The Welsh Government has expanded its flu vaccination programme so that people over 50s and those in secondary school will remain eligible for a free vaccine this winter.
Additionally, pregnant women, those with underlying health conditions and children aged two to 10 years of age will also be eligible for a free vaccine in the 2022/23 flu season.
This will mean more than 1.5 million people in Wales will be eligible for a free flu vaccine this year, with health boards handed a share of £7.85 million to cover the costs, the Welsh Government said in a statement yesterday (12 April).
This comes after the English Government announced last week it would be scrapping its extended free vaccine programme for the 2022/23 season – which also included 50-65s and secondary school children.
Eluned Morgan, minister for health and social services in Wales, explained that the extended programme has been rolled out for another year due to the high presence of Covid in the community.
‘Covid has not gone away and our NHS is still very much recovering from the pandemic, ensuring as many people are protected from the flu will not only help individuals and their communities but also protect our NHS,’ she said.
According to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), there were 37,819 positive cases recorded yesterday (12 April) and 288 deaths within 28 days of a positive test.
Previously, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) indicated that there is likely to be an autumn booster programme for Covid-19 vaccinations across the UK and there may be opportunities for co-administration throughout the 2022-23 season.
‘Those planning and administering vaccines should utilise these opportunities where appropriate, to help maximise vaccine uptake,’ the Welsh Government added.