Pharmacists and GP surgical procedures are having to restrict flu jabs to probably the most at-risk teams attributable to elevated demand.
The Boots chain has suspended its appointment reserving system for anybody exterior of the weak teams, which embody individuals aged over 65.
It mentioned it faces “unprecedented demand” for vaccinations, however NHS England says sufficient shares can be found.
Within the subsequent few weeks it’s doubtless that winter flu will begin to flow into alongside the coronavirus.
This will doubtlessly current an extra problem to an already stretched healthcare system.
This 12 months in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, for the primary time the flu vaccine can be supplied to the over-50s – over-55s in Scotland.
But this may solely be after it has been given to those that usually get a free NHS jab – together with the over-65s, pregnant girls, and other people with circumstances like lung illness or diabetes.
In a press release, Boots mentioned: “This year, our customers have been more conscious than ever about protecting the health of themselves and their families, and protecting against flu has been front-of-mind for many of us.
“As a consequence, we’ve got seen extra individuals than ever reserving early to get their flu vaccinations.”
Pressure on stocks
The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) says other independent pharmacies have also had to slow down the rate of vaccination.
Robbie Turner, RPS Director of Pharmacy, said: “This 12 months many extra persons are anticipating receiving a flu vaccination and so they want assurance that enough shares can be found.
“We will continue to talk with government on the supply of vaccines, and how pharmacists can support those who are most at risk.”
Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, mentioned widespread flu vaccination would play a key position in stopping the NHS being overwhelmed this winter.
He mentioned: “For the expanded programme to be effective, the government must ensure that there is an adequate supply of vaccines for everyone who wants one in the wider group of patients who are now eligible.
“The RCGP has known as for assurances from authorities that there can be sufficient provides to go round – and for steerage for GPs as to who, exterior of these sufferers most in danger, needs to be prioritised for a flu jab, ought to provide be restricted and for clear public messaging about this to be able to handle sufferers’ expectations.”
Supplying the vaccine – which needs to be refrigerated – is a logistical challenge. But NHS England says there are adequate stocks in place.
The Department of Health and Social Care says it will issue guidance shortly on how pharmacists and GPs can access additional stockpiles if needed.
It is unclear how bad flu might be this winter – some years are worse than others – but experts say the vaccine is a good match for the strain of flu that will be circulating.
Flu, like coronavirus, is a viral infection that is passed on through coughs and sneezes. Social distancing, masks and handwashing should help reduce the spread of both.
Most people with flu recover at home in a week, but people with chronic conditions or who are over 65 should call NHS 111.
If you think you have either flu or Covid-19, stay at home and self-isolate.
Book a coronavirus test if you have:
- a excessive fever
- a brand new. steady cough
- a lack of, or a change to, your sense of scent or style