Vaccination: Older People

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered at on 4 September 2023.

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Photo of Maggie Throup Maggie Throup Conservative, Erewash

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people in the 50 to 64 age cohort will o be included for vaccination in the 2023/24 winter season.

Photo of Maria Caulfield Maria Caulfield The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)

The Department is guided by the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on the approach to the immunisation programmes in England. Details about the flu vaccination programme for 2023/24, including which groups will be eligible for a free vaccine and the vaccines that will be reimbursable to National Health Service providers, were published on 25 May 2023. The groups eligible for a free flu vaccine for the 2023 to 2024 season include those aged 65 years and over and those aged six months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, eligibility for the influenza programme was temporarily extended to include all adults aged between 50 and 64 years of age to protect the population from the potential threat of cocirculation of COVID-19 and influenza and alleviate pressure on the NHS. In the JCVI’s advice for the 2023/24 programme published in November 2022, it stated that whilst there would be a health benefit in vaccinating low risk 50–64-year-olds, it is uncertain whether this would be cost effective and that the overall priority should be to extend the childhood programme in secondary schools as this would be more cost effective and likely to have a greater impact on morbidity and mortality compared with vaccinating 50-64 year olds. An expansion of the flu programme to include secondary school-aged children was announced on 4 July 2023.

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