The battle against influenza this winter will get underway across England in early October with a revamped campaign to encourage people to get vaccinated, it has been confirmed.
Public Health England’s marketing drive will kick off on 8 October, to tie in with the availability of the vaccine, and will target groups of people considered to be at particular risk, including pregnant women, parents of children aged two to three and adults with long-term conditions.
“This year, the public will be better protected from flu than ever before”
The campaign will be one of the first to be rolled out under the newly launched ‘Help Us Help You’ brand, which is urging people to take appropriate actions to better enable the NHS to support them.
As previously reported, a more effective “adjuvanted” vaccine will be made available in the UK for the first time this winter for people aged 65 and over.
- Routine use of new type of flu vaccine in older people ‘could prevent 1,700 deaths’
- New approved flu vaccine for older patients set for 2018
Leaders predict the new vaccine could reduce GP consultations by 30,000, hospitalisations by more than 2,000 and prevent more than 700 hospital deaths from flu in England. Eligible adults under 65 will get the quadrivalent vaccine that protects against four strains of flu.
Dr Paul Cosford
The nasal spray vaccine will be also made available to an extra 650,000 primary school children in year five.
The spray is already offered to children in years reception, one, two, three and four, and PHE said the programme would event be rolled out to all primary school pupils.
Professor Paul Cosford, medical director at PHE, said: “Flu is potentially a very serious illness, and we know adults over 65 are more likely to catch and have complications from flu so have the most to gain from an improved vaccine.
“By introducing an enhanced flu vaccine for this age group they will be better protected as well as helping to reduce the spread of flu to those around them,” he said.
“Further protection will be gained by offering flu vaccine to more children this year and giving a vaccine that provides protection against four strains of flu to all eligible people under the age of 65,” he added.
In addition, all frontline health service staff will be “expected” to have a flu vaccination, as reported earlier this week.
Professor Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer for England, said: “Faced with the worst flu season in a decade, NHS staff last winter did a remarkable job providing care for patients.
“This year, the public will be better protected from flu than ever before, with at-risk groups being offered the most effective vaccine available and every member of NHS staff expected to get their jab,” she said.
Eligible adults are encouraged to get their free vaccine from their local general practice or pharmacy before the end of November to protect themselves and their families before flu reaches its seasonal peak.