including the new group of 50 to 64-year-olds, to book their appointments as soon as they can.”

DHSC said GPs, trusts and pharmacists can order additional stock from the Government supply of more than seven million vaccines to vaccinate this latest group.

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