The Government will be particularly targeting vulnerable groups in its flu vaccine campaign this autumn.
Recently published statistics – covering flu vaccine uptake in 2019/20 – revealed that 55% of patients aged 65 and over, received a seasonal flu vaccination with a GP or pharmacist.
This was 20% lower that the World Health Organisation’s recommended uptake for this age-group.
However, the Government is confident that last winter’s uptake was significantly higher after a campaign last autumn that stressed the importance of the jab against the backdrop of covid.
The Government say that a high uptake of the flu vaccine helps improve the respiratory health of all islanders, reduces the pressure on the health service and improves the delivery of care.
Although covid-19 and flu are different, it adds that inoculation against flu avoids confusion between the two, which can only be unravelled by testing, and having flu increases the transmissibility of covid, especially if someone is not showing symptoms.
Pictured: "We will be launching a direct campaign to encourage as many vulnerable islanders as possible to be vaccinated against flu," the Health Minister said.
Health Minister Deputy Richard Renouf said: “We are confident that our statistics for flu vaccination will be higher than the figures we saw in 2019/2020. For example, we rolled out the programme to a wider age group - to those 50 and over, rather than 65 and over as in previous years, as well as for all children and healthcare workers.
“We vaccinate school children and health care workers as it provides Jersey with very strong, community-wide protection and significantly reduces the risk of the flu being passed onto vulnerable islanders.
“The roll out of the flu vaccination campaign last year will also have helped build an immune resistance to help avoid an epidemic this season.
“However, we will be launching a direct campaign to encourage as many vulnerable islanders as possible to be vaccinated against flu”
“We will, again, be inviting all islanders 50 and over which will mitigate against any risk of resurgent flu infections and also avoid coincident circulation of both influenza and covid-19.
“It is important to note that the flu virus and covid-19 are different, but both affect the respiratory system.
“Co-circulation and co-infection bring increased risk of more severe disease and therefore has the potential to impact the healthcare system.
“A strong vaccination campaign for both viruses will work alongside one another to help protect islanders and our vital services.”
News of another strong flu campaign planned in Jersey comes as reports from the UK suggest that flu could be an even bigger problem that Covid this winter.
Professor Anthony Harnden, the Deputy Chair of the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, recently told the BBC’s Today programme: “I will emphasise that flu could be potentially a bigger problem this winter than covid.
“We’ve had a very, very low prevalence of flu for the last few years, particularly virtually nil during lockdown, and we do know that when flu has been circulating in very low numbers immunity drops in the population, and it comes back to bite us.
“So, flu can be really, really important this winter.”
Meanwhile, it was reported yesterday that all UK over-50s would be offered a third covid-19 jab alongside the flu vaccine from September. The Times said this could mean a jab in each arm.
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