Flu season 2020.

Can you believe how fast this year is going?

2020 has been a bit of a wash-out for most of us. It all started okay until February-March time. And then, COVID hit.

We are now already in August, nearing the middle of the month. Before we know it, it will be September. And with that, the start of the Flu vaccination season.

There has been a lot in the media about the extension to the flu campaign this year. However, the media was not given all the details to inform our patients appropriately.

Who is eligible?

  1. All children aged two and three on 31 August 2020 (born before 1 September 2016 and on or after 31 August 2018) can receive the nasal flu vaccine in General Practice.
  2. All primary school-aged children can receive the nasal flu vaccine in the school-based program.
  3. All those aged 6 months-65 years old in a Clinical Risk Group:
    1. Long-term chronic severe respiratory disease (COPD, very severe asthma or bronchitis)
    2. Chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
    3. Chronic kidney disease stage 3, 4 or 5
    4. Chronic liver disease
    5. Chronic neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, or learning disability
    6. Diabetes
    7. Splenic dysfunction or absence of spleen
    8. Weakened immune system due to disease (such as HIV/AIDS) or treatment (such as cancer treatment)
    9. Morbidly obese (those with a BMI of over 40)
  4. All pregnant women.
  5. All those 65 and over, including those becoming 65 years by the 31st of March 2021.
  6. All those in residential long-stay homes or other long-stay care facilities (not including prisons, young offender institutions, university halls, boarding schools).
  7. All carers (those in receipt of carer’s allowance, or those registered as carer).
  8. All close contacts of immuno-compromised people.

The above mentioned groups are the same groups we immunised in previous years. These groups will have precedence above the extended groups mentioned in the media.

Expansion of the Flu programme in 2020

NHS England has advised us the other groups will not become eligible until the majority of the priority groups above have been immunised. NHS England expects this will not be until November and December of this year.

Also noteworthy is, these extra eligible groups are not guaranteed a free NHS flu vaccine. They will only be offered one, if there remains availability of flu vaccine after the priority groups have been immunised. To be honest, we don’t quite know where NHS England thinks these extra flu vaccines will be coming from.

Groups also included this year are:

  • Household contacts of those on the NHS Shielded List.
  • Children of school Year 7 age in secondary school (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 for domiciliary care to patients and service users.

Who will potentially become eligible from November/December?

  • Those aged 50-64 years old, subject to vaccine supply, and following prioritisation of other eligible groups.

Flu clinics at Grimethorpe Surgery this year.

This year COVID will bring extra challenges to delivering a successful flu campaign.

Social distancing is important and we will, therefore, need to limit the footfall in our health centres.

The Saturday Flu clinics will be walk-in only, no appointments. Patients will be asked to socially distanced queue outside. You will only be allowed in one at a time (or in exceptions, two). We will apply a one-way system during the clinics.

Due to the need to socially distance, we will only have one or two clinicians vaccinating our patients at the same time. This will mean a slower turn-around.

Please, help us by wearing clothing suited to having your flu jab. No thick layers, short sleeves if possible. When you enter the waiting area, please already remove your coat and bare your arm in readiness for the injection.

We apologise, but we will not have time to deal with any other matters. You will not be able to put in or request a repeat prescription, you will not be able to have a leisurely chat with your neighbour, the nurse, the receptionist, or the doctor. We are unable to deal with any other matters than providing you with the flu jab during the flu clinic.

Our Saturday Flu Clinics:

Unable to attend during the Saturday flu clinics? If you are attending the surgery for another reason (blood test, blood pressure check, diabetic check, etc), you can also request the flu jab then. Please, let the receptionist know at the time of the booking and be aware you will only be given the flu jab if you are eligible at that time (and the flu jabs are in stock).

We’ll see you there!