GPs are not 'rationing' flu jabs but need to prioritise patients in most need, says College

Publication date: 30 September 2020

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "We are hearing reports that supply is not meeting demand but this seems to be affecting pharmacies more than GPs at present - and this the biggest-ever flu vaccination programme with 30 million people now eligible for the free vaccine.

"However, we have asked the Government for reassurance that there is enough vaccine supply to go round and for government guidance on prioritisation if the shortages turn out to be more widespread.

"GPs plan meticulously and well in advance for the annual flu programme every year, but the additional cohort of year 11 school children and over 50s were included in this year’s programme, at a fairly late stage, so GPs are working hard to ensure that priority is given to those in the traditional 'at risk' groups, such as the elderly, those with pre-existing health problems like asthma and pregnant women. GPs are not rationing flu jabs but rather prioritising patients most in urgent need.

"We urge patients in these vulnerable and at-risk groups to arrange a flu jab if they haven’t already. They can be reassured about the safety of having the vaccine at their GP surgery as GPs are going to great lengths and taking every precaution to ensure that practices are safe.

"The flu jab is the best protection we have against influenza and the current COVID-19 pandemic makes this even more important than usual, so we ask the over-50s who are otherwise healthy not to be put off if they are unable to get the vaccination immediately but to understand that there might be others in greater need."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575

Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 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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