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New, more effective flu vaccine for people aged 65 and over

Public Health Wales is reminding people aged 65 and over that it’s not too late to have their free NHS flu vaccine.

Older people in Wales are being urged to get their flu vaccine now, before flu begins to circulate.

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This year there is a flu vaccine for those aged 65 and over that offers better protection. Vaccine deliveries have been staggered across the UK, which has meant some people have been asked to wait for their flu vaccine this year. However, all flu vaccines for older people have now been delivered.

This means that anyone who has been asked to wait and return later for the most appropriate flu vaccine should now get back in touch with their GP or community pharmacy and make sure they get their vaccine soon

Older people are more at risk of complications if they catch flu than younger people. Flu can be a serious illness, leading to complications like pneumonia, and every year people in Wales end up in hospital or intensive care units with flu.


Angharad Phillips of Age Cymru urges people to listen to the experts:

“Flu is still a very real health risk to us all, but especially for those of us who are older. This is why the NHS funds flu vaccination for people aged 65 and older every year and why a new vaccine has been developed this year for this age group.

“As we age our immune system becomes less efficient at protecting us and so we should take every precaution we can against a disease that can prove fatal to older people.

“Flu vaccine is the best protection we currently have against flu, it helps protect against catching flu and also against spreading flu to others.

“At Age Cymru we promote uptake of the free NHS flu vaccine every year as part of our own winter health and resilience campaign. We ask that people ‘Spread The Warmth’ to older people and not the flu! Get protected and protect others at the same time.”

Annual flu vaccine is the single best way to protect against flu, and this year there is a flu vaccine designed specifically for those aged 65: The adjuvanted flu vaccine (aTIV) injection is the most effective flu vaccine for those aged 65 and over, especially in those age 75 and over.

Welsh folk singer Dafydd Iwan, who turned 75 earlier this year, is urging other people like him to make an appointment now all supplies of the vaccine are available: “I think it’s great that there are different vaccines available this year that are better suited for older people like myself and while I understand the delivery of vaccine supplies have been staggered across the UK, I think it’s better to have a vaccine that is tailored for my specific needs.

“Although I’ve just reached my 75th birthday I still lead a very busy and active life and the last thing I want is to be out of action with flu.”

Flu does not usually start to circulate before mid-December, so people aged 65 and over should get their vaccine soon for the best possible protection.