England is going to provide free flu vaccines to primary school students. The health services have announced to give vaccines to 600,000 children age 10 – 11. And promised the availability of the vaccine no matter what’s the Brexit outcome. On the contrary, this initiative will protect the children and their families against the flu virus.
Exceed the last year flu vaccination targets
Children are believed as super-spreaders. Considering this, they are capable of infecting others in their family. And provide a potential threat to the elderly. This year’s vaccination campaign is the biggest ever. As it will offer free flu vaccines to 25 million people.
That includes nearly 600,000 primary school students. Whereas, all children age 2 – 11 will receive nasal spray vaccines in the coming weeks. NHS England, the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England have said that last year’s flu season wasn’t much severe.
But still, it affected hospital and ICU admissions. And caused nearly 1,700 deaths. Whereas those with the highest risk are elderly and people with health problems. Prof. Yvonne Doyle is the medical director at Public Health England.
She said that last year 72% of over 5s received the vaccination. And this year they hope to take this figure to 75%. The bad flu season is a threat every winter. Flu is a serious condition that can be deadly for the most vulnerable people of the population.
Prof. Yvonne Doyle added that the uptake among people under 65 but susceptible population due to chronic illnesses was 48%. And they hope to increase it to 55%. While the intake was 45% among pregnant women and 70% among healthcare workers.
Role of healthcare workers
The rates of immunized healthcare workers vary from one NHS trust to the other. Some trusts manage to vaccine 90% of the workers, while others could manage only 40 – 50%.
Sally Davies is England’s chief medical officer. In June, she told the parliamentary committee that all healthcare workers who have refused the flu vaccines should wear a lapel badge. As it will warn their patients that they weren’t protected.
Prof Jonathan Van-Tam is the deputy chief medical officer for England. He stated that it was an element of professional responsibility that had led to the decision for vaccination of healthcare staff. He also said that they know that flu infections can be asymptomatic.
And the healthcare workers can spread flu without even realizing it. Moreover, a patient doesn’t want to consider 7 out of 10 healthcare workers he will meet to be labeled as vaccinated. Instead, he wants 9 out of 10 to be vaccinated.
Representing healthcare workers said that the staff responded best to the encouragement. Sara Gorton is the union’s head of health. She stated that no NHS worker intentionally put colleagues or patients at risk.
But the vaccination rates are highest in trusts that encourage their staff to get the job instead of those that coerce employees. Van-Tam stated that there will be the provision of free flu vaccines, even if England crashes out of Europe.
He also said that most of the required flu vaccines will arrive in the UK before the end of October. And all primary school students will receive them by next week. Whereas, the only exception will be supplied for under 65 population due to chronic conditions.