Adults over the age of 50 will be able to get their free flu vaccine from 1 December in the next phase of this year’s expanded flu vaccination programme, the Department of Health has announced.
Individuals aged 50 to 64 are now to be included in the NHS flu programme.
This year, flu vaccine uptake is higher in all vulnerable groups except pregnant women compared with this time last year. Provisional data published by Public Health England on Thursday 20 November suggests 72.9 per cent of those aged 65 and over, 45 per cent of two year olds and 46.8 per cent of three year olds have had their vaccine. Questions have already been asked in parliament about GPs’ capacity to deliver the extended flu vaccination programme; in response to a question from life peer and DDA advisor Baroness McIntosh of Pickering, health minister Lord Bethell said that other National Health Service settings and new models of delivery would encourage “innovative thinking to deliver the programme this winter”.
A centrally secured government supply of over seven million vaccines is available to support the extended programme.
The roll-out of the flu vaccine to over-50s is separate to any future COVID-19 vaccine roll-out and people will be able to receive the flu and COVID-19 vaccinations in parallel. The NHS is well equipped to administer both, the DHSC has stated. Further details on the COVID-19 vaccination deployment plan will follow.