19 Oct 2020
Half of all St Helens GP practices have joined forces to offer mass flu vaccination clinics at Saints 'Totally Wicked' stadium.
GPs in St Helens are calling on all eligible people to get vaccinated against flu, as new research from Public Health England (PHE) suggests that the risk of death more than doubled for people who tested positive for both flu and COVID-19, compared to those with COVID-19 alone (1)
The research, looking at cases between January and April this year, also found that those with co-infection of the two viruses were more at risk of severe illness. Most cases of co-infection were in older people and more than half of them died.
Flu is a serious condition that kills on average 11,000 people in England each year and hospitalises many more. Adults at high risk from flu are also most at risk from COVID-19 and the free vaccine is more important than ever, to help protect the nation from a double threat this winter.
In St Helens, primary care is working harder than ever to prepare for winter, including expanding and adapting services to ensure people can get the care and vaccinations they need safely and conveniently – with nearly half of all GP practices joining together to offer mass vaccinations in the Saints Totally Wicked stadium. The mass clinics have proved a hit with local residents who praised the ease of attending.
Other practices have introduced an appointment system to ensure social distancing can be maintained.
Margaret and Frank Baxter who are patients at Haydock Medical Centre recently got their flu jabs at the stadium after making an appointment with their practice. They praised the new system saying: “The appointment system and care was really efficient and we were really were impressed with how it worked. We think it should be the way forward for all future vaccination programmes.”
Dr Mike Ejuoneatse, local GP and lead Governing Body GP for NHS St Helens CCG, said:
“Flu can be deadly, and it is easily spread in children and adults. The vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from becoming ill with the flu, especially if you are in a vulnerable group.
“This winter with Covid still circulating, and the increased risk to life if you are ill with both viruses simultaneously, it is even more vital to get the free jab as soon as you can. Contact your GP practice if you haven’t already heard from us and you are in one of the eligible groups.
“Please help us help you, and get your free flu vaccine as soon as possible. It could save your life, or someone you love.”
As part of England’s biggest ever flu campaign eligible people will receive additional direct reminders prompting them to book their appointment, supporting the hard work of local GP practices and pharmacies in driving uptake among their registered eligible patients.
Nationally, the vaccine drive will be supported by a scaled-up marketing campaign across TV, radio and digital advertising. The ‘Just’ The Flu campaign reinforces the seriousness of flu, urge people to re-evaluate their own risk to the virus and remind people that vaccination is the best protection for themselves and those around them.
For more information on the vaccine and who should get one, visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/flu-influenza-vaccine/
The flu vaccination programme is being expanded this year to help protect people from flu and ease pressure on the NHS and urgent care services.
The health system is working to provide the free flu vaccine to 30 million people, the highest number on record:
- All primary school children and, for the first time, Year 7 children will be offered the flu ‘nasal spray’ in schools to reduce community transmission. Two and three-year old’s will be offered the vaccine through their GP
- The most vulnerable, including adults aged 65 and over, those with long-term health conditions and pregnant women, will be offered the flu vaccine first through their GP or pharmacy
- The flu vaccine will also be offered once high risk groups have been vaccinated to household contacts of people on the NHS Shielded Patient List and all health and all social care workers who have direct contact with the people they care for.
- Once uptake has been maximised in the most at-risk groups, the newly eligible 50-64-year old’s will be invited for vaccination later in the season. Anyone who is 50-64 years old with long-term health condition should be vaccinated earlier in the season, in line with all others in risk groups.
 an additional 3.60 odds of death (95% CI 1.83-7.11) compared to that expected if influenza and SARS-CoV-2 acted independently.