Front-line health and social care workers are being urged to get their free vaccine to protect themselves and their patients as part of the ‘biggest ever’ flu programme.
People shielding from coronavirus and those aged over 50 will also be given free vaccines later this year as part of the expanded drive, which is part of government plans to support the NHS and public this winter.
The Department of Health and Social Care said providers will work to vaccinate more than 30 million people during the flu season, nearly double the number of people vaccinated in 2019/20.
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock (pictured) said: “It’s mission critical that we pull out all the stops to get ready for winter, and the Prime Minister has already announced £3 billion to protect the NHS.
“We are now taking another important step to help protect the wider public by giving the flu vaccination to more people than ever before. This will be the biggest flu vaccination programme in history, and will help protect our NHS as we head into winter.
“If you are eligible for a free vaccine, whether it’s for the first time or because you usually receive one, then I would urge you to get it, not just to protect yourself, but to protect the NHS and your loved ones, from flu.”
Once vaccination of the most ‘at-risk’ groups is well underway, the department said it will work with clinicians to decide when to open the programme to invite people aged 50-64, with further details to be announced. The NHS will contact people directly, including information about where to go to get the vaccine.
The government said increased vaccinations will help to reduce pressure on the NHS this winter by preventing flu-sickness, which can cause hospitalisation and death.