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Free flu vaccinations rolled out to over 50s

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People aged 50 to 64 will get free flu vaccine The Government aims to protect as many people as possible from the flu this winter

People aged 50 to 64 will get free flu vaccine from 1 December as part of expanded flu vaccination programme this winter, the Department of Health and Social Care has announced.

Those eligible 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 under way. Flu vaccine uptake is higher in all vulnerable groups except pregnant women compared with this time last year. Provisional data published by Public Health England on Thursday 20 November suggests 72.9% of those aged 65 and over, 45.0% of 2 year olds and 46.8% of 3 year olds have had their vaccine.

Read more: COVID-19: New vaccine shows 95% protection

‘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. I am pleased we are now able to deliver on that commitment with those aged 50 to 64 invited to get their free flu vaccine from the start of December,’ said Public Health Minister Jo Churchill.

‘These vaccinations are already being given to our existing priority groups and that vital work will continue. More vaccine is flowing into GPs and pharmacies throughout the next few months, and I would urge anyone eligible for their flu vaccine to get one, including all health and social care workers.’

Read more: COVID-19: Extremely vulnerable to receive tailored advice

According to the Department of Health and Social Care, there is enough flu vaccine supply to vaccinate 30 million people throughout this year’s flu season in England. The roll-out of the flu vaccine to over 50s is separate to any future COVID-19 vaccine roll-out and people will be able to receive the flu and COVID-19 vaccinations in parallel

‘Influenza vaccination is a critical tool this and every winter to prevent severe illnesses and potential hospitalisations for thousands of people,’ said Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England Professor Jonathan Van-Tam.

‘I urge all those who are eligible for the flu vaccine, including the new group of 50 to 64 year olds, to book their appointments as soon as they can.’

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