Posted: Tue 29th Sep 2020

Extra flu vaccine stocks acquired as Wales progresses with largest ever winter protection programme

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Sep 29th, 2020


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Wales should have ‘adequate’ supplies of the flu vaccine, after more was acquired to help resource the biggest programme to date.

In July Health Minister Vaughan Gething announced that this year would see Wales’ largest flu vaccine programme take place

Those in the existing eligible groups including those aged over 65 years, pregnant women and people with medical conditions will be vaccinated first.

This year there are also plans to include households of people in the shielded group and lower the eligibility age from 65 to over 50 year olds – who will be vaccinated in a phased approach.

However there have been reports of some people who are eligible for a vaccine, struggling to access and appointments. Last week Boots suspended its bookings both in store and online due to the demand.

With concern over a second wave of coronavirus on top of the existing winter pressures, we asked the Health Minister if he could guarantee anyone who wants a flu vaccine will get one before the end of the year and if there are enough supplies available.

Mr Gething replied: “We should have adequate supplies to deal with everyone in the normal risk categories.

“We have acquired more flu vaccine because we want to actually provide the flu vaccine to people in different age brackets as well.

“So we’re trying to maximise the high risk groups who are always entitled to an NHS flu vaccine. That that’s our aim and objective.

“We should then be able to take a judgement on whether we can then offer the flu vaccine to people in a wide age category of potentially people over the age of 50.

“But the starting point is for people with the greatest risk of harm, to have the flu vaccine to have it in much higher proportions than before, because regardless of COVID there is real harm done every year, as a result of the flu and a normal flu season.

“8,000-10,000 people across the UK lose their lives as a result of flu. In a bad flu season about 20,000 people across the UK can lose their lives. So the flu vaccine is really important.

“Of course across UK we’ve already seen more than 40,000 people lose their lives as a result of COVID.

“So I hope it puts into context in one wave of COVID the sort of harm it’s already done and the reason why we’re having to take these truly extraordinary measures to intervene in the way people can live their lives.”

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