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Flu Jabs?

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Dr Mark Howcutt

Covid has occupied our thoughts and health concerns for the last 18 months, but what about influenza? What do staff at Haddenham Medical Centre advise about flu jabs this Autumn? Here's an update from Dr Mark Howcutt.

Is it important to have the flu jab this year?

It is always a good idea to have a flu jab if you can!

Unfortunately, experts are predicting a more severe and earlier outbreak this winter so it very important we start vaccinating patients against flu as soon as we can.

With the NHS under such pressure with COVID and dealing with the backlog, we all need to do our part to protect the NHS from the impact of a bad flu outbreak.

As last year, we believe that catching flu and COVID together could be very serious and so this is another good reason to ensure a good vaccination uptake.

Are you offering flu jabs this year as usual?

We will be providing flu vaccinations to eligible patients over the next few months as usual.

The clinics will run in the same way as last year to follow COVID guidelines for the safety of our patients and staff. We hope to start these clinics by the end of September and will run them each day of the week.

Please do NOT contact the surgery to book an appointment yet — the appointments are not on the system.

When people ring to check if they are available to book, it makes it difficult for sick patients to get through. Please help everyone by checking our practice website, Facebook page and information from our Patient Participation Group to find out when the appointments are available to be booked.

Update:

We had expected our flu vaccines to be delivered by the 24th of September and we are keen to provide flu vaccines to patients as soon as possible.

However, on Friday 3rd September we were informed by our supplier that, due to road freight challenges, our flu vaccine delivery will be delayed by one to two weeks.

We have also been advised that they cannot guarantee when the vaccines will arrive and so we should not book any patients until we have confirmation of the delivery date.

They have said that we will receive this seven days before they arrive.

We will keep patients updated by text messaging, our practice website, the Patient Participation Group and the Haddenham dotNet website and Facebook page.

Who can have a free NHS flu jab?

This year, we will be offering free NHS flu vaccines to the following groups:

  • Patients aged 50 years or over
  • Patients aged 6 months to 50 in various high risk clinical groups (such as those with chronic lung disease, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, neurological disease, diabetes, a weakened immune system, learning disability, and pregnant women)
  • 2- and 3- year olds — but they need a separate and different flu vaccine that will be offered in separate clinics slightly later in the autumn when available to us

Older children will be offered a free NHS flu jab this year too but this will be done through the school health service.

And a COVID Update:

Will you be providing COVID boosters?

We are still waiting for final confirmation of the plans for COVID boosters from the Government and the NHS.

We had hoped to be able to provide COVID boosters at the surgery, possibly at the same time as flu jabs, but we have again been denied permission. We have discussed the possible options available to us with our Patient Participation Group and we are looking at the best options for our patients. We will let you know more when the Government plans are published and the local plans made.

How are we doing?

We remain very grateful for all the support and understanding from our patient patients!

It remains a very difficult time in the NHS with GP practices and hospitals all working incredibly hard under very challenging circumstances to deal with COVID, long COVID, new problems, backlog of old problems, long waiting lists, vaccinations, staff sickness and absence due to isolation because of COVID exposure.

We are speaking to and seeing record numbers of patients at the practice. Everyone will continue to work extremely hard to provide the best care possible for our patients, even though many in the NHS are exhausted and traumatised. Please continue to be kind to our team and all those working in the NHS.

Shortage of Blood Sample Tubes

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