Over 50s to get free flu jab from December
Those over the age of 50 in England will be able to get the free flu jab from their GP or pharmacist from 1 December, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) confirmed.
The flu vaccine is usually given to those who are 65 and over (including those who will be 65 by 31 March) but the government said it has secured a supply of vaccines for its extended programme this winter.
The DHSC said 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 today suggests 72.9% of those aged 65 and over, 45.0% of two-year olds and 46.8% of three-year olds have had their vaccine.
The government added there is enough flu vaccine supply to vaccinate 30 million people throughout this year’s flu season in England.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, 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. Free vaccinations for 50 to 64 years olds will now be available from GPs and pharmacies starting from 1 December.
Public Health Minister, Jo Churchill, added: “To prepare for this challenging winter, we committed to protect as many people as possible from the flu, to keep those at risk safe and reduce the strain on our NHS. I am pleased we are now able to deliver on that commitment with those aged 50 to 64 invited to get their free flu vaccine from the start of December.
“These vaccinations are already being given to our existing priority groups and that vital work will continue. More vaccine is flowing into GPs and pharmacies throughout the next few months, and I would urge anyone eligible for their flu vaccine to get one, including all health and social care workers.”
The groups now eligible for a flu vaccine include:
- adults aged 65 or over
- pregnant women
- those with certain pre-existing conditions
- NHS and social care workers
- all children up to year 7
- household contacts of those who are clinically extremely vulnerable
- adults aged 50 to 64.