The vaccination programme, in particular the flu vaccination programme, was due to be presented at Bolton Council’s Health and Adults Scrutiny Committee today but has now been moved to December 14.

This is far too late. Thousands of people in the borough are reliant on this life-saving public health measure of flu vaccine.

NHS England warned in the summer that mathematical modelling was indicating then that the 2021/22 influenza season in the UK could be up to 50% larger than typically seen.

This is mainly as a result of interventions in place for Covid-19 such as mask wearing, physical and social distancing, and restricted international travel and influenza activity levels that were extremely low globally in 2020/21.

As a result, a lower level of population immunity against influenza is expected.

It is my duty as a member of the health and adults scrutiny committee to make sure I am close to the detail on important matters that affect large numbers of the population of the borough.

Flu, ill health risk and vaccination is affecting many thousands more people than those receiving adult social care or those waiting for surgery for example.

I have a huge regard for those who run our provider services and keep patients and service users safe. I need to know about the uptake of flu vaccination. Are any areas of Bolton having less people take up the flu vaccine? Are any groups of citizens not coming forward for flu vaccines at the present time?

If there are gaps, what more could be being done to raise awareness of the flu vaccine offer? Is there anything else that can be done to assist people to consider flu vaccination? Does it look like we are on course in Bolton to have more people flu vaccinated than in previous years or less? Is it risky to look at the overall figures of flu vaccination when there may be a notable lower uptake in some citizens groups that is concerning?

Everything is about patient choice but as a scrutiny committee member I need reassurance that we are doing right by the people of the borough to help and assist them.

Sue Haworth

Shadow Cabinet Member Adult Services