NHS left in crisis ‘after vaccine advertising budget cut’ says ex-vaccine secretary

Maggie Trope, who was in charge of the vaccination program until September last year, said: “The message has not reached us and we are seeing the result in numbers in flu and Covid hospitals. the entire NHS.

The Ministry of Health spent £3m promoting flu and Covid vaccinations in the run-up to Christmas, up from £11.5m a year earlier.

In the fall, free flu vaccines were offered to all people over 50, but only 35% of people — about one in three — aged 50 to 64 who are not at risk due to a pre-existing illness, took advantage of the offer. Even among those considered at clinical risk, only 57 percent of people in the 50 to 64 age group received the flu vaccine.

The fall Covid booster campaign began in early September, but by the end of December, only 42% of people aged 50 and 61% of people aged 60 to 64 had been vaccinated.

The figures were released in response to questions from Ms Trope, currently an MP. She said: “There are a lot of flu cases in the hospital and quite a few Covid cases.

“This speaks to the low level of vaccine use, otherwise we would be more protected, which is why I asked questions. Exposure in hospitals affects patients with other conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, and so on.

“People think Covid is gone and there is also vaccine fatigue. The flu is also a big problem, and it has always been expected.”

She said health experts had warned ministers last year to expect a spike in flu cases as flu season began in Australia.

There were also concerns, she said, that rising electricity bills meant households were likely to cut heating costs.

More than 6,000 hospital beds were occupied by flu patients in early January, according to the NHS. The last figure is 2739 beds.

The number of hospital beds occupied by people with confirmed cases of Covid was over 9,500 at the end of December and currently stands at 6,200.

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services said: “Our phenomenal Covid-19 vaccination program has been a huge success.

“In just two years, more than 167 million shots have been made in the UK and more than 20 million people have already received a flu shot.

“We are doing everything we can to help the NHS get through the winter, including deploying some 34 million Covid and flu vaccines.”

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