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Flu vaccination programme 2020

**Added on 15 October 2020**

Why am I being asked to wait to have my flu vaccine?

Information about flu supplies this year can be found here.

About flu

Influenza (flu) is a potentially serious disease that can lead to hospitalisation and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different and influenza infection can affect people differently, and so an annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to help protect yourself and others who are vulnerable against the effects of flu.

“Each year flu kills on average 11,000 people in England and hospitalises many more. It’s a very serious condition, and following the impact of this year’s coronavirus pandemic, it’s even more important that we protect as many people as possible from the effects of flu this winter – whilst ensuring the safety of our staff and patients through social distancing.” - Dr Mike Holmes, Local GP

Eligibility 

This year we have an expanded NHS flu vaccination program to protect our most vulnerable people, which has seen the number of people eligible for a free flu vaccination almost double that of previous years.

You are eligible for a free flu vaccination if you:

  • are 65 and over (including those who'll be 65 by 31 March 2021)
  • have certain health conditions/ long term health condition (all ages)
  • are pregnant
  • are in a long-stay residential care
  • receive a carer's allowance, or are the main carer (paid or unpaid) for a person who may be at risk if you get sick
  • live with someone who's at high risk from coronavirus (on the NHS shielded patient list)
  • are a frontline health or social care worker
  • are 50-64 years old (you will be contacted from November)

New cohort 50-64 year olds

50 to 64-year-olds who do not have a health condition putting them at risk of the flu will also be eligible for a free flu vaccine later in the year. GP practices will keep this group of patients informed and are likely to invite them for a flu vaccination in November and December once all other higher risk eligible groups have been vaccinated.

Carers

Paid or unpaid carers should identify themselves as having caring responsibilities to their GP practice. This will ensure they receive an invitation letter for a free vaccination. It is important that carers receive their flu vaccine to protect themselves and the vulnerable person/people they care for. If a carer was to become unwell, this could impact negatively on the person they are caring for.

I’m not eligible for a free flu jab, but want to get one, how can I do this?

Those people who do not fall under any of the eligible categories for a free vaccine should not worry as they can pay to be vaccinated at local pharmacies. We would ask that people wait to let those most at risk get vaccinated first.

Getting the flu vaccine

All patients who are eligible for a free flu vaccination should receive a letter from their GP practice between September and end of October 2020 inviting them to make an appointment for their flu vaccine.

“I would urge anyone who’s in a clinical risk group to take up the vaccination offer when they receive the letter from their surgery. It will give them a much-needed layer of protection and there is absolutely no evidence that getting a flu vaccine increases the risk of getting Covid-19.

“There are many benefits from flu vaccination and preventing flu is always important, but in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s even more vital we each play our part and do everything possible to reduce illness and protect NHS and health care resources for those who need them the most this winter.” - Dr Nigel Wells, Clinical Chair of NHS Vale of York CCG

What GP practices are doing

Safe appointments at the GP practice

GP practice this year have adapted the way their practices are working to ensure correct use of PPE, face coverings and social distancing. This alongside ramped up hand hygiene and regular cleaning processes ensure that those GP practices continuing to administer flu vaccinations in their surgery can do so safely. This may mean that there is more time in between appointments to allow for patients to safely leave and enter the building, and sometimes patients will need to wait a little longer to be called in for their appointment. Once you have received your flu vaccine letter, please contact your surgery to make an appointment and they will explain everything to you.

"We are continuing to administer flu vaccinations to our patients in surgery this year because we are confident our premises are suitable and can follow the government guidelines keeping both staff and patients safe. Anyone concerned about receiving their flu vaccination can discuss this when booking their appointment and we will do what we can to help." -  Dr Helen Iredale, GP Partner Millfield Surgery, Easingwold. 

Flu clinics in other venues

Some GP practices are holding one or a series of flu clinics in alternative venues such as community centres and church halls. This may be down to needing a larger space for the increased number of eligible patients or to ensure the safety of patients and staff through more appropriate social distancing.

"Our surgery comprises one entrance and exit and narrow corridors which are not suitable for the increased number of eligible patients expected though the doors this year. Keeping our patients safe is a top priority which is why we are choosing to host vaccinations outside of the main surgery building in a more appropriate place." - Local Practice Manager

Patients will be notified of the options available for booking their flu vaccine when they receive their flu vaccination letter and are asked to contact the surgery.

Drive through sites

A drive through vaccination site will be set up at Askham Bar from Monday 5th October for patients from York City practices who have booked an appointment via the online booking system explained in their GP letter. Here are a list of the York City practices which will use this site: Dalton Terrace Surgery, Elvington Medical Practice, Front Street Surgery, Haxby Group, Jorvick Gillygate Practice, MyHealth, Old School Medical Practice, Unity Health, York Medical Group, Priory Medical Group, Pocklington Group practice

A drive through vaccination site will be set up from Tuesday 13th October at Sherburn Airfield for patients from South Milford Surgery who have booked an appointment via the surgery reception team.

Other GP practices across the Vale of York are doing similar things on a smaller scale to free up their practices by delivering vaccinations in other venues. Eligible patients are encouraged to contact their GP practice once they have received their flu vaccination letter to make an appointment.

Pharmacies 

Those people who do not fall under any of the eligible categories for a free vaccine should not worry as they can pay to be vaccinated at local pharmacies. Eligible patients can also choose to be vaccinated at their local pharmacy if they wish by providing their GP eligibility letter or text. 

Health partners working together 

The 2020 flu vaccination programme in the Vale of York involves a system wide approach, and so a number of organisations and people have come together to ensure our populations are protected. This multi-disciplinary approach includes, health care assistants, nurses, dentists, GPs, Clinical Commissioning Groups, local authorities, pharmacies and more. We are very much working together to provide York & North Yorkshire with the best options to get a flu vaccination.

Press releases

North Yorkshire and York residents reassured that they will be vaccinated against the flu - 1st September 2020

Health and care leaders in North Yorkshire and York prepare for the winter season - 15th September 2020

‘Most Vital Ever’ Health and Care Worker Flu vaccination Drive Launched - 16th September 2020

Former York Park and Ride site set to administer thousands of NHS flu vaccinations to eligible patients - 29th September 2020

Selby GP surgery hits 75% national flu target for vaccinating vulnerable patients in under 4 weeks - 1st October 2020

Sherburn airfield set to host NHS flu vaccination site for local eligible patients - 7th October 2020

High demand for flu vaccinations in North Yorkshire and York - 9th October 2020

Calling all unpaid carers: Protect yourself and the person you care for with the flu vaccine - 20th October 2020   

Resources

Letter - The national flu immunisation programme 2020 to 2021 

NHS website

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