Deliveries are on their way - NHS England reassure over 65 flu jab patients that more are coming

Concerns have been raised about the amount of flu jabs available for those aged over 65 in Suffolk P

Concerns have been raised about the amount of flu jabs available for those aged over 65 in Suffolk Picture: GETTYIMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

NHS England have told patients in the region that more deliveries of the over-65 flu jabs are on their way to the area after concerns were raised about availability of the vaccination.

Health bosses said supplies for Suffolk were scheduled to arrive in three stages between September and November and that there would be plenty to go round.

One patient, who asked not to be identified, claimed he had seen queues outside a GP surgery in Aldeburgh and that supplies had run out.

Having failed to get the jab there he said had called other local surgeries and jab providers but was unable to find one which could give the injection.

“It’s just unforgiveable. The whole thing is a total shambles,” he said.

But Simon Evans, locality director for NHS England Midlands and East (East)said that more supplies were coming:

“We want to reassure the public that there will be enough vaccines for everyone who needs one in these groups. GPs and pharmacists are receiving deliveries of the vaccine for over 65-year-olds in three phases this year, so more are coming during October and November.

Most Read

“Getting vaccinated is really important for staying healthy over winter and we would encourage people in the eligible groups to get protected. This is people aged 65 or over, pregnant women, young children, and people with long term health conditions.

“We would urge people to keep in touch with their GP practice or pharmacist to see when they can be vaccinated.”

Andy Yacoub, chief executive of Healthwatch Suffolk said:“Flu vaccination is important and remains the best defence we have to protect against the spread of flu. It is particularly important for people who may be most vulnerable to flu and for whom a bad bout of the illness can cause complications.

“It is therefore a concern that those groups may not be able to access the jab. This includes front line staff and clinicians because we need them available to work during the difficult winter period, where pressures on our NHS services are increased.

“With that considered, the fact that demand has outstripped supply this year is a good sign that people are becoming more aware of the jab and that campaigns regarding the vaccination are proving effective. That said, the significant promotion of the vaccination means that the flu vaccination programme needed to have been resourced better across the whole of Suffolk. We hope this situation can be resolved swiftly for patients.”

Jo Reeder, head of fundraising & marketing at Age UK Suffolk said: “Offering flu jabs to vulnerable people of all ages, is vital in managing the spread of the virus as we approach the winter months.

“The elderly are particularly at risk, and an illness such as flu can be extremely dangerous for many older people, who may have poor immune systems, are struggling to heat their homes or to keep warm, and could be managing other health conditions. We would urge everyone who is entitled to contact their GP practice and push to have their jab as early as possible into the winter season to eliminate any unnecessary risk”.

A spokesman for NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk and NHS West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups echoed the need for people to still keep getting the vaccines.

“We know that many people have already received a flu vaccination and we are grateful for the hard work of staff at GP practices and pharmacies in making that happen.

“For those who have not had a vaccination, there is still time, and we would encourage them to keep in contact with their GP practice or pharmacy to arrange a vaccination at the earliest opportunity.

“It is important that vulnerable people including those aged 65 or more, young children, pregnant women and those with a long-term health condition protect their health this winter.”

James Reeder, cabinet member for health, said: “The flu vaccination is one of the most effective ways to reduce harm from flu. It reduces the risk of serious illness, hospitalisation and even death among those who are most at risk.

“Those at particular risk, because they are pregnant, have a health condition or aged 65 years of age or over, as well as carers all qualify for a free vaccination. Health & Care workers meeting certain criteria are also eligible for free NHS vaccination”.

To find out more information about the jab contact your local pharmacist or the NHS on 111 for more information.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter