‘Getting your flu jab and COVID booster is so important this autumn,’ urges Health Minister Eluned Morgan as flu vaccination programme expanded
Wales is set to see its largest ever flu vaccination programme this autumn, with the jab being offered to all those aged over 50 and all secondary school children.
It comes after 2020/2021 saw the largest number of flu vaccinations – over a million - ever given in Wales, and for the first time, the uptake in the over-65s exceeded 75%.
The COVID booster programme will also be co-administered to those who are eligible where appropriate to do so, in an effort to improve efficiency and increase uptake of both vaccines.
It comes amid warnings from the Chief Medical Officer in his annual flu letter that there could be a co-circulation of flu and COVID-19 this winter, as well as other respiratory infections.
Increasing the number of those eligible for the flu jab and coinciding this with the COVID booster programme will protect both the public and the NHS.
It is hoped extending the flu vaccination programme will also reduce morbidity and mortality associated with influenza, as well as reduce hospitalisations during a time when the NHS and social care may again be managing winter outbreaks of COVID-19.
As well as all those ages over 50, the schools programme will be extended to all those in secondary school in years 7-11.
It means the flu vaccination vaccine will be available on the NHS to well over 1.5m people in Wales this winter.
The Welsh Government has set an ambition of 75% of secondary school pupils to have the flu vaccination and 80% of those aged 65 and over.
An additional funding package of £6.8m will be allocated to health boards to reach both new cohorts.
The Chief Medical Officer for Wales, Frank Atherton, will be writing to NHS Wales about the National Influenza Immunisation Programme 2021-22, detailing the priority vaccination groups, the uptake ambitions, details of the vaccines available and the potential for co-administration of the COVID and flu vaccines this coming season.
He yesterday said:
This is the first time we have extended the flu vaccination programme to those in school years 7-11, as we appreciate the greater risk of flu and respiratory conditions spreading through young people during the winter period.
We are concerned about a perfect storm of both flu and COVID-19 this winter, and are doing everything to prepare as best as we can.
Health Minister Eluned Morgan yesterday said:
It is very important people take the opportunity to have their flu vaccination and we are delighted it can be rolled out with the COVID booster in some situations.
It is thanks to the incredible success of our COVID vaccination programme, where we have learnt valuable lessons and seen unprecedented levels of uptake, that we have been able to extend the flu vaccination programme to all those over 50 years old and between years 7 to 11 in the schools programme.
We expect there to be a co-circulation of both flu and COVID-19 this winter and cannot stress enough how key it is that those who are eligible take up both their flu jab and COVID booster vaccine.
Latest News from
Climate change will have to be considered for any future Welsh developments28/09/2021 12:15:00
Future developments in Wales will have to take into account future flooding and coastal erosion risk caused by climate change the Welsh Government confirmed yesterday.
50mph schemes successful in driving down air pollution28/09/2021 11:05:00
From 4 October, motorists exceeding the 50mph speed limits on some of the most polluted roads in Wales could receive a letter or fine through their doors, the Welsh Government has warned.
Welsh Government confirms international travel changes and calls for PCR test retention28/09/2021 09:05:00
The Welsh Government has confirmed it will merge the green and amber travel lists into one and remove the requirement for pre-departure testing for those fully vaccinated.
Growing tourism for the good of Wales27/09/2021 15:33:00
On World Tourism Day, Economy Minister, Vaughan Gething, says he wants to grow Welsh tourism in a way that supports Wales’ communities, land and people.
Minister for Education and Welsh Language confirms nominated appointments to the Education Workforce Council27/09/2021 14:05:00
The Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, has today announced two appointments to the Education Workforce Council.
ResilientWorks magnet project to spearhead Wales’ EV drive in heart of Tech Valleys27/09/2021 11:05:00
Economy Minister Vaughan Gething met global technology company Thales to see first-hand how work on the ResilientWorks test bed environment for electric and autonomous vehicles and energy infrastructure is progressing.
Redeveloped Llandudno Museum is boost for town and visitors – Lesley Griffiths27/09/2021 09:05:00
The newly reopened Llandudno Museum is a further boost for the town, Minister for North Wales Lesley Griffiths said after visiting the attraction.
Minister for Education and Welsh Language confirms appointments to the Qualifications Wales Board24/09/2021 11:05:00
The Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, has today announced two appointments to the Qualifications Wales Board.
Welsh Government to invest nearly £25m in four new digital scanners to cut waiting times and meet service demand23/09/2021 13:05:00
The Welsh Government will invest almost £25m in up to four new PET-CT scanners across Wales to improve access to this cutting edge diagnostic technology.