RECORD numbers of Brits are being offered the flu jab this winter – with nearly one in two eligible.
And for the first time ever, all primary schoolchildren across England will get the vaccine on the NHS.
The bumper immunisation programme follows a spike of deadly cases in Australia in recent months.
In total, 25 million people in England will be offered the free flu jab.
Officials are also introducing an egg-free version of the vaccine for the first time.
Experts predict the new jab, made from animal cells in the lab, will offer patients better protection.
Professor Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director at Public Health England, said: “This year, more vaccines are available and every primary school child will be offered a flu vaccine.
“Children are ‘super spreaders’ of flu. Flu vaccination not only protects the children but it also protects other more vulnerable members of the community from a potentially horrible illness.”
JABS FOR MEDICS
Officials warned nurses and doctors should also get their jabs to protect vulnerable patients.
Uptake was around 70 per cent among healthcare workers last year – but in some areas it was as low as 40 per cent.
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, said: “We do know that flu infections, while sometimes severe, can also be asymptomatic, and staff can spread flu without realising it.
“From a patient perspective, you don’t want to be in a situation where you feel that seven out ten of the healthcare professionals you meet will be vaccinated; you’d like to be in a situation where nine or ten out of ten you meet are vaccinated.
“So I think there’s a very, very strong professional responsibility on healthcare workers to be vaccinated.”
Unison head of health Sara Gorton said forcing staff to get the jab would be counterproductive.
She said: “No NHS worker would ever willingly put patients or colleagues at risk. But the highest vaccination rates are in trusts that encourage staff to get the jab, not those where employees are coerced.”
Last month, one of the vaccine makers warned there would be delivery delays.
Sanofi Pasteur said a third of its jabs would arrive after Brexit deadline day on October 31.
But officials said patients would not be affected – with an extra 400,000 doses ordered from other makers.
- GOT a news story? RING us on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL [email protected]
Source: Read Full Article