PEOPLE across Gwent are being urged to get themselves vaccinated against flu, as part of a Wales-wide campaign to ensure as many as possible are protected in what promises to be a difficult winter for the NHS.

NHS Wales is gearing up for its largest ever flu vaccine programme, against the backdrop of the prospect of a second wave of coronavirus.

Flu too can be serious, particularly for those who are older or have a health condition and are thus more vulnerable to complications. Having a flu vaccine every year is one of the most effective ways to protect against it.

Those eligible for a free vaccine include people with long term health conditions, people aged 65 and over, pregnant women, children aged two-10 years old, carers, domiciliary carers, and care home staff with regular client contact, as well as care home residents.

The annual flu vaccine is strongly recommended for all frontline health and social care workers to protect themselves and those they care for.

Children aged two and three years (on August 31 this year), and all primary school children will be offered the vaccine in nasal spray form. Children from two years old that have a long term health condition can also receive a free flu nasal spray.

This year, new groups have been added to the eligible list, making it the largest ever national flu programme.

The new eligible groups include household contacts on the NHS shielded list and people with a learning disability.


In addition, people aged 50 and over may also be offered a free vaccine in a phased approach later in the flu season.

Research conducted by YouGov, on behalf of Public Health Wales, revealed that, of those people who would be eligible for the free vaccine, 68 per cent said that they would be ‘very likely’ to have the vaccine this year.

At the same time, the data also revealed that 50 per cent of respondents that answered and said they would be eligible, believe having a flu vaccine is ‘much more important’ this year as a result of coronavirus.

“This year we are extending the flu vaccine to more people than ever before. Flu spreads very easily and anyone can catch it," said health minister Vaughan Gething.

"However, it is especially dangerous to people who are more vulnerable, such as those with long term health conditions and pregnant women.

“This winter, with the continued presence of Covid-19, we want to ensure more people receive the flu vaccine. This is why we have increased the eligible groups.

“I understand that some people may be concerned about going to their community pharmacy or GP surgery to get their vaccine because of Covid-19, but surgeries and pharmacies will be following the latest safety practices.

“I strongly urge those who are eligible to have their vaccine as soon as possible to help protect themselves, their families and their community.”

Some Covid-19 symptoms are similar to flu, so experts are advising that people the latest advice and follow the current guidelines.