Flu is a highly infectious disease and in some cases it can lead to serious complications, particularly where people have long-term health conditions.  As we approach the winter period, it’s important that all steps are taken to protect health and social care staff, and the people they care for, from the risks of flu.

Extension of NHS seasonal influenza vaccination

That’s why for winter 2017/18, NHS England is working with its partners to extend the current flu vaccination programme to:

Health and social care staff, employed by a registered residential care/nursing home or registered domiciliary care provider, who are directly involved in the care of vulnerable patients/clients who are at increased risk from exposure to influenza, meaning those patients/clients in a clinical risk group or aged 65 years and over will be eligible for the new scheme.

NHS England will provide funding of up to £10 million to support this and it will complement, not replace, existing immunisation schemes already in place across health and social care. Some employers will already have a vaccination scheme in place and some staff will already be eligible for free vaccination by being in one of the defined risk groups. We encourage all eligible staff to take up this offer and help protect themselves and their patients.

When will this be available?

We anticipate that eligible staff will be able to get the vaccination from mid-November but will communicate out further to confirm this.  Please note that some employers already offer the vaccination and some staff will already be in a defined risk group and already eligible and would encourage these staff to take up this offer.

Where should staff go for the vaccination?

Once the service is live, eligible staff will be able to get the vaccination from community pharmacies that are already delivering the flu vaccination programme. GP practices that sign up will also be providing the vaccination to eligible staff who are registered with their practice. We advise staff to first check which local community pharmacies and GP practices are delivering it

What ID should staff take with them in order to be vaccinated?

Eligible staff should take should take identification that includes their name and the name of their employing organisation. This could be an ID badge or a letter from their employer or a recent pay slip.   

NHS England will issue an update when the extension to the flu vaccination programme is in place.