The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has welcomed the news that the flu vaccination programme is being expanded, but says further clarification is required.
RCGP chair Prof Martin Marshall said the move is a step in the right direction but GPs need to know how the programme will be delivered.
“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,” he said.
He pointed out that practices plan meticulously for the flu season every year to ensure an adequate supply of vaccinations. These orders will need to be altered. He said GPs also need assurance from 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,” Prof Marshall said.
The College has developed guidance for GP practices to support them to deliver mass vaccination programmes efficiently and safely, whilst COVID-19 remains a threat. The guide is available here.