Flu kills, on average, 11,000 people in England each year and hospitalises many more. New research from Public Health England suggests the risk of death more than doubled for people who tested positive for both flu and COVID-19, compared to those with COVID-19 alone.

This year the health system is aiming to provide the free flu vaccine to 30 million people, the highest number on record. The groups of people who are normally eligible are still being encouraged to get the vaccine. However this year, to help protect as many people as possible, the free vaccine is being offered to additional groups of people including:

  • Frontline health and social care workers (with the aim of vaccinating 100% of the workforce)
  • Family members of people who on the NHS Shielded Patient list
  • Children in year 7

Frontline healthcare workers, including pharmacists and GPs, will be key to making sure as many people as possible in their communities (who are eligible), sign up to receive the free vaccine. As well as sending out campaign packs at the start of October, PHE have put together a great online resources hub for frontline health workers, to help them to promote the flu vaccine in their community.

Dr Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director at Public Health England, said:

“It is dangerous to dismiss influenza as ‘just’ the flu – it can be extremely serious and can lead to hospitalisation, permanent disability or even death.

The flu vaccine is more important than ever, to help reduce transmission of flu and protect the nation from the double threat of flu and COVID-19. You may be offered it for the first time this year.”