The national flu immunisation programme aims to protect those at risk of becoming seriously ill from flu over winter.
This is especially important with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the potential of having an outbreak of both flu and COVID-19 at the same time.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock recently said that he does not want a flu outbreak “at the same time as dealing with coronavirus” and an effective flu vaccination programme will be key to preventing this happening.
Who is eligible for the flu vaccination in the 2020/21 season?
This year the vaccine will be offered free of charge on the NHS to the following groups:
- adults aged 65 and over
- people with certain medical conditions (including children in at-risk groups from 6 months of age)
- pregnant women
- people living with someone who’s at high risk from coronavirus (on the NHS shielded patient list)
- children aged 2 and 3 on 31st August 2020
- children in primary school
- children in year 7 (secondary school)
- frontline health or social care workers
The flu vaccine will also be given to people aged 50 to 64 later in the year according to a recent government announcement.
This is because the government wants to increase the number of people vaccinated from 15 million to 30 million due to fears that COVID-19 cases will rise again in the autumn.
Flu vaccination complacency amongst vulnerable groups
Experts have warned that complacency over the flu vaccination could risk overwhelming the NHS later in the year.
Recent analysis has found that the take-up rate of the vaccine amongst people in vulnerable groups eligible for a free jab has declined.
Local authorities in England saw an average 45% of people with serious health conditions under 65 take up the offer of a free vaccine last winter. This represents a drop from 50% in 2015.
The UK government would like to increase this so that 55% of people in vulnerable groups are vaccinated. Vulnerable groups include people with multiple sclerosis (MS), diabetes or chronic asthma.
Educating patients on the importance of getting vaccinated
A crucial part of increasing uptake of the vaccination will be the effective communication to those people who are eligible that they should get vaccinated.
The best time for patients to have the flu vaccine is in the autumn, from the beginning of October to the end of November. Therefore, ensuring that this education is in place as soon as possible is vital.
One possible way of increasing awareness of the vaccination is to use a waiting room TV system to highlight the importance of getting vaccinated to these key risk groups in the waiting room.
We have a range of flu videos in our Envisage Media library to help promote the vaccination to patients and prompt them to ask for more information. This includes eligibility videos for both England and Scotland.
For more information about using Envisage waiting room TV to educate and inform your patients on a range of services then please contact our team on 0114 243 3896, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are an existing Envisage user and would like help adding the new flu vaccination videos to your playlist then please contact our dedicated technical support team on 0114 399 0010, or email: email@example.com