Free flu vaccinations for 50 to 64 year olds rolled out from December
Adults over the age of 50 will be able to get a free flu vaccine from December 1 in the next phase of this year’s expanded flu vaccination programme, the government has confirmed.
Individuals aged between 50 and 64 will be able to get a vaccine from their GP or pharmacy. This new group can now be included in the flu programme, with the initial phase of flu vaccinations well under way.
Flu vaccine uptake is higher in all vulnerable groups except pregnant women compared to this time last year. Provisional data published by Public Health England suggests 72.9% of those aged 65 and over, 45.0% of two-year-olds and 46.8% of three-year-olds have had their vaccine.
GPs, trusts and pharmacists can order additional stock to vaccinate this new group from the centrally secured government supply of over 7 million vaccines.
This has been secured amid high global demand for more flu vaccine and now means vaccines can be provided to this group over December and into the New Year. There is enough flu vaccine supply to vaccinate 30 million people throughout this year’s flu season in England.
Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said: "This winter is like no other, and we have to worry about the twin threats of flu and Covid-19.
“Covid means getting a flu jab is more important than ever this year. So we are delivering the largest ever flu vaccination programme.”
Public Health Minister, Jo Churchill added: “To prepare for this challenging winter, we committed to protect as many people as possible from the flu, to keep those at risk safe and reduce the strain on our NHS.”
The rollout of the flu vaccine to over 50s is separate to any future Covid-19 vaccine rollout and people will be able to receive the flu and Covid-19 vaccinations in parallel.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said: “Influenza vaccination is a critical tool this and every winter to prevent severe illnesses and potential hospitalisations for thousands of people.
“I urge all those who are eligible for the flu vaccine, including the new group of 50-64 year olds, to book their appointments as soon as they can.”