Why are we offering the flu vaccine?
Flu occurs every year, usually in the winter, which is why it’s sometimes called seasonal flu. It’s a highly infectious disease with symptoms that come on very quickly. Colds are much less serious and usually start gradually with a stuffy or runny nose and a sore throat. A bad bout of flu can be much worse than a heavy cold.
Flu is caused by influenza viruses that infect the windpipe and lungs. And because it’s caused by viruses and not bacteria, antibiotics won’t treat it. However, if there are complications from getting flu, antibiotics may be needed. People sometimes think a bad cold is flu, but having flu can often be much worse than a cold and you may need to stay in bed for a few days.
The most common symptoms of flu are fever, chills, headache, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness.
Healthy individuals usually recover within 2 to 7 days, but for some the disease can lead to hospitalisation, permanent disability or even death. Some people are more susceptible to the effects of flu. For them, it can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, or can make existing conditions worse.
Flu vaccination provides the best protection. There are different strains of flu virus. The strains that are most likely to cause illness are identified in advance of the flu season. Vaccines are then made to match them as closely as possible. Even if the vaccine doesn’t perfectly match a strain it usually provides some protection against it. The vaccines are given in the autumn ideally before flu starts circulating.
Who is eligible for the flu vaccine?
We will be offering the flu vaccine to the following groups of patients this autumn:
- All patients who are over 65 years old (or who will turn 65 before the 1st April 2024)
- Those aged 6 months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups.
Including but not limited to:
- Chronic respiratory disease (including asthma, COPD, bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis)
- Chronic heart disease and vascular disease including heart failure, previous myocardial infarction/heart attack, congenital heart disease.
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic liver disease
- Neurological disease including stroke, TIA/mini stroke, multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, dementia.
- All patients with diabetes
- Patients who are immunosuppressed.
- Patients without a spleen or have a problem with the spleen.
- Patients with “morbid obesity” – a BMI of >40.
- Pregnant women
- All children aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2023 (This group will receive the flu vaccine at our surgery)
- Primary school aged children (from Reception to Year 6) (This group will be offered the flu vaccine by their school, we will not offer this at the surgery unless they have a health condition that puts them in at risk group – see list above)
- Those in long-stay residential care homes.
- Carers in receipt of carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person.
- Close contacts of immunocompromised individuals.
- Frontline workers in a social care setting without an employer led occupational health scheme including those working for a registered residential care or nursing home, registered domiciliary care providers, voluntary managed hospice providers and those that are employed by those who receive direct payments (personal budgets) or Personal Health budgets.
Child nasal flu vaccine for 2-3 year olds
We are hoping to receive the 2-3-year-olds nasal flu vaccine in early September. We will send out SMS booking link invitations in late August/early September for you to directly book your child into flu clinics once the vaccine delivery date has been confirmed. If we do not have a mobile number listed for you then we will send a letter by post.
Adult flu vaccine
Our adult flu vaccine is due for delivery in the week commencing 25th September 2023. However we often do not receive the delivery until the Friday of the delivery week. Therefore we will be aiming to commence the flu clinics from Monday 2nd October. We will be sending out SMS booking link invites from mid/late September for patients to directly book into the flu clinics.
We will send invites to the oldest patients first and then gradually send further invites to the rest of the different cohorts. If we do not have your mobile number then you will receive an invite by post.
We will try to keep this page updated with which cohorts have been invited, please don’t call our reception team until your cohort has been invited, this is so that we can offer Flu Vaccines to the most vulnerable first.
If you have not received an invite by Mid-November then please contact our reception team as we aim to have sent out all invites by then.
For more information on the adult flu vaccine please visit the NHS website.
If you or your relative is a housebound patients then please contact our reception team in late September to be put onto a waiting list. We will then arrange for one of our clinicians to visit to administer the flu vaccine. When you contact our reception team please confirm with them that either you or your relative that is housebound has a “housebound read code” on their record as this will ensure that patients are not missed.
Please note that when we say housebound, we mean patients that cannot leave the house. We have had instances in the past where a clinician has visited but the patient was not at home and in some instances it transpired that the patient had been out visiting a hairdresser’s or the shops, this would not qualify the patient as housebound.
We have not received much information regarding further Covid Vaccine boosters this Autumn. We will not be offering these at the surgery so please look out for local publicity regarding Covid Vaccine boosters that will be offered at other locations in the area.