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Ensuring safe delivery of the flu vaccine this year

Your local NHS is working to ensure the safe delivery of the flu vaccination programme for residents across Slough, Windsor, Maidenhead, Ascot, Surrey Heath and North East Hampshire and Farnham.

For this coming winter, the list of those eligible for the vaccination free on the NHS has expanded to include the following:

  • Household contacts of those on the NHS Shielded Patient List. Specifically individuals who expect to share living accommodation with a shielded person on most days over the winter and therefore for whom continuing close contact is unavoidable.
  • Children of school Year 7 age in secondary schools (those aged 11 on 31 August 2020).
  • Health and social care workers employed through Direct Payment (personal budgets) and/or Personal Health Budgets, such as Personal Assistants, to deliver domiciliary care to patients and service users.

Free flu vaccinations may also be available towards the end of the year to people aged between 50-64. However, it is important to stress that this will be subject to vaccine supply and priority will be given to those in at-risk groups first. Click here for a full list of all those eligible.

GP practices continue to be open and safe and their staff are already putting plans in place to be able to safely administer the flu vaccine for patients. This may be done differently to how it has been done in the past. They are currently exploring options such as booked appointments only, in line with the current government advice; potential drive-through vaccine clinics at key venues; home visits to those elderly and vulnerable where required; and holding small drop-in sessions at local venues.

As soon as details are confirmed, GP surgeries will use websites and their other communication channels to inform their patients how to get the flu vaccine. Patients should only contact their GP practice for details regarding the flu vaccination if unable to access details online.

Since March this year, all health and care services across the system have had to adapt the way in which they work in light of coronavirus and public safety. Changes seen have included a huge increase in the amount of telephone and online appointments and consultations with staff having to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) in face-to-face appointments.  With Covid-19 still circulating, many of these changes will still be in place as services resume.

Jo Greengrass, Associate Director of Nursing, Quality & Safety and Chair of the Frimley Collaborative Flu Group said: “This year, more than ever, it is really important that you get the flu jab to help us help you stay well this winter. This is particularly important for those in at risk groups as flu can cause severe complications.

“Flu spreads from person to person, even amongst those not showing any symptoms. Whilst the threat may be invisible, the protection against it is clear.”

She added: “We are working with local practices and Primary Care Networks to ensure that plans are in place to protect the vulnerable, prevent ill-health and minimise further impact on the NHS and social care services. As we all know, winter is naturally a very busy time for the NHS”.

Dr Lalitha Iyer, local GP and Executive Medical Director for Frimley Collaborative said: “The number of people eligible to receive the flu vaccine on the NHS this year has increased and practices are working on new ways to ensure that people can be safely vaccinated. It is extremely important that we do all we can to protect ourselves from flu and stay well this winter.

“I would encourage each and every one of you who is eligible to have the vaccine which will start to roll out towards the end of September in various stages for different cohorts, with those in at risk groups taking primacy. Please keep an eye on your GP practice website.”

For more information on flu, please click here.

In addition to GP practices, pharmacies and midwives will also be able to give the flu vaccine this year. 

Who will be eligible for the free flu jab this coming winter?

Below is a full list of all those eligible for the free flu vaccination on the NHS this year (2020/2021):

  • all children aged two to eleven (but not 12 years or older) on 31 August 2020
  • people aged 65 years or over (including those becoming age 65 years by 31 March 2021)
  • those aged from six months to less than 65 years of age, in a clinical risk group such as those with:
  • chronic (long-term) respiratory disease, such as severe asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchitis chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
  • chronic kidney disease at stage three, four or five
  • chronic liver disease
  • chronic neurological disease, such as Parkinson’s disease or motor neurone disease,
  • learning disability
  • diabetes
  • splenic dysfunction or asplenia
  • a weakened immune system due to disease (such as HIV/AIDS) or treatment (such as cancer treatment)
  • morbidly obese (defined as BMI of 40 and above)
  • all pregnant women (including those women who become pregnant during the flu season)
  • household contacts of those on the NHS Shielded Patient List, or of immunocompromised individuals, specifically individuals who expect to share living accommodation with a shielded patient on most days over the winter and therefore for whom continuing close contact is unavoidable
  • people living in long-stay residential care homes or other long-stay care facilities where rapid spread is likely to follow introduction of infection and cause high morbidity and mortality. This does not include, for instance, prisons, young offender institutions, university halls of residence, or boarding schools (except where children are of primary school age or secondary school Year 7).
  • those who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or who are the main carer of an older or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill
  • health and social care staff, employed by a registered residential care/nursing home or registered domiciliary care provider, who are directly involved in the care of vulnerable patients/clients who are at increased risk from exposure to influenza.
  • health and care staff, employed by a voluntary managed hospice provider, who are directly involved in the care of vulnerable patients/clients who are at increased risk from exposure to influenza.
  • health and social care workers employed through Direct Payments (personal budgets) and/or Personal Health Budgets, such as Personal Assistants, to deliver domiciliary care to patients and service users.

Frimley Health and Care