From 1 November 2014, Shropshire and Staffordshire residents in at-risk groups will be able to get their free NHS flu jab in pharmacies for the first time.
GPs currently offer free seasonal flu vaccinations to pregnant women, people aged 65 years and over, and people with certain long-term conditions like diabetes, asthma or heart or lung problems.
Now, in addition to GP clinics, people in these at-risk groups will also be able to get the vaccination for free in local pharmacies at a time and place to suit them.
The new way of offering NHS flu vaccinations is part of a pilot scheme being run by NHS England in Shropshire and Staffordshire.
Flu is not like a bad cold, it affects the whole body. It can make existing conditions worse and can also increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. People offered the free flu vaccination need to have it every year to ensure that they are protected against flu’s effects.
Many pharmacies already offer flu and travel vaccinations to customers for a fee, and so are experienced and fully trained in providing this service. Now many pharmacies will also be providing flu vaccinations to people eligible to get them free on the NHS.
Pharmacists are also trained to help people treat themselves for many common conditions, such as colds, stomach bugs and aches and pains, which can be especially common in winter months.