With the flu season fast approaching and the country still reeling from the COVID-19 epidemic, Enfield Council’s Leader has sought assurances that the borough’s residents will have access to enough flu vaccines this winter.
Cllr Nesil Caliskan has written to the North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock MP outlining her concerns.
Of particular worry is that there have been critical delays in the delivery of vaccines in previous years. In addition, Enfield has a lower uptake of the winter flu vaccine compared to other London boroughs. Enfield Council staff and the North Central London CCG are working together to reverse this trend and Cllr Caliskan has written to every Enfield household, encouraging residents to have the flu vaccination.
Cllr Caliskan said: “Increasing the number of people getting the flu vaccine is a priority this year to help protect our communities and the health and social care sectors from the significant challenges ahead. A winter flu season during the coronavirus pandemic could be catastrophic, particularly for the elderly and vulnerable.
“We have been let down in previous years by delays in the supply of the flu vaccine and the recent failure of government to provide adequate numbers of tests for COVID-19 has also strengthened my concerns.
“It is critical that all Enfield residents who are eligible for the flu vaccine will be able to receive it this year in time for them to be protected over the winter flu season. If there are any concerns in regard to the delivery of this year’s vaccination programme, we need to know.”
This year, eligibility for the free flu vaccine has been broadened, a move that has been welcomed by Enfield Council. Those who are eligible include:
- Those aged 65 years and over on 31 March 2021
- Pregnant women
- Those with a serious long-term health condition
- Front-line staff working in health, education, the care sector and social workers
- Primary school children and secondary school year 7 pupils
Later in the year it is planned that the flu vaccine will be given to 50-64 year olds. More information will be available in the coming weeks.
A full list of people who are advised to get the NHS flu vaccine can be found at NHS - Flu vaccine.
General information about the virus can be found at NHS - Flu.
If you have a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; or a loss or change in your sense of small or taste, it could be coronavirus. If you have any one of these symptoms, you are advised to book a COVID-19 test and isolate until you get your results.