Millions of Brits will miss out on a free flu jab this winter, it has been reported.
The news comes amid a major change to the flu jab rollout.
Millions of Brits to miss out on flu jab
Millions of Brits who got a free flu jab last year won’t be eligible to receive one this year, officials have announced.
Brits between the ages of 50 and 64 won’t be invited to receive a flu jab this year. This marks a U-turn on rollouts that were carried out during Covid.
However, the move hasn’t gone down well with experts. They argue that it is “short-sighted”.
Experts slam flu jab U-turn
The experts have warned that the latest U-turn could see the NHS overwhelmed if a major flu outbreak were to happen.
Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist, told the MailOnline: “I think that this is very short-term thinking that will inevitably result in more people getting sick – increasing the burden on the NHS.”
However, UK Health Security Agency officials have ruled that offering jabs to the extra age group wouldn’t be cost-effective.
This year’s flu vaccination drive means that the blanket cut-off age will be 65.
However, younger Brits with underlying medical conditions that leave them at risk of getting seriously ill are still eligible. Pregnant women, children aged 2 or 3 on August 21, 2023, and primary school children are all eligible too.
Change to rollout
Since the pandemic began, flu jab rollouts have been “challenging” and “ambitious”. This was due to the jab being offered to “as many eligible people as possible”.
Flu jabs were offered to 50-64-year-olds during the pandemic due to the risk of co-infection with Covid. This was done to alleviate pressure on the NHS.
Professor Stephen Griffin, another virologist, said that there are “clear health benefits” to offering the flu jab to the over-50s.
“This has obvious implications for our already struggling NHS,” he said of flu-jab rollout change.
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