As many of you are aware, we are fast approaching the start of the flu vaccination season. This year it is going to be even more important to make sure patients receive their flu vaccinations to protect them from serious illness as we head into the winter period. Also to protect NHS services.
You may also be aware that the government is making plans for us to also give a third booster dose of Covid-19 vaccination most likely alongside the flu vaccination, for some groups of patients. These groups are largely aligned to those who have the seasonal flu vaccination.
We are currently putting plans together to deliver the Covid-19 vaccination boosters alongside the flu vaccinations, from the North Cotswold Hospital as a group of five practices. This will be based on the successful PCN model that enabled us to deliver over 45,000 Covid vaccinations in our community. Our team will also undertake all of the home visiting for our housebound patients as well as visits to the local care homes.
These plans will enable patients to have one visit for both vaccinations, whilst also keeping practice teams protected to deliver safe patient care, as all of our practices are currently experiencing unprecedented demand.
The government is awaiting some data from research regarding immunity levels and this was expected to be available at the end of August. Once they have considered this data, they will be able to send us more guidance regarding the booster programme and the finer details.
We anticipate starting the clinics at the North Cotswold Hospital from week commencing 20th September. We will be fully supporting the call and recall of patients from our vaccine hub and using the AccuRx booking system that we used for Covid vaccinations. The company have a new module specifically designed for the dual vaccination programme which will also launch around that time.
The appointment booking hub remains open to take answers questions and queries related to both the Covid vaccinations, the boosters and the flu programme. The number for the hub is 01608 692115.
Children will still have their seasonal influenza vaccination at their usual practice and will be called by their practice in the usual way when the supplies of nasal flu vaccines have arrived.
In the unlikely event that the government decides not to progress with a Covid booster programme this winter, we will continue with plans to support the practices to deliver the flu programme as a PCN in a collaborative way and this will include appointment booking from our hub.
We had a remarkable response from our patient population given the often short notice we had with the Covid vaccination campaign, we are confident that we can mobilise our team and patients to deliver an further successful vaccination programme and continue to keep population of the North Cotswold safely vaccinated.
As soon as we have more information related to the finer details we will update both practices and patients. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact our appointment hub if you have a specific query.
Dr. Hywel Furn-Davies
North Cotrswold Primary Care Network