Preparations are underway for this autumn’s flu and Covid-19 vaccinations in general practice across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG).
The vaccination programme is a huge undertaking, with around 345,000 people in BNSSG eligible to be vaccinated. There will be around 4,000 staff and volunteers involved in delivering vaccines this year, many of whom will need refresher training.
It will see general practice working in partnership with acute hospitals, community pharmacy and mass vaccination centres to reach as much of the eligible population as possible.
The programme will focus on those most vulnerable to Covid-19 and flu first, starting with health and social care staff, care home residents, those who are housebound, and the clinically vulnerable.
Ruth Hughes, One Care’s Programme Manager for PCN-based vaccinations, said: “The mass vaccination programme for flu and Covid-19 is a big commitment for general practices, so it’s fantastic all 20 of BNSSG’s primary care networks are taking part. Their involvement, plus that of our partners in community pharmacy and the mass vaccination centres, is crucial and means people shouldn’t need to travel far for their vaccination.
“The programme is also a huge opportunity to maximise the population’s protection against flu and Covid-19. We have vaccines for both that are safe to administer at the same time – including a new version of the Covid-19 vaccine.
“Our hope is that we will be able to offer everyone who’s eligible a vaccination before Christmas.”
Our local NHS is encouraging the population to take up the flu vaccine this winter.
Following the interventions put in place for Covid-19, such as mask wearing, social distancing and restricted international travel, the cases of flu were extremely low globally in 2020 to 2021. As a result, fewer people are expected to be immune to flu between 2021 and 2022.
Projections indicate the 2021 to 2022 flu season could be 50 per cent larger than typically seen and it is also possible for people to suffer from flu earlier than usual.
Adding to the pressures already faced by the NHS, the coming winter will be the first in the UK when the flu virus (and other respiratory viruses) will exist alongside Covid-19, with there also being the possibility for both viruses to coincide.
Flu vaccinations are therefore an important priority to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with the virus, and to reduce hospitalisations during a time when the NHS and social care may also be managing winter outbreaks of Covid-19.
Video credit to ITV West Country
The following groups are eligible to receive their flu vaccinations this year:
- Carers – young or adult
- Health and social care workers
- Residential Care home staff
- Household contact of those in the NHS shieled list and immunocompromised individuals
- At risk school aged children
- All 2-3 year olds
- Any individuals in at-risk groups
If you are eligible for the free flu vaccine, you may get it either from your own GP practice, once you are invited, or any pharmacy offering NHS flu vaccinations.
For more information on the flu vaccination, click here.