Information on this year’s Flu Campaign
As expected, due to the coronavirus pandemic this year’s flu vaccination programme will be delivered in a very different way than in previous years. Restrictions with social distancing mean that we will be unable to hold the normal mass vaccination / open appointment sessions that we have in the past.
To help things run as smoothly as possible we wanted to share how we plan to deliver flu vaccinations this year.
Details about specific cohorts of patients are below – but the main points are:
All vaccinations will be done by appointment only.
We will contact eligible patients with an invitation to make an appointment.
When you attend for your appointment please do not enter the building more than 5 minutes before your appointment time.
Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible
After you have had your vaccination you will be directed to leave the building via a different door. This is to help us keep a circular flow of patients and maintain social distancing.
Patients are given 1 of 3 different types of flu vaccine – mainly depending on age. There is more information about the vaccines here: www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/flu-influenza-vaccine
How we run our vaccination clinics depends on when we receive each vaccine from the manufactures.
Children aged 2 and 3
This part of the flu programme is already underway. Your child will be eligible if they are born between 01/09/2016 and 31/08/2018. The vaccine is a nasal spray, and we have already received our first stock of this vaccine. Parents have been sent text messages inviting them to book an appointment. If you have not received a text message please contact us to make an appointment.
School aged children
As in previous years this cohort of patients will be vaccinated in their school. As soon as we have further information about when the community service is visiting each school we will publicise that information.
All patients aged 65 and over
This is our largest cohort of patients to vaccinate. The vaccine is different to the under 65 vaccines, and contains an adjuvant to help the immune system have a stronger response to the vaccine. This vaccine is being delivered in late September, and in bulk deliveries – so we will be able to vaccinate lots of these patients earlier in the flu season.
Patients under 65 ‘at risk’
If you have a long term condition such as Diabetes, Heart Disease, Stroke or certain respiratory diseases you will be eligible for vaccination. Unfortunately this vaccine is being delivered to us intermittently in small batches throughout October. This is completely out of our control – we would much prefer a bulk delivery at the start of the flu season.
Patients aged 50 to 64 not ‘at risk’
Due the coronavirus pandemic NHS England is directing practices to vaccinate all patients in this age group. The vaccine is the same as the ‘at risk’ category above – but we are being directed to only start vaccinating this cohort of patients after ‘at risk’ patients have been vaccinated. We are also waiting to hear from NHS England about supply of additional vaccine for this group of patients.
How will I be contacted?
We know that a large proportion of our patients respond to text messages. However – we also appreciate that not all patients do. We will try to contact each patient in the most appropriate way.
For example, patients who have provided their mobile phone number will receive text message invite, but patients who don’t have a mobile number might receive a letter in the post. Any patients whom we have a mobile phone number for will receive appointment booking information and reminders by text message. This may be received before you get any other communication from us.
Will the building be open?
As many of you know the main front doors have been closed for the past few months to help us limit the number of patients in the building so that we can maintain social distancing. This will be different for the flu clinics. There will be set entrances and exits for each clinic. When you enter the building please ensure that you wear a face covering, and sanitize your hands on the way in.
How else can I help to make things run smoothly?
Please try to wear clothing that allows your arm to be easily accessible.
If you do need to contact us, for example to make your flu vac appointment – please appreciate that first thing in the morning is our busiest time – so calling later in the day helps us greatly.
We hope that everything runs smoothly – but from previous experience – unfortunately hiccups do happen from time to time, such as last minute changes in delivery schedule. We will share information as quickly as possible via our website and social media, then by text message. Please follow our Facebook page to get updates quickly.