The Chief Nursing Officer for England and the Regional Medical Director for the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire area today urged the over 65s to take advantage of NHS England’s biggest ever flu vaccination programme.
Older people across the East Midlands are being offered the most effective vaccine in the world as part of the programme which is providing a record 8.5million doses, free of charge.
All vaccines have now been delivered to those surgeries and pharmacists which placed an order on time, and the NHS is reassuring the public that there is sufficient supply of the vaccine in stock for everyone to get protected ahead of winter.
The last batches of the new Adjuvanted trivalent flu vaccine, or aTIV, which provides much more effective protection for people aged over 65, were being delivered to GPs and pharmacies across the country this week ahead of the flu season, which usually starts in December.
NHS England is also providing vaccines for other vulnerable groups such as pregnant women and people with long terms conditions, as well as for NHS and care staff. There is also a nasal spray, which works better in younger people, and is available for children aged 2-3, and within schools to children from Reception up to Year 5. It is also available to children and young people with eligible health conditions.
Seqirus, the sole supplier of the new, more effective vaccine for over 65s, have phased deliveries to cope with global demand.
As the NHS continues to work with GPs and the Royal College of Physicians to ensure the vaccine gets to where it is needed, the only supplier of the flu vaccine, Seqirus, confirmed it has now despatched the final supplies for England.
Professor Jane Cummings, the Chief Nursing Officer for England said: “This is the biggest flu vaccination programme we have ever undertaken offering more people than ever the greatest opportunity to protect themselves.
“This year three types of vaccine are being used, including the Adjuvanted trivalent flu vaccine, or aTIV, which gives particularly good protection to people aged 65 and over.
“Deliveries of aITV have been going on since September and with all the vaccines now delivered to GPs and pharmacies, we are urging those who have not yet had their flu jab to get it as soon as possible.”
Professor Cummings added: “Around 8.5 million doses of vaccine have been ordered, with around one million surplus doses available. The current uptake rate in those aged 65 or over is 45.2% so we are keen to see an increase in that figure.
“As well as older adults, and those with long-term conditions, we want other at-risk groups such as pregnant mums and young children to be protected as well. It’s certainly not too late for people to get vaccinated.”
Dr Ken Deacon, Medical Director, NHS England (North Midlands) said:
“Flu can be extremely serious to the most vulnerable and vaccination is by far the best defence we have. Anyone at increased risk from the effects of flu is offered the vaccine for free. Speak to your GP or pharmacist – or look out for an invitation from your child’s school – to get yourself and your relatives protected this winter. The earlier you have your flu jab, the sooner you and your family will be protected.”
GP practices and pharmacies have been setting up special vaccination clinics, and there is enough vaccine available. There is also a helpline for GPs and pharmacies if they have any problems so they are able to ensure all patients have the appropriate advice and information about their flu jab.