Monthly Archives: August 2021

Flu Clinic Dates Confirmed!

Flu clinics

We are very pleased that we can now share with you the dates of the first wave of flu clinics, which will be run as booked appointments as we did last year. All eligible patients (see the eligibility criteria below) will be contacted initially via text message inviting them to book into an available appointment time. These appointments will be available online (via your patient access account) or via the AskFirst app which we are trialling this year (please book using one of these routes if possible) . We are trying to use digital booking means where possible to relieve pressure on our reception team, but if you cannot use either of these then please call reception (please try to avoid busy times by avoiding Monday and between 9-10am and 2-3pm on other days). We will have flu clinics running in Princes Risborough, Chinnor, Thame and Brill.

Saturday 11th September – Chinnor

  • 08.30 – 12.30
  • 13.30 – 17.30

Weds 15th September – Risborough

  • 14.00 – 18.00
  • Brill 14.00 – 18.00

Saturday 18th September – Thame

  • 08.30 – 12.30
  • 13.30 – 17.30

Weds 29th September  – Risborough

  • 14.00 – 18.00

Below is some information from NHSE about the flu vaccination programme; based on this we would encourage all our patients to have a flu vaccination asap this year.

As a result of non-pharmaceutical interventions in place for COVID-19 (such as mask-wearing, physical and social distancing, and restricted international travel) influenza activity levels were extremely low globally in 2020 to 2021. As a result, a lower level of population immunity against influenza is expected in 2021 to 2022. In the situation where social mixing and social contact return towards pre-pandemic norms, it is expected that winter 2021 to 2022 will be the first winter in the UK when seasonal influenza virus (and other respiratory viruses) will co-circulate alongside COVID-19.

Seasonal influenza and COVID-19 viruses have the potential to add substantially to the winter pressures usually faced by the NHS, particularly if infection waves from both viruses coincide. The timing and magnitude of potential influenza and COVID-19 infection waves for winter 2021 to 2022 are currently unknown, but mathematical modelling indicates the 2021 to 2022 influenza season in the UK could be up to 50% larger than typically seen and it is also possible that the 2021 to 2022 influenza season will begin earlier than usual.

Influenza vaccination is therefore an important priority this coming autumn to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with influenza, and to reduce hospitalisations during a time when the NHS and social care may also be managing winter outbreaks of COVID-19.

Eligibility criteria for Practice-delivered 2021/22 flu vaccinations for our patients:

  • Those aged 50 years and over
  • Those aged 6 months to under 50 years in clinical risk groups
  • Pregnant women
  • Those in long-stay residential care homes
  • Carers
  • Close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
  • Frontline health and social care staff

All children aged 2 to 15 (but not 16 years or older) on 31 August 2021 are also eligible but we are only being commissioned to vaccinate children aged 2 and 3 (date of birth 1.9.2017 to 31.08.2019) – this group (unless they are in a clinical at risk group) will be called to a separate clinic for children since they also have a different flu vaccine. The remainder of this age group will be vaccinated by the school nursing team not via the Practice.

COVID booster vaccinations

We were hoping to be able to deliver the flu vaccinations alongside the third COVID booster vaccination. Unless anything changes nationally this is looking unlikely in the short-term, for a number of reasons:

  • JCVI instructions are that the COVID booster vaccination needs to be given at least 180 days after the second COVID booster. Even though we were one of the earliest practices to start giving the COVID vaccinations this still means we cannot start COVID vaccinations until late September at the earliest.
  • NHSE are, however, predicting potentially an earlier than usual flu outbreak so want us to vaccinate our patients against the flu virus as early as possible, as soon as we start to receive our flu vaccine delivery
  • To date, we have not received any information from NHSE on when we can start ordering the COVID vaccination, how many we can order each week etc

We have, therefore, decided to schedule the flu clinics as separate clinics during September (as above).

We look forward to welcoming you to the surgery soon.

COVID Vaccines for those aged 12-15 years and have underlying health conditions or who are living in a family with immunosuppressed family members:

We are keen to see Children who are between 12-15 years old and have underlying health conditions or who are living in a family with immunosuppressed family members vaccinated before the start of the new school term. We will be contacting Unity Health patients that fall into this category via text message or a phone call.

Burnham Health Centre and Wycombe Town Hall have walk in clinics running, which will be vaccinating these patients:

  • Burnham Health Centre – 9-1pm and 2-6pm Saturday 21st August
  • Wycombe Town Hall – 10-12pm Wednesday 25th August
  • Milton Keynes have pre-bookable clinics available for this cohort:
  • Crown – Water Eaton Health Centre, Fern Grove, Milton Keynes MK2 3HN Telephone Number 07783 600932/01908 752958
  • Southwest – Westcroft Health Centre 1 Savill Lane, Milton Keynes MK4 4EN Telephone number 01908 866668

Anyone attending these clinics must take along proof that they fall into this category, this must be a clinical diagnosis of the patient or family member. If it is a family member, then you must also provide proof that the 12-15year old lives at the same address.

We can provide a letter for Unity Health patients, this will be offered when we contact them.

Update on Flu and COVID Jabs

Update on Flu and covid jabs this coming winter

We have ordered in the flu vaccinations and can confirm that we will be offering these to all of our eligible patients. This year, the eligibility categories have again been extended (see below). We are aware that sometimes local pharmacies start to offer the flu jabs earlier than GP practices, but we kindly ask that you support the surgery provision rather than go to the pharmacy to get your vaccination, where possible.

We were hoping to be able to deliver the flu vaccinations alongside the third covid booster vaccination so have held off scheduling our flu clinic dates. It now seems unlikely that we will be able to deliver the two vaccinations together, at least initially, for a number of reasons:

  • JCVI instructions are that the covid booster vaccination needs to be given at least 180 days after the second covid booster. Even though we were one of the earliest practices to start giving the covid vaccinations this still means we cannot start covid vaccinations until late September at the earliest.
  • NHSE are, however, predicting potentially an earlier than usual flu outbreak so want us to vaccinate our patients against the flu virus as early as possible, as soon as we start to receive our flu vaccine delivery
  • To date, we have not received any information from NHSE on when we can start ordering the covid vaccination, how many we can order each week etc

We have, therefore, decided to schedule the flu clinics as separate clinics during September and are just completing this plan now. As soon as we have this information we will contact all eligible patients via text message (or via telephone call/letter if no mobile phone number) inviting them to book into an available appointment time; these appointments will be available on-line (please book on-line if possible) or by calling reception. We will have flu clinics running in Princes Risborough, Chinnor, Thame and Brill.

Below is the information from NHSE about the flu vaccination programme; based on this we would encourage all our patients to have a flu vaccination asap this year.

As a result of non-pharmaceutical interventions in place for COVID-19 (such as mask-wearing, physical and social distancing, and restricted international travel) influenza activity levels were extremely low globally in 2020 to 2021. As a result, a lower level of population immunity against influenza is expected in 2021 to 2022. In the situation where social mixing and social contact return towards pre-pandemic norms, it is expected that winter 2021 to 2022 will be the first winter in the UK when seasonal influenza virus (and other respiratory viruses) will co-circulate alongside COVID-19.

Seasonal influenza and COVID-19 viruses have the potential to add substantially to the winter pressures usually faced by the NHS, particularly if infection waves from both viruses coincide. The timing and magnitude of potential influenza and COVID-19 infection waves for winter 2021 to 2022 are currently unknown, but mathematical modelling indicates the 2021 to 2022 influenza season in the UK  could be up to 50% larger than typically seen and it is also possible that the 2021 to 2022 influenza season will begin earlier than usual.

Influenza vaccination is therefore an important priority this coming autumn to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with influenza, and to reduce hospitalisations during a time when the NHS and social care may also be managing winter outbreaks of COVID-19.

Eligibility criteria for Practice-delivered 2021/22 flu vaccinations for our patients:

  • Those aged 50 years and over
  • Those aged 6 months to under 50 years in clinical risk groups
  • Pregnant women
  • Those in long-stay residential care homes
  • Carers
  • Close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
  • Frontline health and social care staff

All children aged 2 to 15 (but not 16 years or older) on 31 August 2021 are also eligible but we are only being commissioned to vaccinate children aged 2 and 3 (date of birth 1.9.2017 to 31.08.2019) – this group (unless they are in a clinical at risk group) will be called to a separate clinic for children since they also have a different flu vaccine. The remainder of this age group will be vaccinated by the school nursing team not via the Practice.

Thank you for your patience, and we look forward to welcoming you to the surgery soon.

Support for veterans

As an Accredited Veteran Friendly Practice we recognise that recent events in Afghanistan may be causing a range of emotions and psychological distress for both our Veterans and their families.

If you would like to talk to someone or are concerned about how events are affecting you or a family member please contact the surgery where all our team are aware of the particular needs of veterans and their families at this time.

Flu Vaccine Scam

Public Health England (PHE) have been notified of a potential scam which took the form of a text message sent directly to a patient. Please note the following response from PHE:

PHE plays a role in advising and drafting guidance on the National Immunisation Programme but communications regarding the programme would usually come from Gov.UK and NHS sources:

If the text received by the patient in question is a scam, as would seem likely, it is a well-timed fraud, as the Flu guidance for the 2021-2022 season has just been released (latest update yesterday). However, PHE would not be contacting members of the public individually to instruct them to obtain any routine vaccination. PHE does not have access to patients lists and would be unlikely to undertake first contact via text message (except for Test & Trace related venue alerts in the event of Covid outbreaks in hospitality settings etc).

The following website may be useful if more of these texts are reported:

www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/suspicious-email-actions