FLU VACCINES SUPPLY ISSUES
We are sorry to inform you that we do not have any spare influenza vaccines during this time. Due to the change in circumstances of COVID-19 we are having to prioritise eligible patients.
All practices order their flu vaccines by Easter. Vaccine manufacturing occurs from Easter to the end of August and distribution starts in September and runs to November. Once all pre orders are delivered any spare vaccines are available to order on an ‘available’ basis from the manufacturers for delivery late November.
This year, after the Easter deadline had passed the government amended the target populations to ensure maximum coverage and purchased all excess stock and stock options from UK based suppliers.
Therefore, it is unlikely that the practice will have any (or access to any) spare influenza vaccines beyond its original order based upon government advice at the order closing date at Easter.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why were there not plans to secure enough vaccines for everyone who wants one?
- Vaccines are a biological product with a very limited shelf life and very strict temperature storage requirements
- Vaccines cannot be stored for long periods
- Last year's vaccine will not work this year because the strains mutate very year - so we cannot stockpile vaccines.
- Seasonal flu vaccines are a planned purchase and vaccines are tailor made each year. In the past the system could cope with small numbers of patients changing their mind late in the season
- Patients in the at-risk groups as defined by the Department of Health before Easter were all asked to indicate whether they wished to be included in the flu vaccination campaign this year and our vaccine order was sized accordingly.
Please do not blame the receptionists or the clinical staff for your inability to obtain a vaccine. All patients in the declared at risk groups at the order closing date were offered a vaccine and our order was scaled accordingly.
Please note that it is not a GPs responsibility to issue school letters of absence for your children. Government guidance is that school attendance is mandatory unless your child is self isolating, has symptoms of COVID-19 or is close to someone who has COVID-19. For more information, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/schools-and-colleges-to-reopen-in-full-in-september
Your GP Practice cannot assist you in booking a COVID-19 test and does not provide COVID-19 testing; this can only be done via the national online booking portal or contact NHS 119 by telephone. Your GP Practice cannot advise you on whether or not your child or children are safe to return to school; this should be discussed with the school(s) concerned.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What areas do the new measures cover?
Everywhere in Lancashire except Blackpool. For the latest information on restrictions in Blackpool click here: https://www.blackpool.gov.uk/Campaigns/Coronavirus/Coronavirus.aspx
What are the new measures?
From Tuesday 22 September
- Residents must not socialise with other people outside of their household or protective support bubble in private homes or gardens.
- Hospitality for food and drink must operate table service only.
- Leisure and entertainment venues, including restaurants, pubs and cinemas, must close between 10pm and 5am
Residents are also advised to follow the below guidelines to further reduce the spread of the virus:
- Only use public transport for essential journeys – such as travelling to school or work. A face covering must be worn on public transport unless you are exempt.
- Avoid attending amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators.
Residents are urged to only visit indoor locations such as restaurants and pubs places with other members of their household or support bubble.
Why are the new measures being introduced?
These measures will help to address the significant rise in coronavirus cases in the region in recent weeks. There is an increased risk of transmission the more people who gather together. Our data shows an increased rate of transmission in homes, hospitality venues and through grassroot sports. We are doing everything we can to protect our most vulnerable, keep businesses open and children in school, which these measures will help with.
How long will it last
The measures start from Tuesday 22 September and will be monitored closely and reviewed on a weekly basis. The next steps will depend on the impact the measures have.
Who is allowed into my home?
You must not meet people who you do not live with or are part of a protective support bubble inside your home.
However, there are a number of exceptions to this rule listed below:
- To provide emergency assistance
- To attend a birth at the mother’s request
- To visit a person who is dying
- To fulfil a legal obligation
- For work, volunteering or charitable purposes
- For education or training purposes
- For the purposes of childcare provided by a registered provider
- To provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person
- To facilitate a house move (this includes viewing a property)
- To continue existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children where the children do not live in the same household as one or more of their parents.
What is a support bubble?
For the latest information and guidelines on support bubbles visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/making-a-support-bubble-with-another-household
Are residents required to shield?
For the latest information and guidelines on shielding visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19
Do these measures affect education?
No. Schools, colleges and universities remain open and are operating in a COVID-secure way.
Can I travel for work or schools?
Yes. People can travel in or out of Lancashire for work and education purposes. Workplaces and schools should be implementing COVID-secure measures.
Do these measures affect childcare?
You can continue to use early years and childcare settings, including childminders and providers offering before or after school clubs or other out-of-school settings for children. You can also continue to employ nannies, including those living outside of the region.
Children of parents who are separated can continue to move between households.
Can I visit someone’s house in an area not subject to restrictions?
You must not visit anyone’s home either within or out of the restricted area except for your support bubble or for the excepted reasons listed above.
Why can I visit the pub but not my relative’s house?
This is because the hospitality industry has enhanced measures, such as risk assessments and test and trace, which private homes don’t have.
What are the changes for hospitality venues?
Hospitality venues must close between 10pm and 5am
During open hours businesses must operate table service only including ordering food and drinks
Can I go to the gym, gym class or a swimming pool?
Yes, as long as these venues have the required Covid-secure risk assessments and guidelines in place.
What about furlough for people who won’t be able to work as a result?
The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is due to continue during September and October.
From 1 September, the government will pay 70% of wages up to a maximum cap of £2,187.50 for the hours the employee is on furlough. Employers will top up employees’ wages to ensure they receive 80% (up to £2,500).
To see whether you can claim for your employees’ wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme click here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
Can I still meet people outside of my household or support bubble in a pub, café or restaurant?
This depends on where in Lancashire you live.
If you live in an area with local restrictions (Blackburn and Darwen, Pendle and Preston) these restrictions remain in place, meaning you are unable to meet with other households in any indoor location.
If you live in an area that was not already in local restrictions, the government advice is to only visit these venues with other members of your household (or support bubble).
You can find out more specific information for your area here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/north-west-of-england-local-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do
Can I still meet people outside of my household or support bubble in public outdoor spaces?
The Government advice is to avoid mixing with any additional household in any location to further decrease the risk of spreading the virus.
What are the changes to playing sports?
Unless formally organised by a sports club or similar organisation, with guidance issued by a sports governing body, team sports should not take place at an indoor or outdoor venue with people who you don’t live with.
You should not spectate at amateur and semi-professional sports events.
Can I have someone in my house (or go into someone’s house) to do repairs or other work?
Official/registered tradespeople can go to other people’s homes for work purposes as long as you follow national guidance on how to work safely there.
What about public transport and car sharing?
Residents are advised to only use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work. Face coverings must be worn unless exempt.
You are advised not to share a car with those outside your household or support bubble, and to use public transport for essential journeys instead.
Can I still go on holiday?
You can still go on holiday within the UK or abroad, but you should only do this with people you live with (or have formed a support bubble with). You need to follow any rules in the area you visit and be aware of the self-isolation rules when travelling to and from certain countries. People can visit the region on holiday but must comply with the local restrictions.