An update from Holderness Health in relation to Flu Vaccinations for 2021.
The NHS has been asked to prepare for a potential increase in flu this winter and has been advised that the flu season may start earlier than usual. Given that social mixing and personal contact is now returning towards pre-pandemic norms, this will also be the first winter in the UK when flu and other respiratory viruses have the opportunity to fully co-circulate alongside COVID-19.
The message to patients is clear: if you are eligible, you should obtain your free flu vaccination this year and do so as early as possible.
In response, Holderness Health’s approach is as follows:
- We have secured an early delivery date of vaccines and will begin vaccinating in September, almost a month earlier than in previous years
- We are using the same successful model as last year – completing as many vaccines within a month as possible rather than running the vaccine programme over a period of several months. We believe that this will offer the most protection to the community.
- September will be our ‘Super Flu Month’ with a huge push to vaccinate around 12,500 patients before the end of the month
- We have ordered more vaccines than ever before – we hope it will be sufficient but this will depend largely on whether we see a significant increase in uptake in response to the advice and the extended eligibility (all patients over the age of 50 are now eligible).
- Are initially holding vaccination clinics in Hedon, Withernsea, Keyingham and Patrington. Further clinics will be scheduled depending on demand and vaccine availability.
- Registered housebound patients and those living in care homes will be visited before the end of September – a schedule of when we will be completing housebound patients is available here.
To facilitate an effective booking process we:
- Are offering an online booking option. Unfortunately, the system we used for COVID bookings is not available for use for flu vaccinations so we have had to source an alternative. Whilst we do not feel it is quite as good, it will still offer ease of access and convenience for many. Patients will be given a personal code to login and this will ensure that they are booked in for the correct vaccination which is different depending on whether they are over or under 65.
- For anyone who is unable to book online, we have set up a direct phone line to our Flu Booking team. This will avoid the need to call the main reception number and will help keep lines available for patients contacting us for normal appointments. We are expecting a large number of calls so there will be a voicemail service on this line at busy times. Patients will leave their name and number and we will call them back.
- Will be texting patients who have a mobile phone registered with us. We will be writing to those who do not. The invitation will contain all the relevant booking information.
- Sending out invitations in batches to ensure that the responses can be managed effectively.
Patients can help by:
- Booking online if they are able to do so
- Waiting until they receive an invitation rather than ringing the practice speculatively
- Reading the information on our website, especially our Patient Information Leaflet which we ask patients to read before they attend for their appointment: https://holdernesshealth.nhs.uk/info.aspx?p=18
- Ensuring that they do not attend for vaccination if they have any COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive