Flu Clinics 2020: Update

What is flu?  Isn’t it just a heavy cold?

Flu occurs every year, usually in the winter, which is why it’s sometimes called seasonal flu.  It is a highly infectious disease with symptoms that come on very quickly.  Colds are much less serious and usually start gradually with a stuffy or runny nose and a sore throat.  A bad bout of flu can be much worse than a heavy cold.

The most common symptoms of flu are fever, chills, headache, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness.  Healthy individuals usually recover within two to seven days, but for some the disease can lead to hospitalisation, permanent disability or even death.  Flu can affect anyone but if you have a long-term health condition the effects of flu can make it worse even if the condition is well managed and you normally feel well.  People of any age should have the free flu vaccine if you have a long term condition, such as:

  • a heart problem
  • a chest complaint or breathing difficulties, including bronchitis, emphysema or severe asthma
  • a kidney disease
  • lowered immunity due to disease or treatment (such as steroid medication or cancer treatment)
  • liver disease
  • had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
  • diabetes
  • a neurological condition, eg multiple sclerosis (MS), cerebral palsy or learning disability
  • a problem with your spleen, eg sickle cell disease, or you have had your spleen removed
  • are seriously overweight (BMI of 40 and above)

Who else should consider having a flu vaccination?

  • aged 65 years or over
  • anyone “shielding” in relation to Covid-19 (and their household contacts, although household contacts will be done later in the season as we need to ensure those most at risk are vaccinated first)
  • living in a residential or nursing home
  • the main carer of an older or disabled person
  • a household contact of an immunocompromised person
  • a frontline health or social care worker
  • pregnant
  • children who were 2 or 3 years old on 31.08.20. (Primary school age children will be vaccinated at school). GP surgeries will vaccinate 2-17 year olds in an “at risk” category.  Children of school year 7 in secondary school (those aged 11 on 31.08.20).

We strongly recommend that even if you were vaccinated last year, you should be vaccinated again this year. In addition protection from the flu vaccine may only last about six months so you should have the flu vaccine each flu season.

In 2020, the government aims to further extend the vaccine programme in November and December to include the 50-64 year old age group, subject to vaccine supply.  They will release more information regarding this in due course but in the meantime, GP practices do not have vaccine for this group.

 Covid-19: Special Arrangements

  • Please avoid arriving by car so people with mobility or other issues are able to park at the surgery. We hope to find volunteers to help us marshal car parking and organise queues of people on foot.
  • Please arrive promptly – neither very early nor too late.
  • Please wear a mask or face-covering.
  • Please wear suitable clothing that allows easy access to the upper arm/shoulder area, yet protects you from wind/rain while waiting outside – bring an umbrella!
  • Please expect to have your temperature taken on arrival – no-one with a temperature or symptoms of Covid-19 will be admitted.
  • You may be asked to enter/exit by a route other than the front door. If you have mobility problems or other concerns which mean you are unable to navigate steps, please let us know.
  • Please observe social distancing rules while standing in the car park and walking through the surgery.

Contact details

Please help us to organise the campaign by letting us know your mobile number and email address so that we can inform you quickly of any changes.  We are being asked by NHS England to record ethnicity, so if you have not told us before, please let us know your ethnicity too.

Useful links

Flu and the Flu Vaccine – NHS

Children’s Flu Vaccine – NHS

Flu Vaccine FAQs – NHS

The Flu Vaccination – gov.uk (PDF)