Expanded flu programme
Publication date: 17 July 2021
Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said the following.
"Last year's expanded flu vaccination was a great success - and along with social distancing measures in place due to the pandemic, we saw drastically reduced rates of influenza. This was vital at a time when the NHS was under unprecedented pressures due to COVID-19.
"We continue to support the expansion of the flu vaccination programme. We're still in a pandemic, and we need to take whatever measures we can to prevent overwhelming the NHS this coming winter, which is set to be incredibly busy. A heavy flu season on top of COVID-19 and its associated illnesses could be disastrous.
"Whilst we are supportive, GPs and our teams need to be assured of sufficient vaccine supply to inoculate the expanded patient group - and we need to know how this is likely to run alongside the COVID booster programme. General practice is hugely experienced at delivering mass vaccination programmes, with great success, but as well as hard work, this is down to meticulous planning, so we need details as soon as possible.
"GPs and our teams step up to the plate every year to protect vulnerable patients from influenza, which can be a very nasty and sometimes fatal illness - and last year, which was particularly challenging given the increased scale and complexity of the programme, we saw record numbers of people, particularly those aged over 65, come forward. The flu jab is our best protection against flu, and we'd encourage anyone who is eligible to come forward and have it."
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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.