Over 30 million people to be vaccinated this year to protect them from flu and support the NHS.
Millions of extra flu vaccines will soon be available to support the most comprehensive flu vaccination programme in the UK’s history.
More than 30 million people will be vaccinated this year to protect them from flu, with priority being given to the most vulnerable, elderly and children.
To support this, millions of doses of Flublok® have been authorised for supply by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) as part of our response to the ongoing public health crisis after it met the standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.
The vaccine has been used in the United States for the last 3 winters. A physically and biologically similar vaccine, Supemtek, was recommended for approval by the European Medicines Agency in September 2020. All vaccines, including Flublok®, undergo 3 stages of clinical trials and are assessed by the regulator for safety, effectiveness and quality before they are given to patients.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jonathan Van Tam said:
Flu can have serious consequences and vulnerable people can die of it. Having the vaccine protects you, and helps reduce transmission to others.
This winter more than ever, with COVID-19 still circulating, we need to help reduce all avoidable risks. Vaccinating more people will help reduce flu transmission and stop people becoming ill.
A free flu vaccine is available to:
- people aged 65 and over
- pregnant women
- people with some pre-existing conditions
- all school year groups up to Year 7
- household contacts of those on the NHS shielded patient list
Once vaccination of the most ‘at-risk’ groups is well underway, the department will work with clinicians to decide when to open the programme to invite people aged 50 to 64, with further details to be announced soon.
The NHS will contact people directly, including information about where to go to get the vaccine. Guidance has now gone out to GPs, pharmacies and trusts to provide information on how to access additional flu supply.
GPs, NHS trusts and community pharmacies will be able to order stock from the government’s centrally procured supply to complement their own flu vaccination stocks, ensuring as many people as possible are able to receive the vaccination this winter.
Dr Christian Schneider, Interim Chief Scientific Officer at the MHRA said:
The expanded flu vaccination programme is part of plans to ready the NHS – both for the risk of a second peak of coronavirus cases, and to relieve winter pressures on A&E and emergency care.
Increased vaccinations will help to reduce pressure on the NHS this winter by preventing flu-sickness, which can cause hospitalisation and even death.