22 September 2020 08:35
The government is mounting its largest ever vaccinations drive this year to help ease pressure on hospitals this winter, when cases typically surge - and when coronavirus cases are also expected to rise. For those who fall outside the NHS eligibility criteria but still want to avoid catching flu, several chemists and supermarkets are offering private vaccination services. And though the NHS states that private jabs could cost up to £20, you can get one from your local supermarket pharmacy for as little as £8. This year, the free NHS flu jab will be offered to the following people, according to the Mirror: People with certain medical conditions (including children in at-risk groups from six months of age) People living with someone who's at high risk from coronavirus (on the NHS shielded patient list) According to the government, this autumn/winter season will also see people aged between 50 to 64 eligible for the jab - but this won't be until "later in the year." The private Winter Flu Jab Service is available in most Boots pharmacies across the UK for people aged 16 and over, and in selected stores for children aged 12 to 15. The free NHS jab is also available from Boots to those who are eligible.
If you are not eligible for a free NHS flu vaccination, you can still protect yourself with a private flu vaccine at Lloyd's Pharmacy for just £12.99. Tesco is also offering both an NHS and private flu jab service. Its £9 flu jab service is available to customers aged 12 years and over. Asda's flu jab is priced at £8 and is available for all customers aged 12 and older who are in good health. Asda also offers the free NHS flu jab service to customers over the age of 18 who meet the NHS criteria.
Clinics will be set up in a number of locations across Grampian within secondary schools and community spaces such as sports halls, churches and any other large venues that can allow for social distancing. Dr Hilton added: "We always give very strong encouragement to people in those groups to come forward and get their flu vaccine. Pregnant women will be advised by their community midwife; Children aged two to five, those over 65, and anyone with an underlying medical condition will be invited to attend a local clinic at a set date and time. School children in Primary 1-7; parents will be sent information and a consent form, and children will be vaccinated at school; Health and social care staff will be advised by their employers. If you're aged 16 years or older, and not in one of the eligible groups, you can get the vaccine in many high street pharmacies for a small fee.
Public Health Wales is urging all eligible people in Wales to have their free flu vaccine as NHS Wales begins its largest ever national flu vaccine programme. Having a flu vaccine every year is one of the most effective ways to protect against flu. Those eligible for a free NHS flu vaccine include people with long term health conditions, people aged 65 and over, pregnant women, children aged two to ten years old, carers, domiciliary carers and care home staff with regular client contact as well as care home residents. Annual flu vaccine is strongly recommended for all frontline health and social care workers to protect themselves and those they care for. Children aged two and three (on 31 August 2020) and all primary school children (reception to year six) will be offered the vaccine in nasal spray form. Children from two years old that have a long-term health condition can also receive a free flu nasal spray. The new eligible groups include household contacts on the NHS shielded list and people with a learning disability. In addition, people aged 50 and over may also be offered a free NHS flu vaccine later in a phased approach later in the season. Research conducted by YouGov, on behalf of Public Health Wales, revealed that of those people who answered they would be eligible for a free flu vaccine 68 per cent said that they would be 'very likely' to have the vaccine this year. At the same time, the data also revealed that 50 per cent of respondents that answered and said they would be eligible believe having a flu vaccine is 'much more important' this year as a result of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). "It has always been important to have your flu vaccine, but particularly this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That's why we're lucky we have a vaccine to help protect us against flu, which may be circulating at the same time as COVID-19 this winter. "This year we are extending the flu vaccine to more people than ever before. However, it is especially dangerous to people that are more vulnerable, such as those with long term health conditions and pregnant women. "This winter, with the continued presence of Covid-19 we want to ensure more people receive the flu vaccine, this is why we have increased the eligible groups. "I understand that some people may be concerned about going to their community pharmacy or GP surgery to get their vaccine because of COVID-19, but surgeries and pharmacies will be following the latest safety practices. "I strongly urge those who are eligible to have their vaccine as soon as possible to help protect themselves, their families and their community." "Flu viruses are easily spread and can be very serious for older people and those with health conditions. This is why it's so important to have the flu vaccine every year – to ensure you have the best protection possible." There's changes to the way the flu vaccine is given this year. Dr Simon Hilton, Immunisation Co-ordinator for NHS Grampian said: "The biggest change will be that individuals who previously got their free flu vaccination from their GP will now attend a local vaccination clinic instead. "This also comes at a time where we anticipate the number of flu vaccinations to increase significantly, with additional groups being offered immunisation due to COVID-19. "Clinics will be set up in a number of locations across Grampian within secondary schools and community spaces that can allow for social distancing. Dr Hilton added: "We always encourage people in priority groups to come forward and get their flu vaccine. It is not just a bad cold; it is a virus which can make people seriously ill and, unfortunately, claims lives every winter." NHS Grampian is making significant alterations to the way it gives flu jabs this year. However they comes at a time when the health board anticipates the number of flu vaccinations to increase significantly as additional groups are being offered immunisation due to Covid-19. Dr Simon Hilton, Immunisation Co-ordinator for NHS Grampian said: "The biggest change will be that individuals who previously got their free flu vaccination from their GP will now be invited to attend a local vaccination clinic instead. The following groups will be offered the flu vaccine free of charge: Dr Hilton added: "We always give very strong encouragement to people in those groups to come forward and get their flu vaccine. "We are now living with a global pandemic, making it even more important that people in the at-risk groups are immunised. Children aged 2-5, those over 65, and anyone with an underlying medical condition willbe invited to attend a local clinic at a set date and time. If you are an unpaid carer, or you live with someone who was advised to shield as a result of Covid-19, and you wouldn't normally get the flu jab, then you can contact the NHS Grampian flu helpline to arrange an appointment. Anyone aged 16 or older, and not in one of the eligible groups, can still get the vaccine in many high street pharmacies for a small fee. To find if you are eligible or how to get your flu vaccine visit NHSinform.scot or call NHS Grampian Flu Call Centre 01224 555999.