By Haddenham Webteam - 4th September 2020 8:30am
Some patients have expressed concerns over the availability of flu jab appointments and the manner in which these have been arranged and co-ordinated at Haddenham Medical Centre. In response, senior GP Dr Howcutt has asked us to publish the following update.
Flu clinics 2020 — update 3rd September
In previous years we have accurately predicted the number of people who wanted the flu jab and have been able to run efficient clinics. Patients who wanted the jab could have it in a timely fashion without us wasting or running out of vaccines. It is always a mammoth undertaking but we are proud of how the clinics have been working.
This year is different. We are in the midst of a global pandemic that has impacted the world in wide-reaching ways. Despite everyone's attempts to get back to normal, COVID-19 is still with us and we must do everything that we can to keep our community safe. Consequently, we are about to play our part in the biggest flu vaccination campaign in history while ensuring that there are adequate infection control measures in place and planning for the possibility of a second wave of infection in addition to the usual winter ailments.
Our planning for this has been complicated by frequent and last-minute changes to the guidelines. Who exactly can have the vaccine? When can they have it? What level of Personal Protective Equipment do we need to use? The goalposts keep changing and we are doing our best to apply the best procedures for your safety.
An example of this complexity is the promise to vaccinate those aged 50-64 without any at-risk factors. This nearly doubles the number of patients that we will need to vaccinate. This change was announced and widely promoted by politicians but we still have no information from the Government on how this will be arranged and where we will get the extra vaccines.
We have to order our flu vaccines nine months ahead of the flu season so plans were made last January before COVID, and before this expansion of the numbers to vaccinate. All we know at the moment is that this lower risk group will be offered vaccines later in the Autumn (possibly November or December) and only after the high-risk groups have been vaccinated as a clinical priority.
So please bear with us while we work through all this. We promise we are doing our best to provide a safe, efficient service to our patients with the resources we have available.
We would be grateful if you could help us to help you in the following ways:
- Please understand that things cannot run in the same way as in previous years.
- Please be patient.
- Please do not abuse our receptionists when they try to help you but cannot give you what you want. Sadly, we have had a number of patients shouting and being very rude or aggressive to our reception team. This is not fair and cannot be tolerated.
- Please do not try to book a flu jab at the moment if you are in the 50-64 years age group without any at-risk factors.