Care home workers in Wales will join NHS staff in being offered free flu vaccinations this winter. Last winter there were 71 reported flu outbreaks in the country, with 42 of them taking place in care homes.

Until now the responsibility for providing flu vaccines to staff in the social care sector has fallen on individual employers, but 2017/18 saw the highest uptake of vaccines from people with long-term health conditions and those at risk of developing complications from the viral illness.

The vaccinations will cost the Welsh government around £112,000.

The Welsh health and social services secretary Vaughan Gething said: ‘Vaccination of staff has been shown to be effective in reducing the spread of disease and patient mortality in care home settings. It can also help to ensure business continuity by reducing flu-related staff illness and the need to provide locum cover.

‘The social care sector has a crucial role to play in preventing hospital admissions over the winter period, particularly for older people.’

Flu jabs will be available in NHS community pharmacies.