The UK Government is rolling out a more comprehensive flu vaccination programme this year. The aim is to try and relieve pressure on the National Health Service (NHS) in the winter months when there could be a potential second wave of Covid-19.

For the first time, adults aged between 50 and 64 will be eligible for a free flu vaccine; normally, this service is only offered to those aged over 65, with certain pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, and primary school children.

By offering a free flu vaccine to more people, the UK is increasing the number of people who can vaccinated against flu to 30 million. Last year, just over 15 million people in the UK received a free flu vaccination.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty said: “Flu can have serious consequences and vulnerable people can die of it. Having the vaccine protects you, and helps reduce transmission to others.

“This winter more than ever, with Covid-19 still circulating, we need to help reduce all avoidable risks.”

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock added: “We are now taking another important step to help protect the wider public by giving the flu vaccination to more people than ever before.

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“This will be the biggest flu vaccination programme in history, and will help protect our NHS as we head into winter.”