Flu immunisations this year
All change! No change!
Earlier this year (long after GP practices had placed their orders for flu jab!), the Department of Health and Social Care told us that the national flu programme would change this year!
Everybody who qualifies for a flu jab will get one, but the changes mean that:
- We need to give different jabs to different groups.
- Our flu jab supply will be coming later than usual.
So how will these changes affect Mill Stream Surgery patients?
- We will be inviting people in certain groups, to come to particular clinics.
- Our flu clinics will be happening later than usual.
What hasn’t changed?
- Everyone who qualifies for a flu jab will get one from Mill Stream Surgery, in time for the flu season (which usually starts in early January).
- For those not receiving an invitation, our ‘open’ flu clinics will be advertised at the surgery, on our website and around the village.
- The changes do not affect the national flu programme for children, so eligible children will continue to receive their nasal flu squirt, through the surgery or school in the usual way.
How can you help us?
- Don’t panic! You will still get your flu jab, in time to protect you, but it may be slightly later than you usually have it.
- If you get an invitation, please come to the session you are invited to, and bring your invitation with you.
- If you don’t get an invitation, look out for the advertised drop in flu clinics and make a date in your diary to come to one of them.
- If you work, look out for our Saturday clinic (yes, we know, some people have to work on Saturdays too!)
Who can have an NHS flu immunisation?
- Children aged 2 years old up to those in year 5 at primary school get a squirt up the nose. (The 2 and 3 years olds are given this at the surgery and those aged 4 and over get it through school).
- Everyone aged 65 and older (& 64 yr olds who turn 65 by 31st March 2019)
- Anyone aged 6 months to 65 with particular long term health conditions:
- Lung problems including some asthmatics, everyone with COPD
- Heart problems or strokes
- Long term kidney or liver problems or those who have no spleen
- Long term neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease, MS
- Those with learning disabilities
- Those with diseases that affect the immune system such as HIV/AIDS or those on certain cancer treatments.
- Those who are very overweight (body mass index 40 or more)
- Carers of those at risk of having serious complications from flu.
- NHS and social care workers are all offered the flu jab but this is administered through occupational health NOT the GP service.
What if I am not in one of these groups?
The NHS flu programme is designed to reduce serious complications and death, so only certain high risk populations are eligible. Those eligible are decided annually by a national body, based on clinical evidence. Young children are immunised because the flu virus tends to ‘sit’ in this population and from here spread rapidly from child to child and to the rest of the population.
Unfortunately, if you are not eligible, the NHS will not be able to offer you the flu jab, as only those most at risk are offered immunisation.
Is it worth having a flu jab?
- The aim of a national flu immunisation programme is to reduce death and admissions to hospital from flu, which is why the NHS offers the flu jab.
- The flu jab isn’t perfect but it does reduce your chance of getting flu by about 50-60%.
- Will I have side effects from the jab?
- Some people get a sore arm afterwards. More severe reactions are rare.
- You can NOT get flu from the flu jab, as the injection contains no live virus.