Health bosses on the Isle of Wight have said problems accessing the flu vaccine this year are easing.
Following the national push for people to have flu jabs this year in light of Covid-19, some people on the Island have struggled to find one.
Those eligible for a free vaccine, which is to be extended to more groups later in the season, have received letters from their GPs inviting them to come in to get one.
This year, where bosses have said the vaccinations are more important than ever, some patients have been asked to make an appointment to come in.
Simon Bryant, the Island’s director of public health, said it was really important to get the vaccine ‘for the health of ourselves, our family and our community’ to prevent hospitalisation from the flu, which would only add pressure to the NHS, but did say there has been some challenges in the delivery of the flu stock.
“We are focusing on those most at risk from the consequences, such as care homes and older people.
“We are asking GPs to plan flu clinics with what stocks they have.”
Isle of Wight NHS Trust bosses have said there are enough vaccinations for staff and patients, with staff vaccinators able to give flu jabs to their colleagues during the work day.
Speaking at a meeting of the Isle of Wight NHS Trust Board, chief executive Maggie Oldham said she was really worried about the flu season. She said:
“This situation, unlike any other I have known in my career, really does highlight the importance of having the flu vaccination, particularly here on the Island with our elderly population, with many frailties and protecting them has to be our top priority.
Alice Webster, director of nursing, said she had heard no concerns about the levels of vaccines but would look into it. She said:
“Nationally, there has been a huge uptake of people who wouldn’t ordinarily take up their vaccines and I know chemists are saying they will no longer book people, it will only be done on a vulnerability basis.
“National bosses are looking at the supply chain to ensure there is enough coming down but there has been no identification there is not enough vaccinations.
“I think it is just they release them at certain periods and I suspect the release is what is causing the concern.”
Over the weekend, government guidance has been issued to GPs in England to ensure they access more vaccinations as part of the expanded campaign.
If vaccines run out, orders can be placed from mid-October with government suppliers to be delivered from November to be provided to the at-risk groups.