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More than 35 million Brits to get FREE flu jab this winter amid deadly bug fears

MORE than 35 million Brits will be offered a flu jab this winter amid fears of a resurgence of the deadly bug. 

The free vaccine programme is set to be expanded to all over-50s and secondary school children up to Year 11 in a bid to tackle a possible wave of infections. 

More than 35 million Brits will be offered a flu jab this winter amid fears of a resurgence of the deadly bug (stock image)


More than 35 million Brits will be offered a flu jab this winter amid fears of a resurgence of the deadly bug (stock image)Credit: PA:Press Association

It comes as the NHS seeks to prevent a large flu wave coinciding with its battle against Covid, which experts fear could spike again in the colder months. 

Flu jabs will be available from September for children aged two and three on August 31, all primary school children, people aged 50 and over, pregnant women, unpaid carers, and frontline health and adult social care staff.

The enlarged drive will build on last year’s expanded flu programme the Department of Health and Social Care said, which saw a record 19 million jabs being administered.


Experts have warned that the UK has low levels of immunity from flu as a result of lockdown and social distancing measures. 

Cases of flu were 95 per cent lower than normal last year which could spark a bumper flu season in the winter, according to estimates by The Royal College of General Practitioners.

Seasonal flu usually kills around 7,000 people a year – though officials are concerned this could rise this year amid waning immunity. 

The Government is also seeking to prevent flu from undermining the health service’s resources as it fights Covid.

The NHS is planning for a major double vaccination drive, where the most vulnerable people will get a flu and Covid vaccine at the same time. This will be people’s third “booster” Covid shot.

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Ministers are set to decide in the coming weeks whether a third Covid shot will be needed for the most vulnerable in September. 


The announcement follows the release of a report last week which urged the NHS to prepare now to avoid a “worst case scenario” of 60,000 flu deaths. 

A gloomy report from the Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS) warns of a “triple whammy” of Covid, flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) – which people have typically caught by the age of two.

It goes on to estimate that between 15,000 and 60,000 people could die from flu this winter, according to modelling, compared to a typical year of 10,000 to 30,000 in England.

Urging people to take the jab, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Flu can be a serious illness and we want to build a wall of protection by immunising a record number of people.

“With the nation getting closer to normal life, we must learn to live with Covid-19 alongside other viruses and we’re offering the free flu jab to millions more people to help keep them safe this winter.”

Dr Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director at Public Health England, urged Brits to get inoculated as she warned of a “challenging Winter”. 

She said: “Last winter, flu activity was extremely low, but this is no reason for complacency as it means less people have built up a defence against the virus. 

“Combined with the likelihood that Covid-19 will still be circulating, this makes the coming flu season highly unpredictable.”


The jab will be freely available to:

  • All children aged two and three on 31 August 2021
  • All children in primary and all children in school Years 7 to 11 in secondary school
  • Those aged six months to under 50 years in clinical risk groups
  • Pregnant women
  • Those aged 50 years and over
  • Unpaid carers
  • Close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
  • Frontline health and adult social care staff


Brits will treat Covid like flu with lockdowns unlikely to be needed again, Chris Whitty says

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