“The flu virus could also be highly infectious at this time of year, so I am also announcing that those eligible for a free flu vaccination this year will include everyone aged 50 and over, primary school children and secondary school pupils in years 7, 8 and 9, as well as people in clinical risk groups, unpaid carers and household contacts of those who are immunosuppressed,” said new health secretary Steve Barclay.
Commenting on the ‘s announcement, CCA chief executive Malcolm Harrison said: “We welcome the decision to accept the advice of the JCVI on who can have free Covid-19 boosters and flu jabs this autumn. Community pharmacies have turbo-charged the Covid-19 vaccination programme over the past 18 months and last year we witnessed the most successful community pharmacy flu campaign ever.”
“We can see how community pharmacy is playing an ever-greater role in our nation’s public health through vaccination, with patients recognizing the expertise available, as well as the convenience of high street pharmacies. We’re proud that the sector will continue to play a critical role in the national drive to fight Covid-19”.
Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunization at UKHSA, said: “Widening the eligibility for the flu vaccine will help reduce the number of people getting seriously ill and ease pressures on the NHS, particularly during the busy winter period.
“It is also important that everyone eligible for the Covid-19 booster gets the jab when invited, including pregnant women, who are among those at higher risk. Having Covid-19 during pregnancy can lead to complications. Getting the vaccine, including a booster, offers the best possible protection for you and your baby.”