Flu vaccine clinics to go ahead as planned

Care home workers and staff have topped the list of priority groups for the roll out of the Covid-19

Flu clinics in Norfolk and Waveney are not expected to be affected badly by vaccine delivery delays. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Honour your flu jab appointment this winter, people have been told, as the vaccine programme prepares to go ahead as planned despite possible delays to deliveries. 

Last week, vaccine maker Seqirus alerted surgeries nationally that there may possibility of rearranging bookings due to "unforeseen road freight challenges". 

A spokesman for the Coastal Villages Practice, in Great Yarmouth, said its vaccine clinic will start on Saturday. 

The spokesman said: "We have had no problems with our supplies, we got our full allocation on Monday and we will be starting to run vaccine clinics [on Saturday]."

The Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which runs the flu programme, said only one supplier is having freight issues nationally. 

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The spokesman said: “Most flu vaccination clinics are going ahead as planned so please attend if you have an appointment booked so that you can protect yourself this winter.

"In the small number of cases where clinics have been postponed, your GP surgery will contact you to rearrange your jab as soon as the vaccine becomes available."

The NHS has also been having to manage bookings following a medical shortage of test tubes for blood tests. 

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Across Norfolk, practices have told patients they may need to cancel and reschedule bookings or only offer urgent tests. 

The CCG spokesman said: “Although there is currently a global shortage of some of the equipment used for blood tests, all patients who need a test for an urgent health problem are still able to have one.

"However, if your clinician recommends that it is safe to do so, you may be asked to come back for a test at a later date.

“We would like to thank patients for their patience and understanding during this time and remind them to contact the NHS as usual if their condition or symptoms change or get worse.”

Blood Centrifuge Machine in the laboratory

The British Medical Association (BMA) said the shortage of tubes across hospitals and GP surgeries is now severe, with NHS guidance saying the most clinically important blood tests may be at risk. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Tim Morton, chairman of the Norfolk and Waveney Local Medical Centre, previously warned it could have a knock-on effect across GP services. 

He said: "It is hugely frustrating.

"My GP colleagues are faced with extraordinarily difficult decisions over who to prioritise for blood tests and it will cause significant difficulties with chronic disease management for several months, at a time when clinical work is already at an all time high."

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