Keir Starmer has demanded Boris Johnson introduce free flu vaccines for all over-50s to prevent a “perfect storm” of a winter flu outbreak and second Covid-19 wave.
The Labour leader said the Government owed it to the NHS to do all it could to prevent the two outbreaks coinciding.
Currently those with long term health conditions, key workers and pensioners are eligible for the free vaccine annually.
Extending it to the over-50s woud require an extra 10 million doses according to the Labour leader.
The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has warned a resurgence of Covid-19 could bring the ‘NHS to a grinding halt’ if it strikes alongside the winter flu bout.
Speaking to Sky News on a visit to London’s University College Hospital, Mr Starmer praised the NHS for “an incredible job” in handling the COVID-19 crisis.
“We owe it to them to ensure that we take the preventive steps going into this winter,” he said.
“We’re calling for vaccination for all those over 50.
“It will be the perfect storm this winter if we had an outbreak of influenza at the same time as the possibility of a second spike in COVID-19 because the symptoms are very similar.”
Downing Street did not back Mr Starmer’s call.
Number 10 has said the government will get “significant extra supply” of flu jabs for the coming winter.
A spokesman said: “It’s already freely available to those most at risk of flu – over 65, pregnant women, carers and primary school children.
“It’s especially important this year, and the government will get significant extra supply to increase uptake in these groups and will make further announcements shortly on increasing eligibility.”