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Flu Vaccination Programme 2021

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.” Professor Mike Holmes, Chair of Nimbuscare

Eligibility

This year, the expanded NHS flu vaccination programme will continue. We are likely to see both flu and COVID-19 in circulation this winter, and to protect our most vulnerable people those eligible for a free flu vaccination are almost double that of previous years. 

The people eligible for a free NHS flu jab in 2021-22 are:

  • Children aged 2 to 15 (but not 16 years or older) on 31 August 2021
  • Those aged 6 months to under 50 years in clinical risk groups
  • Pregnant women
  • Those aged 50 years and over
  • Those in long-stay residential care homes
  • Carers
  • Close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
  • Frontline health and social care staff employed by:
    • a registered residential care or nursing home
    • a registered domiciliary care provider
    • a voluntary managed hospice provider
    • Direct Payment (personal budgets) and/or Personal Health Budgets, such as Personal Assistants

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.

Getting the flu vaccine

All patients who are eligible for a free flu vaccination should receive a letter from their GP practice by the end of October 2021. The best time to have the flu vaccine is in the autumn before flu starts spreading, but you can get the vaccine later.

“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

 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 can pay to be vaccinated at a local pharmacy. However, we would ask that people wait to let those most at risk get vaccinated first.

What GP practices are doing

GP practice 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 at Millfield Surgery

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.

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.

Pharmacies

Eligible patients may choose to be vaccinated at a local pharmacy by providing their GP eligibility letter or text. Pharmacists are highly trained health professionals and some pharmacists may be open on evenings and weekends.

Those people who do not fall under any of the eligible categories for a free vaccine can pay to be vaccinated at local pharmacies.

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