Flu vaccine shortage 2020: Is the flu jab running out in the UK?

29 September 2020, 13:51

There are a shortage of flu jabs in the UK
There are a shortage of flu jabs in the UK. Picture: Getty Images

Is there a flu vaccination shortage in the UK? Find out about getting your flu jab this winter.

Flu season is quickly approaching in the UK, and vaccinations have never been more important.

Public Health England (PHE) has said that people are twice as likely to die if they contract Covid-19 and winter flu at the same time.

But there are now reports that jabs are ‘running low across the UK’ due to pandemic demand. So is there a flu jab shortage? Here’s what we know…

30 million people are entitled to a flu jab this year
30 million people are entitled to a flu jab this year. Picture: PA Images

Is there a flu vaccine shortage in the UK?

According to reports, a shortage in flu vaccinations has left tens of thousands of people vulnerable across England.

Pharmacies Boots and Lloyds had to suspend bookings for over-65s because of a shortage of the vaccine last week.

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Patients at NHS surgeries also face a long wait for their yearly jab, with demand believed to be ten times higher than it was last year.

This is the first year all over-50s can get a free flu vaccination, with PHE hoping to give out jabs to 30 million people this winter.

Officials have urged people to accept their invitation to get a flu jab, warning that both influenza and Covid-19 could be circulating at the same time.

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) said it’s essential the most vulnerable people get their vaccinations by the end of November.

Spokesman or the RCGP, Dr George Kassianos said: "From the middle of December we usually see the influenza case rate rising - it then peaks in January or February before coming down.

"It is essential at-risk groups are vaccinated in September, October or November."

Greg Clark, chairman of the Commons science committee, also said suppressing the flu helps fight Covid.

He said: “It reduces the number of people with Covid-like symptoms’ who would need to isolate and be tested, and by reducing the severity of the impact on those who do get Covid."

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