Flu season 2018-19 – Updated 31st October 2018

The NHS provides free flu vaccinations to all patients aged 65 or over, and to all patients under 65 who are considered ‘at risk’. These are patients who are known to have one or more of a number of other diseases such as asthma or diabetes, for example, for whom flu is considered more serious if these patients contracted it. Other groups, such as pregnant women and carers, also qualify for the free vaccination.

This year has proved slightly different, as there are different vaccines recommended for different age groups. The recommended vaccine for older patients (categorised by the NHS as age 65 and over) is called adjuvanated trivalent; the ‘adjuvanated’ description just means that there is an added ingredient, a substance that occurs naturally in the human body, which helps the immune system react properly to the vaccine. If you would like more information on this new vaccine you can download the NHS booklet here

At Harptree and Cameley we have already received our full supply of vaccines that are recommended for patients aged under 65, and are already vaccinating this age group. We have sent out text and other reminders to patients in this category, but please do call and ask if you think you should qualify but haven’t yet heard from us.

The adjuvanated trivalent vaccines (for patients aged 65 and over) was licenced very late by the authorities. This has led to only a single supplier being able to supply all pharmacies and surgeries across the UK, which in turn has led to uncertainties about supply. However, we have now been able to source further supplies that will be sufficient to cover all of our patients who qualify for the free ‘flu jab. The first batch of these has arrived.

If you are a parent or guardian of a child aged two or three years old, we have sufficient stocks of the Fluenz nasal spray that is the recommended protection for infants of that age. Afternoon clinics are currently set up for 23rd October at Cameley and 7th November at Harptree, please do book in if you have not already done so.

Please note that while there have always been additional categories of patient who qualify for the free NHS jab, such as pregnant women and carers for example, this year the NHS has also extended the service to patients with learning disabilities, their family carers and any paid supporters they may have. If you have someone in your family with a learning disability, or care for someone with that condition, please do ask about your free vaccination.