Flu vaccine information for 50-64 age group in Suffolk ‘likely to be November’
PUBLISHED: 07:30 15 October 2020 | UPDATED: 08:25 15 October 2020
People in the 50-64 age group in Suffolk should find out from next month if they are eligible for a flu vaccine this year, as health organisations do not yet know how many vaccines will be available.
Health organisations were required to lodge orders for flu jabs back in January before the coronavirus pandemic hit, with many more people expected to be requesting jabs this year.
It has already been announced that inoculations should be provided for the 50-64 age group as well as the usual 65+ category, but so far health organisations have been tasked with prioritising those most at risk with the vaccines currently delivered.
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During Wednesday’s health scrutiny committee at Suffolk County Council, health bosses said that those in the 50-64 group would be given more information in November when that batch of vaccines is expected to arrive.
Tania Farrow, chief officer for the Suffolk Local Pharmaceutical Committee which represents pharmacies across the county, said: “The 50-64 cohort were announced as being eligible on the basis that the vaccine was available, and the issue with that is that we haven’t really got clarity about exactly how much vaccine is currently available.
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“The actual supply is now being controlled centrally so we can’t just put in an order and say a pharmacy in Suffolk wants to get another 1,000 vaccines. There are limitations on how much you can order, and it has to be on the order that you have completed all your other vaccines.
“We are currently vaccinating the high risk patients and there are still deliveries to come that are going to support them.
“At the point the other vaccines become available, which is likely to be November, that is when the next cohort will be announced.”
According to Dr Ruth Bushaway, medical director at Suffolk GP Federation, some GP practices were holding weekend and evening walk-through clinics to keep patients socially distanced as they organise the vaccines.
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“We have been advised to hold off flu jabs for the 50-64 well-cohort until later in the season but this advice has not been as ideally publicised to the public, so practices have had a lot of contact from people we are not able to vaccinate yet,” she added.
However, concerns have remained over the uncertainty people have faced.
Councillor Sandra Gage said there was a need for “more urgent publicity” for the timescales of flu jabs for that age group, because they had growing concerns on when they may be able to access the vaccine.
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