People are being thanked for their patience in receiving the flu jab this year as the NHS embarks on its biggest flu vaccination campaign.
This year, the NHS is aiming to vaccinate around 4.5 million people in the South East – up from 2.6 million last winter.
The programme includes children aged 2 and up to school year 7, those under 65 with long term health conditions, pregnant women, people aged 65 and over, carers, and household contacts of those on the NHS Shielded list
Flu vaccine is delivered to GP practices, pharmacies and other services in batches in the run up to and throughout the course of the flu season. This year, early demand for flu vaccine has been higher than usual.
This has meant that while a lot of people have been able to get vaccinated, some people have not been able to get vaccinated straight away.
The flu 'season' generally kicks in around December, which means that, although you may have to wait a little longer to get the vaccination, you will still be protected.
Dr Matt Nisbet, a Hampshire GP, said: “It's great news that more people than ever are eligible for a free NHS flu vaccine through their GP or pharmacy.
“This year the NHS has secured additional centrally held stocks of flu vaccine from which GPs like me can order so that we can continue to vaccinate people throughout the autumn and winter. But flu vaccine has to be kept in a fridge so we're constantly replenishing our stocks.
“You might know that we're actually giving three different flu vaccines this year, one for children, one for people over the age of 65, and one for people under the age of 65, so it might be that we're able to continue vaccinating some people whilst we're restocking the one that you particularly need.
“It's brilliant that healthy people between the age of 50 and 64 are able to be vaccinated this year. But I'm sure if you fall into that category that you'll understand that we want to vaccinate the most vulnerable people first. So if you're a healthy 50-year-old, thank you for bearing with us while we vaccinate people who might be more vulnerable to flu.”
To find out more about why you might be asked to wait, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/flu-vaccination-why-you-are-being-asked-to-wait
If you have a high temperature, new, continuous cough or a loss of taste and smell, then please do not visit your GP practice or pharmacy. Please self-isolate and contact 119 or visit NHS.uk/coronavirus to book a coronavirus test.
If you test positive for coronavirus then please do not attend a flu clinic – contact them to rearrange your appointment.