Flu jab drive to protect NHS in case of Covid-19 second wave

  • Watch a package by Heather Edwards

The Government is launching the country’s biggest ever Winter flu vaccination programme this winter, to protect the NHS as medical staff continue to deal with the coronavirus.

It is feared that the health system could face overwhelming pressure, because there has been a decline in the number of people choosing to have Winter flu jabs.

Over the next few months, the Government at Westminster wants as many people to be vaccinated as possible. People aged over fifty and 11-year-olds have been added to the groups eligible for flu vaccinations. In addition, people who have already tested positive for Covid-19 are being urged to get vaccinated.

A former flu patient from Reading, who had a severe bout of flu one year has been explaining how badly she was affected. Lesley Cant says she is preparing to get her annual flu injection to help prevent her experiencing the illness again.

If a second wave of coronavirus happens during the flu season this year the impact on the NHS could be catastrophic. Therefore, the government has unveiled the UK’s biggest flu vaccination programme in history with the aim of reaching half of the country’s population. 

However, the calls for more people to get vaccinated have followed statistics from Public Health England (PHE). The PHE figures show that not enough people in vulnerable groups are getting vaccinated - including people who have asthma, or multiple sclerosis or weak immune systems.

The number of people taking up the chance for flu jabs has remained steady for those aged over sixty-five.

At the same time the number of younger people with serious health conditions receiving vaccines is below guidelines set by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The WHO wants countries to aim for a 75% take up of the vaccine in vulnerable categories. However figures from local authorities show that there is only a 45% take up among at risk under 65-year-olds during the last flu season.

This winter, more people in the UK will be eligible to receive the winter flu jab including people who are on the shielded patient list and anyone who lives with them. Once the most vulnerable among the population have received the vaccine, it may be extended to people aged over 50 too.