Government has today announced its most comprehensive vaccination program ever in preparation for the 2020/2021 winter flu season – 30 million people are expected to be immunised.
The Department of Health says the expanded vaccination program is being rolled out to protect vulnerable people and to support the NHS over winter by keeping cases of flu to a minimum. Free vaccines will be made available to people aged 50 and over, with households of ‘shielded people’ also being provided with the vaccinations free of charge.
The program will start by vaccinating the most ‘at-risk’ groups; Once this is ‘well underway’ the Department of Health will work with the NHS to decide on when to open the program up to more people.
Governments believe is that if they vaccinate as many people as they can, now, that it will keep the NHS ready for a potential second wave of Coronavirus.
Department of Health minister Matt Hancock 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.
“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”
Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty 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.”
While this drive to vaccinate as many people in the Uk from the strain of flu scientists think may do the most damage this year – and while government say they aim on vaccinating 30 million people; it is curious that the department of health continue to talk about vaccines being free to some, but not to others.
The UK has around 13.9 million disabled people, 12 Million pensioners and around 10 million children. when we take these numbers into consideration, and we think about how many people live and work near them, the amounts of people who should receive the flu vaccine quickly pile up. This plan is undoubtedly good, although the government may be better simply vaccinating everyone.
Who knows, with everyone living much cleaner lives, covering their faces while in public and existing in our socially distances bubbles, the flu might not be able to affect society in the ways it usually does.