Local Member of the Welsh Parliament, Laura Anne Jones, has called on the Welsh Government to expand eligibility of people to get a flu jab this winter.
Her call comes after new research from Public Health England suggests that people who tested positive for both flu and Covid-19 were more than twice as likely to die, compared to those with Covid-19 alone. The research also found that those with co-infection of the two viruses were more at risk of severe illness.
The flu vaccination programme is being expanded in England to help protect people from flu and ease pressure on the NHS and urgent care services. The health system is working to provide the free flu vaccine to 30 million people, the highest number on record, including:
- All primary school children, and, for the first time, Year 7 children.
- Two- and three-olds.
- The most vulnerable people, including adults aged 65 and over, those with long-term health conditions and pregnancy women.
- Household contact of people on the NHS Shielded Patient List and all health and social care workers who have direct contact with the people they care for.
Once uptake has been maximised in the most at-risk groups, the newly eligible 50-64-year olds will be invited for vaccination later in the season.
Commenting, Laura Anne Jones said, “I am very concerned at the results of the research done by Public Health England.
“As we approach the winter, it is imperative that everyone who needs a flu vaccination takes up the offer to have one, and that the Welsh Government expands eligibility for a jab as they have done in England.
“I urge everyone in South East Wales who is eligible at present to get vaccinated, which could make an important difference if they should also catch coronavirus in the months ahead.
“Controlling the spread of coronavirus and protecting the NHS is on all of us – we must all wash out hands, cover our faces and make space – as well as taking sensible steps like getting a flu jab.”