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Eligible people urged to have their vaccination as flu cases rise

Man in warm winter coat with text "get you flu and COVID-19 vaccinations"

Published: 21 December 2023

People eligible to receive winter respiratory illness vaccines are being urged to come forward after Public Health Wales published data showing recorded flu cases more than doubled in the past three weeks.

The latest data shows a significant increase in influenza test positivity in Wales, rising from 2.4 percent in the week ending November 27 to 4.4 percent in the week ending December 11. Public Health Wales’ Weekly Influenza and Acute Respiratory Infection Surveillance Report also shows the percentage of flu-related calls to NHS 111 Wales increased to 21.2 percent, up from 18.7 percent the previous week.

Dr Christopher Johnson, Consultant Epidemiologist and Head of Public Health Wales’ Vaccine Preventable Disease Programme, said: “Our data shows a concerning rise in flu cases in the population in a relatively short period of time, with similar patterns noticed in England.

“Flu can be a serious illness and it is important that we all act to protect the most vulnerable in our communities. It is well known that having a flu vaccine every year is one of the most effective ways to protect against flu. With both flu and Covid-19 circulating this winter, it is vital all those eligible get both vaccines as soon as possible.

“Side effects from vaccinations are usually mild and don’t last long. The chances of becoming seriously ill with Covid-19 or flu are greatly reduced by vaccination, as are the risks of spreading these viruses.”

It’s never been easier to get protected from common winter respiratory illnesses with walk-in clinics now available. People can visit the Public Health Wales website to find out if they are eligible and how to get vaccinated locally.

Those eligible for flu vaccination include:

  • People aged six months to 64 years in clinical risk groups
  • Children aged two and three years on 31 August 2023
  • Children in primary school from reception class to year 6
  • Children in secondary school from year 7 to year 11
  • People aged 65 years and older (age on 31 March 2024)
  • Pregnant women
  • Carers aged 16 and over
  • Staff in nursing homes and care homes with regular client contact
  • Frontline health and social care workers