Health supplements fitness Free flu jab to be given to more people in Wales – BBC News

Health supplements fitness Free flu jab to be given to more people in Wales – BBC News

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More people in Wales could be offered a free flu jab, Vaughan Gething has suggested

Wales’ largest ever flu campaign will see more people benefit from free vaccination, the health minister announced on Friday.

It followed news that this would be the case in England in case of a winter coronavirus spike.

The vaccination programme will include the shielding group and the eligibility age will be lowered from 65 to 50.

There will also be extra supplies of the nasal spray flu vaccine for toddlers and primary school children.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething said: “This winter more than ever we need to protect the most vulnerable in our community and continue to protect our NHS. 

“By extending the flu vaccine to more people than ever before, we can help prevent people becoming ill and reduce pressure on the NHS this winter.

“I would urge anyone who is eligible to have the vaccine.”

Chief Medical Officer for Wales Frank Atherton said: “Everyone who is eligible for a NHS flu vaccine should be confident about having it to protect themselves and those around them this winter.

“Those already eligible, which include some of the most vulnerable in our community will receive the vaccination first and via a phased approach our programme will be rolled out further to the over 50s and households of those shielding.”

Mr Gething had previously said he could not make any guarantees as he had not been told of the UK government’s plans.

He said it was “disappointing” an agreement on broadening the flu programme had not been reached between the four home nations.

“When it comes to supply of the flu vaccine, there’s a UK-wide system,” Mr Gething told BBC Radio Wales.

“The UK government procures flu vaccine for all four UK nations, so there should be enough flu vaccine available in Wales to match the way that other UK countries undertake that.”

He said he “hadn’t been aware” an announcement was being made about England.

The jab is being rolled out widely there in case the annual seasonal flu coincides with a coronavirus surge.

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Vaughan Gething said he was not aware an announcement about the plan for England was going to be made

“I’d expect there to be a consistent set of advice between the four chief medical officers,” Mr Gething said.

“If we have assurances about the amount of flu vaccine available, I’d struggle to see why there’d be any reason to be inconsistent.”

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “The flu vaccination campaign is a key priority for the coming winter and we are planning the largest ever programme in Wales.

“Details of the programme will be announced shortly”.

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