It has also been announced that household members of shielding patients and everyone aged 50-64 will be eligible this year.
However, NHS England has asked every Practice to share this message: "Please note that people in the 50-64-year old age group will not be vaccinated until November and December, providing there is sufficient vaccine, and no appointments will be offered for this age group until then. This is to ensure that those who are most at risk are vaccinated first. If you are 50-64 and you are in one of the other groups which is eligible for the flu vaccination, for example you have a health condition which puts you at risk from the flu, you will be invited earlier."
Please therefore do not book a flu vaccination appointment unless you are aged 65+ or in one of the clinical at-risk groups. We will be providing updates via our website during flu season about the availability of vaccines for different aged groups.
How do I arrange to be vaccinated?
We have always operated an appointment-based clinic system and the same is true again this year. So the process of booking an appointment will be very familiar. Appointments are available to book online if you are aged 65+. Alternatively telephone reception on 01434 603627 but please make your call in an afternoon when our lines are less busy. If you can book online please do.
We will also be calling some patients to arrange their appointment if they haven't already done so. Text reminders and posted letters will also be used as needed as we have done in previous years.
If you have a Practice Nurse appointment then you may be offered a flu vaccination opportunistically during your appointment. If so please do have the vaccine and then if you have already booked an appointment for a vaccine please mention this to a receptionist on the way out so the appointment can be cancelled and freed up for another patient.
When are the vaccination clinics?
As soon as our first delivery of vaccine arrives we will begin opportunistic vaccination. This will be in late August. We will then be running routine vaccination clinics from September onwards. In order to keep our waiting room less busy with plenty of social distancing the routine clinics will run with just a single person vaccinating patients.
We are also holding a mass vaccination clinic all day on Saturday 12th September. This will be a very different sort of clinic and you should read the notes below if you are booked to attend.
If needed we will arrange a further mass vaccination clinic in October.
What is a mass vaccination clinic?
Simply put we will be vaccinating large numbers of people over the course of a day. We will do this on a Saturday so that there will be no other patients in the building and our team can give all of their time to the clinic.
To keep patient numbers down in the waiting room and ensure social distancing in all areas it isn't possible to have doctors and nurses running individual clinics in their consulting rooms. Instead the vaccinations will take place in the waiting room. We will have a one-way system in operation with staff positioned at various points to direct patients.
Patients are asked to review the following information to help us ensure the clinic runs smoothly:
Only patients with a booked flu vaccination appointment should attend. Vaccination is by appointment only.
Please wear a face covering in line with current guidelines unless you are exempt
Please arrive at your appointment time - not early or late.
You will be met at the entrance by a member of staff and will wait outside until we are ready for you.
The handwash sinks will not be in use on the day, instead hand gel will be provided and can be used on entry and exit
Our reception desk will not be in use. On entry there will be a table on your left with staff on hand to check you in.
A one-way system around the waiting room will be in operation, with social-distancing signage in place while you wait for your vaccination.
If you are with your spouse/partner you can stay together and be vaccinated at the same time.
It is really important that you dress appropriately for your vaccination. You might want to bring a bag to carry your coat or jumper.
You will be called forward to a vaccination station to receive your vaccination. Your flu vaccine will be given into your upper arm so that needs to be uncovered ready for vaccination before you reach the vaccination station.
There is no need to wait in the surgery after your vaccination.
You will be directed when to leave so that patients aren't coming in and out of the building at the same time.
All staff will be wearing appropriate PPE and we will be closely following the guidelines provided by NHS England.
If you have a history of fainting when being vaccinated or you know you can't stand in a queue for example, then consider booking your appointment in an alternate clinic.
Please check our website prior to setting off. Any last-minute notices will be posted on the home page.
Our team will be working hard all day to deliver a safe and speedy vaccination clinic with minimal queuing. While we have planned the clinic as best we can we appreciate your patience if there are any unforeseen hold-ups on the day.
Will it be safe to attend the surgery?
We would like to reassure all patients that your safety and that of our staff is our overriding priority.
We have a range of measures in place to reduce the risks from Covid-19 from enhanced cleaning, PPE and social distancing.
Every year our housebound patients receive their vaccination at home and this year will be no different.
What about shielding patients?
With the decrease in infections the shielding programme has been suspended.
However we do know that some patients will be anxious about coming into any building and may not have left the house for several months.
To ensure those patients are able to receive their vaccination and not be put off, we will be able to arrange in-car vaccination. We will collect details of patients needing an in-car vaccination and will put on a clinic in the car park as needed. In-car vaccination is only suitable for patients who have previously received a flu vaccination. They must also have no history of fainting after vaccination.
To ensure the safety of our staff these clinics will operate only in good weather and have relatively few patients (and therefore additional cars driving around the car park). Further details will be provided to patients who are attending for in-car vaccination.
A shielding patient's household members, no matter their age, will also be eligible for vaccination this year with priority given to at-risk patients
What if I am unwell on the day?
If you have any of the symptoms of covid-19 infection please do not attend for your appointment. We would not vaccinate you if you had a high temperature on the day of your vaccination whether it was due to covid or not. We will happily rearrange your appointment. Just get in touch when you are well again.
What about children?
As in previous years we will also be vaccinating children aged 2-3 years with a nasal spray along with older children who are in a clinical risk group and not included in the school-based programme. This year the school programme has been extended to include all children from reception to year 7.
Unlike the adult vaccines which we order ourselves a year in advance, the nasal spray is allocated to us centrally and delivered in small quantities. So as in previous years we will be in contact to arrange vaccination as supplies are received.
Which vaccines are you using?
For the vast majority of children aged 2-17 years we will be using Fluenz Tetra as in previous years. The product information leaflet explains more about the vaccine. For a few children who cannot have a live vaccine we will be using an alternative injectable vaccine.
For adult patients aged 18-64 we have two vaccines on order and the product information leaflets are available to read for Influvac and Flucelvax. Flucelvax can also be given to patients aged 65+ though we would routinely use Fluad for this group. The product information leaflet for Fluad explains that this vaccine contains an adjuvant which is added to boost the immune response.