Flu vaccination programme expansion ‘sensible’ but GPs need assurance about supply, says RCGP

Publication date: 24 July 2020

Responding to the Government’s announcement of an expansion to the annual flu vaccination programme, Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “The flu jab is the best protection we have against influenza and it is essential that as many people in at-risk groups – for example, older people, pregnant women and people with long term conditions or learning difficulties - get their vaccination when the season begins later in the year.

“This announcement of an extension to the flu programme is sensible as we prepare the NHS for a busy winter and potential second wave of COVID-19, but GPs and our teams, who will be delivering the majority of vaccinations, need more detail about the practicalities of how it will work. Practices plan meticulously for the flu season every year to ensure the vaccination programme runs smoothly and as many people as possible get vaccinated – they will have made their orders at the beginning of the year and will need to amend these. We also need assurance that the Government can guarantee adequate supply for everyone covered under the extension.

“It is likely that COVID-19 will present challenges to delivering the flu programme – we will need to take measures to ensure all patients are safe when they come to get their vaccination, and we will need to ensure people, particularly in at risk groups, are confident in doing so. If a COVID-19 vaccination is available for use then this will also need to be factored in. The College has developed guidance for GP practices to support them to deliver mass vaccination programmes (602 KB PDF) efficiently and safely, whilst COVID-19 remains a threat.”

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7494/7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 020 3188 7659

Notes to editor

Download the guidance on Delivering Mass Vaccinations During COVID-19: A Logistical Guide for General Practice (PDF 602 KB).

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 53,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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