BEWICK CRESCENT SURGERY FLU VACCINATIONS.

Influenza is a viral disease which can cause severe acute respiratory illness and death for those at risk who develop the infection, and each year 300,000 to 600,000 people die from influenza across the globe. The most effective way to protect yourself from Influenza is to have the vaccination each year. Those most at risk are those patients aged over 65 years old, or those patients younger than this but who have a chronic long term condition such as Diabetes, COPD, or Asthma, as well as those who are immunocompromised by certain treatments or conditions, pregnant or children aged up to 12 years who meet the criteria set by the World Health Organisation. We recognise that this year has been a particularly challenging year both globally and nationally for many of us with the arrival of Covid-19 at the start of 2020, and scientists are working hard towards developing a vaccination to protect us from the virus. However, we already have an available Influenza vaccination that is proven to provide protection against the disease and this is provided free of charge to all those who meet the criteria set by the World Health Organisation. Dr Christopher Stephenson, GP Partner at Bewick Crescent Surgery said that ‘we would urge all of our patients who meet the criteria set to take up the offer of an Influenza vaccination in order to protect themselves as much as possible in these uncertain times caused by the continuing Covid-19 global pandemic’. If you are unsure whether you can have the vaccine for free please ask any of our staff or have a look at our website; www.bewickcrescentsurgery.nhs.net

 

As the number of NHS patients across the UK who are entitled to a free flu vaccination runs into hundreds of thousands, NHS England restrict the number of vaccines available to individual surgeries.  As well as controlling the supply of vaccines NHS England have very strict rules about which vaccines surgeries are allowed to give to which patients so, e.g. we are not allowed to give a vaccine for someone aged over 65 years old to someone who is aged under 65 years old.  This year Bewick Crescent receive their first supply of vaccines for the over 65 years old age group in mid-September but will not get the first batch vaccines for those in the under 65 years at risk groups until the beginning of October. This means that different patients will be offered the vaccine at different times. For anyone who is concerned about this remember that flu does not generally circulate until well into the winter (the ‘flu season’ officially starts in December) so waiting until October for your flu vaccination does not put you at increased risk.  Please note that people in the 50-64-year old age group will not be vaccinated until November and December, providing there is sufficient vaccine, and no appointments will be offered for this age group until then. This is to ensure that those who are most at risk are vaccinated first.  If you are 50-64 and you are in one of the other groups which is eligible for the flu vaccination, for example you have a health condition which puts you at risk from the flu, you will be invited earlier

 

Despite the extra controls on supplies this year we still intend to hold clinics on a Saturday as well as specified clinics during the week.  All clinics will be held at Bewick Crescent Surgery site. This year due to Covid-19 there are extra restrictions which need to be implemented due to social distancing measures and the need to wear PPE (face masks, etc.). We will not be holding any walk-in clinics and all vaccinations will be by appointment only.  To enable us to deliver the vaccinations to our patients as quickly and as safely as possible this year we have had to think of other ways to provide clinics and plan to hold initial clinics outside in the grounds of the surgery itself. This means that we will be able to vaccinate more people in a shorter time span to ensure those at risk are protected sooner than if we held all the clinics inside the surgery. We are very fortunate to have the help and support of our local REME Reserve Unit – 102 Battalion REME, whose headquarters are at Northfield Way here in Newton Aycliffe, who have provided the ‘flu tent pods’ for us to use to deliver the clinics from. We are very grateful to them for their help – we couldn’t have done the clinics as quickly without them – a big thank you goes to them from all the team at Bewick. The outdoor clinics will run from the 12th September to the 10th October. Indoor clinics will be held on a Friday afternoon during this time period. All flu clinics will be held indoors after the 11th October.

 Book now by calling our surgery on 01325 316637 if you are 65 years of age or older for a flu jab appointment.  We are not currently taking bookings for patients 64 years or under until we have received the stock from our supplier.

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