The Government have put in place a range of measures to protect children from RSV this winter, including expanding the passive immunisation programme for all at-risk infants, ensuring that the NHS has surge plans in place to respond to any increasing cases, raising awareness among parents and at schools of the symptoms of RSV and when to seek medical help, and increasing our out-of-season surveillance capacity.
My Lords, given that the elderly are more susceptible to respiratory viruses in the cold, and given the number of excess winter deaths we have already seen in recent years, the reduction in the earnings link for the triple lock and the lack of availability of any increase in the cold weather support for older people, will my noble friend consider whether the Government might introduce any emergency measures to help pensioners keep warm through the winter?
My noble friend makes a very important point that during the winter people quite often need some help and assistance with winter fuel and other issues. For RSV and influenza, this winter we have had the continued offer of vaccination for 50 to 64 year-olds for the first time, and to additional cohorts. By 19 December, 82% of people aged 65 years and over and 48% of people under 65 years in risk groups had received a flu vaccine.