Fresh batch of flu jabs on offer in Northamptonshire

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A new batch of flu jabs are on offer across the county after those at risk faced a delay of up to six weeks.

Last month it was revealed pharmacists and GPs in parts of Kettering and Corby were facing a gap in supply.

It left one 76-year-old woman fearing the worst with many elderly patients unable to have their jab.

Now health Leaders in Corby and across Northamptonshire have announced that a new batch of free flu jabs are on offer to those at risk.

This year, for first time, NHS guidance is that over-65s should only be offered a particular version of the flu vaccine because it is more effective.

There is only one manufacturer of this vaccine and delivery has been co-ordinated nationally which has meant practices and pharmacies have received it in phases – 40 per cent were received in September, 20 per cent in October and now the final batch of 40 per cent will be received this month.

Matthew Davies, medical director for NHS Corby and NHS Nene Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “The phased release of the vaccine has meant that not everyone aged 65+ could get their flu jab as early in the autumn as in previous years.

“However, enough vaccines are being produced and there is still plenty of time for people to be protected during the flu season.

“Flu is a highly infectious viral illness which can lead to complications, hospital admissions and even death.

“Vulnerable populations are more at risk of developing complications such as chest infections, infections of the tonsils, ears and sinuses, meningitis, and encephalitis (infection of the brain), which can be fatal.

“However, much of the ill health caused by flu can be avoided by receiving a flu jab (influenza vaccine).

“The vaccine is safe and effective and can reduce the chances of getting flu and complications by 70 per cent.

“It reduces the risk of death from flu in vulnerable people by 80 per cent.”

Last year GP practices across Northamptonshire issued 134,900 free vaccinations to people in at risk target groups but a further 40 per cent (89,250) who were eligible, did not receive a vaccination.

Joanne Watt, chair of NHS Corby CCG, said: “Flu impacts on both those who become ill, and on the NHS services that provide direct care. It is really important that people have a flu vaccination to protect both themselves and others.

“People belonging to any of the groups below should speak to their GP to book a vaccination or visit a local pharmacy as they may also provide free flu vaccinations.

“Frontline staff can also contact their occupational health team.”

In 2018/19 the following people are eligible for free flu vaccination:

- All children aged from two to nine on August 31, 2018.

- Those aged from six months to 64 years in clinical risk groups.

- Pregnant women – women in any trimester of pregnancy or who become pregnant during flu programme period.

- Those aged 65 years and over.

- Those in long-stay residential care homes.

- Carers (informal carers who are in receipt of a carer allowance or a main carer of a vulnerable person).

- Frontline staff in direct patient contact working for primary care, community and acute NHS trusts or social care staff employed by a registered residential care/nursing home/domiciliary care provider or voluntary managed hospice provider who are directly involved in the care of vulnerable people are also eligible for free flu vaccinations.

Anyone in doubt about whether they qualify for a free vaccination should contact their GP.