Why are Flu Vaccinations important during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The Covid-19 outbreak has resulted in unprecedented demand on the NHS. Recent Public Health England (PHE) guidance advises that it is more important than ever to receive your flu vaccination, in order to help minimise any further impact on health and social care services and to protect those at risk of infection.
Flu vaccinations will start in September, in line with when flu vaccinations become available to our community pharmacies. We believe the delivery of this service is going to be more challenging due to social distancing restrictions that are in place, which is a necessary step to help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Which groups are currently eligible for the flu vaccine?
There are new additions to the at-risk list this year:
Eligible groups include:
- People aged 65 years and over (including those becoming age 65 years by 31st March 2020)
- People aged from 18 to less than 65 years of age with one or more of the following medical conditions:
- chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as severe asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchitis;
- chronic heart disease, such as heart failure;
- chronic kidney disease at stage three, four or five;
- chronic liver disease;
- chronic neurological disease, such as Parkinson’s disease or motor neurone disease, or learning disability;
- immunosuppression, a weakened immune system due to disease (such as HIV/AIDS) or treatment (such as cancer treatment);
- asplenia or splenic dysfunction;
- morbid obesity
- Pregnant women aged 18 or over (including those women who become pregnant during the flu season)
- People aged 18 or over living in long-stay residential care homes or other long-stay care facilities
- Social care workers
- Hospice workers
- Carers aged 18 or over
- Household contacts of immunocompromised individuals who are aged 18 or over.
- NEW People aged 50 to 64;
- NEW Households contacts of those who are on the shielded patient list
The last two listed groups will be able to access vaccination from community pharmacies under the NHS flu vaccination service, however, the offer of vaccination to the 50-64 years group will not commence until later in the season.
Are those at higher risk of COVID-19 at higher risk of flu?
Groups at high risk of contracting COVID-19 are also at high risk of contracting influenza. In order to protect these groups, flu vaccination is one of the most effective interventions available to do this.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Pharmacists vaccinating patients in 2020/21 will not be able to maintain a social distance from the patient, so it is necessary for them to wear PPE. We also require all patients to wear PPE, a face mask will be a minimum requirement.
Where to get the flu vaccination?
All your local Imaan Healthcare pharmacies will be stocking flu vaccinations. If you would like to book please find your local branch here.