This winter, Gibraltar will see the largest vaccination campaign in its history. The impact of COVID-19 circulating at the same time as the flu could have disastrous results which could easily overwhelm our health services. The flu kills up to 650,000 people worldwide each year and causes illness in millions of others. 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. 12-18 year olds with no underlying medical condition can be vaccinated as from November 2020. 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. To help contain the spread of flu, the 2020 vaccination programme will include:
•All children aged 2 – 11 years
•‘High risk’ children aged 12 -18 years
•Seniors aged 65 and above
•Adults under the age of 65 with medical conditions that place them at High Risk
The 2020 Flu vaccination programme will commence on Monday 28 September for 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 1300 to 1800 each working day. An appointment can be made by calling 20052441 from 1300 – 1500, Monday to Friday. Calls should not be made in the morning to ensure that phone lines for GP appointments are not blocked.
Vaccinations for persons over the age of 65 will start to be offered in October.
Details will be announced later.
Public Health and the GHA urge everyone to have their flu jabs as soon as they become available. 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.
Minister of Health, the Hon Samantha Sacramento said, ‘I encourage everyone to take up the offer of the flu vaccine. 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.’