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Major flu vaccine campaign launched to ease Covid-19 pressure

The Gibraltar Government has launched the largest vaccination campaign in its history, in a bid to avoid the “disastrous results” of Covid-19 and the flu circulating this winter.

To prevent a scenario where the Gibraltar Health Authority could become “easily overwhelmed” with flu and Covid-19 cases the Government is encouraging people to get their flu vaccine this winter.

The 2020 flu vaccination programme will commence today, Monday, September 28 for adults under the age of 65 with medical conditions that place them at High Risk.

Flu jabs will be made available to those aged over 65 in October and for those not in these categories more details on the programme will be announced at a later date.

Public Health and the GHA have urged everyone to have their flu jabs as soon as they become available.

“The flu kills up to 650,000 people worldwide each year and causes illness in millions of others,” the Government said in a press statement.

“Increased numbers of vaccinations will help to reduce the pressure on our health services and will protect the community.”

“Seasonal flu can be spread by children among themselves and to adults.”

Children between the ages of 2 and 11 years of age will be offered the non-invasive ‘sniff’ approach.

“This means that there are no needles and no pain.”

“Nurses will visit schools to offer the Fluenz Tetra vaccine to children whose parents have given consent.”

Those aged between 12 to 18 years with no underlying medical condition can be vaccinated as from November.

The flu vaccine is particularly recommended for all persons aged 65 years or over. It is also strongly recommended for all persons aged between 6 months and 65 years who suffer from diseases which put them at High Risk.

“I encourage everyone to take up the offer of the flu vaccine,” the Minister of Health Samantha Sacramento said.

“This year, more than ever before, it is important that we reduce the number of people suffering from flu so that we can focus all our attention and our resources on those who are Covid positive.”

“If you are vaccinated against flu, you are actually helping us to fight Covid.”

To help contain the spread of flu, the 2020 vaccination programme will include all children aged two to 11 years, ‘high risk’ children aged 12 -18 years, seniors aged 65 and above and adults under the age of 65 with medical conditions that place them at high risk.

Vaccinations will be given at the ground floor of the Primary Care Centre by means of appointments scheduled from 1pm to 6pm each working day.

An appointment can be made by calling 20052441 from 1pm – 3pm, Monday to Friday.

“Calls should not be made in the morning to ensure that phone lines for GP appointments

are not blocked,” the Government said.

Companies/departments who provide Front Line or Essential Services and would like vaccinations to be given on site (a minimum of 10 persons) should contact the Public Health department on 20007018 or 20007017.