Flu vaccine update for 50 to 64 year olds

Newly eligible 50 to 64 year olds are being asked by doctors to wait to be contacted by their GP to book their flu vaccine.

Local GPs and pharmacies are gearing up to provide free flu vaccinations to healthy 50 to 64 year olds following the government announcement that vaccines should be available to this group from December.

People will be contacted by their practice to book an appointment as soon as the practice has received the additional vaccine that the government has set aside for this age group and has flu clinic slots available. Current indications are that in some cases this may not be until mid-December.

Dr Rachel Joyce, Herts and West Essex Clinical and Professional Director, said: “Extending eligibility to free flu vaccines to 50 to 64 year olds is welcome. We are asking people to wait and they will be contacted by their GP to have their flu jab when the additional vaccine supplies have arrived.

“Practices and pharmacies are following strict guidance and social distancing measures to make sure that it is safe for you to come for your vaccination.”

Appointments for 50 to 64 year olds will be in addition to those for currently eligible groups. While around 75% of over 65s have already had their flu jab, appointments are scheduled during December for those in other eligible groups including under 65s with certain long-term medical conditions, pregnant women and young children.

Practices will continue to prioritise vaccinations for these more vulnerable patients for whom flu poses a more serious risk. Anyone in an ‘at risk’ group who has not yet had their flu vaccine is encouraged to contact their practice as soon as possible to book an appointment.

Flu should be taken seriously; it is more than just a bad cold. Some people may need to stay in bed for a few days but for others who are more vulnerable it can lead to more severe illness, can worsen existing illness and can lead to pneumonia or bronchitis. In the worst cases, flu can result in a stay in hospital, or even death.