UK Govt Launches Covid and Flu Vax ‘Marketing Campaign’ Aimed at Pregnant Women, Minorities

A pregnant woman receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 at a vaccination center in Bogota, on July 23, 2021. - Colombia started to inoculate pregnant women who have three months of gestation or more. (Photo by Raul ARBOLEDA / AFP) (Photo by RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP via Getty Images)
RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP via Getty Images

The British government has launched a Covid booster and flu jab drive, with pregnant women, ethnic minorities, and “individuals with long term health conditions” targeted in particular.

The vaccine drive, described as a “marketing campaign” in an official press release on the government’s website, urges “millions to boost their immunity this winter” against coronavirus and influenza.

“Adverts will air across television, radio, social and digital media, stressing the importance of people getting both vaccines to increase their protection this winter,” the government stated, noting that “almost 10 million people in England have already received their boosters.”

People “with long term health conditions, pregnant women and ethnic minority communities” will receive “targeted communications”, with “a particular focus on those with low vaccine confidence” — with the likes of London mayor Sadiq Khan having previously noted that minorities, in particular, are less likely to be vaccinated, and even suggesting they should be given preferential treatment to boost uptake.

Indeed, the government complained in its release that “[v]accination for flu is currently behind last season for pre-schoolers (12.1% in all 2 year olds and 12.8% in all 3 year olds), pregnant women (12.4%) and under 65s in a clinical risk group (18.2%).”

“The restrictions we had in place to curb the spread of COVID and protect the NHS last year also prevented the flu virus from spreading as we would normally expect to see, so levels of immunity in the population are likely quite low,” suggested Dr Thomas Waite, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, in comments quoted in the release.

“As winter approaches, we can expect flu and COVID cases to rise in all age groups. Getting vaccinated against both viruses is the most important thing you can do to reduce your chances of getting seriously ill… it is important to be protected before any winter surges begin,” he added.

Dr Mary Ramsay, Director of Immunisations at the UK Health Security Agency, formerly Public Health England, warned that “a difficult winter is expected”, and that officials “want people to think about COVID-19 and flu as equally important ” this year.

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