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Henry Smith MP: Get vaccinated against the flu

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As our national response to COVID-19 continues, 30 million people will be asked to get vaccinated against the flu this year.

In England, the largest ever flu vaccination campaign is being launched, with all those eligible for the jab playing their part in saving lives.

Those able to receive the vaccine will be all primary school children as well as Year 7s for the first time; two- and three-year-olds; the most vulnerable people including adults aged 65 and over, those with long-term health conditions and pregnant women; and household contacts of people on the NHS Shielded Patient List and all health and social care workers who have direct contact with the people they care for.

After uptake has been maximised for the most at-risk groups, invites will extend to 50- to 64-year-olds later in the season, eligible for the first time in recognition of the scale of the healthcare challenges posed by the pandemic.

With research from Public Health England suggesting that those testing positive for both flu and COVID-19 were more than twice as likely to die compared to people with COVID-19 alone, the importance of getting your flu jab cannot be underestimated.

Those with co-infection of both viruses are also more at risk of severe illness. I urge everyone in the eligible groups to get the flu jab this winter.

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency

Henry Smith

Henry Smith MP: Brexit and a vaccine

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In his article this week, Crawley MP Henry Smith talks about Brexit and the new Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

As the UK entered the New Year it did so having finally delivered what Crawley and the country voted for in the Brexit referendum almost half a decade previously.

Last week I voted for the European Union (Future Relationship) Act which allows the British Government to implement and ratify the agreements secured between the UK and the EU.

With no role for the European Court of Justice and no requirements for the UK to continue to follow EU law, and no more payments of billions of pounds to Brussels, we fulfil one of the key aims of Brexit, which is to secure this country’s political and economic independence. This means, of course, that our laws are determined by elected politicians in the United Kingdom who are accountable to the British people.

Britain’s commitment to maintaining high labour, environment and climate standards now ensure we do not give the EU any say over our rules.

In areas such as the living wage, entitlements to sick pay, parental leave and annual leave, UK policy already goes further than EU requirements.

The Future Relationship Act represents the largest free trade agreement in history, not only allowing the UK full access to the EU but also the ability to strike trade deals globally, following recent agreements already signed with countries including Japan, Canada and Turkey.

Looking ahead to 2021; it is welcome that the start of the year has seen the roll-out of the UK-developed University of Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccination.

On Monday the NHS began administering over half a million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, with 100 million doses secured in total. This is part of a national vaccination programme alongside the Pfizer/BioNTech jab, which has already seen more people inoculated in the UK than the rest of Europe put together. Indeed Great Britain was first globally by several weeks in delivering COVID-19 vaccines to its citizens.

The Government’s plan to roll out vaccinations as swiftly as possible is well underway, with 1,000 vaccination sites up and running by the end of the week.

With this further welcome news on the vaccine we can see an end to the blight of Covid in sight. These are still challenging times but global Britain will deliver in 2021.

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency

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