Free flu jabs to be given to millions more in bid to head off crisis

People over 50 will be entitled to a free flu vaccine starting early next month as part of an extensive rollout of vaccine in light of the “double threats” of flu and coronavirus.

This latter age group can be vaccinated by their primary care physician or pharmacist in England starting Dec. 1, according to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

Earlier this year, the government announced that this winter would take place the largest flu vaccination program in UK history, with enough supplies to vaccinate 30 million people during flu season.

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

Health Minister Matt Hancock said, “This winter is like no other, and we have to worry about the dual threat of influenza and Covid-19.

“Covid means getting a flu shot is more important than ever this year. So we’re delivering the largest flu vaccination program ever. “

England’s Deputy Chief Physician, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, urged everyone to get the shot.

He said: “Influenza vaccination is a crucial tool this and every winter to prevent serious illness and possible hospitalization for thousands of people.

“I urge everyone who qualifies for the flu vaccine, including the new group of 50-64 year olds, to book their appointments as soon as possible.”

DHSC said GPs, trusts and pharmacists can order additional supplies from the government, with more than seven million vaccines to vaccinate this latest group.