A patient who was diagnosed with pneumonia in hospital is going to need a flu jab to prevent the illness from spreading, as the National Health Service (NHS) is warning against over-reacting to the pandemic.
The National Health Action Plan (NHAP), which has been published for public comment, warns that people should not be “over-reactive to events, such as flu or coronavirus, and should be aware that some events could cause them to become ill.”
A new set of guidelines, published in the Lancet, say the government should “consider a national vaccination plan that covers all potential flu cases and preventable infections in England, and to recommend the vaccination schedule for people with severe symptoms”.
The National Polio Response Centre (NPRC) has warned that there is a risk of under-reporting of flu cases, with people reporting to hospitals for flu shots who may have been exposed to the virus in a different setting.
“In the case of a person who has previously been vaccinated, we should not expect them to get a new flu shot unless they have previously reported a flu case,” it said in the document.
“However, if they do not have a history of flu, then we should consider vaccinating them to reduce the risk of future flu exposure.”
In the wake of the coronaviruses pandemic, NHS England has been under pressure to provide the public with the vaccine.
It has also been criticised for not providing the information on which to base the vaccination decision, despite a recommendation to the National Advisory Committee on Immunisation (NACI) that it should.
However, NHS Wales said the NHS was “taking the issue of public health with the utmost seriousness”.
It said it had “serious concerns” about the coronas and that the “public health community is working together to provide this information as soon as possible”.
“We will continue to work with the public health community and health authorities to support them to develop a public health strategy that is best for the NHS and our patients,” it added.
The NPRC said that while there were concerns about the flu vaccine, there was a need for the “right level of confidence” in the public about the effectiveness of the vaccine and the health benefits it could provide.
“However there is also a need to recognise that there are other things that we need to focus on, such to develop more robust and robust vaccination programmes for older people, for those who are in need of care for some other condition, and for people who are under-prepared for a flu vaccine,” it stated.
This could include providing more information about the vaccine’s safety, efficacy and long-term effects, it added, while also offering guidance on how to make informed decisions about vaccination.
“We need to work hard to ensure that the public have a clear understanding of the risks and benefits of flu vaccine.
That way we can take appropriate steps to help ensure the public get the best vaccine,” the NPRC added.
The NHS said it would work with local authorities, NHS Foundation Trusts, health organisations and NHS England to make the vaccine more available.
NHS Wales is also working with the Health Protection Agency and the National Vaccine Information Centre to provide information about flu shots to people who have not had one in the past 24 hours.
More than 3,000 people are believed to have been infected by the flu in England so far, and there are more than 4,000 hospitalisations expected.
Health Secretary Mark Drakeford said the Government was “making sure we have the right level of flu vaccination for the next few weeks”, but added: “The NHS will do all we can to keep people safe.”