Tesco Pharmacy, Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation and Diabetes UK have joined forces to urge people at risk to get the flu jab, with a focus on vulnerable groups that too often do not do so[i].
Those vulnerable groups more at risk from flu are also more at risk of suffering ovid-19 complications.[ii] Therefore, getting the flu jab is important for these groups, and will also reduce the pressure felt by health services.
However, while jab uptake rates are high for those over 65, an at risk group, they are far too low amongst other vulnerable groups, particularly those with long term health conditions under the age of 65, pregnant women and ethnic minority groups[iii].
Data shows the uptake rate in the 2019-2020 season in England was lower than the 2018-2019 season. For those aged 6 months to under 65 years old, with one or more underlying clinical risk factor and eligible for a free jab, it was 44.9% compared to 48.0% in 2018 to 2019, and for pregnant women it was 43.7% compared to 45.2% in 2018 to 2019.[iv]
In response, Tesco, and three major charities representing many of those at risk, are combining their powers to encourage more people to protect themselves, and continue to do their bit for the NHS, by getting the flu jab.
To help, Tesco Pharmacy is making the vaccination as convenient as the weekly shop. The pharmacy is operating a new online booking system which makes booking a slot simple and convenient, with opening hours including evenings and weekends, times when some GP surgeries and high-street pharmacies are closed.
Paul Pilkington, Head of Tesco Pharmacy, said:
“We at Tesco Pharmacy, and our Health Charity Partners, want to make getting your vaccination as easy as doing the weekly shop.
“We’re doing all we can to make it as convenient as possible for people to get their flu jab and make sure they are safe, whilst helping protect the NHS from further strain. This is the most vital flu jab ever for those at risk. If you need a jab, please, get one.”
Tesco pharmacists will administer the jab and the highest standards of hygiene and safety will be in place, with staff wearing PPE.
Daniel Howarth, Head of care at Diabetes UK, said:
“Diabetes UK is urging everyone with diabetes to take up the offer of a free flu jab through their local Tesco pharmacy or GP – this year more than ever. Getting the flu jab is the best way to protect yourself against the flu and reduce your risk of needing to go into hospital – which is even more important this year in light of Covid-19.”
Martin Ledwick, Head Information Nurse, Cancer Research UK, said:
“Having a flu jab is a great way of helping to protect yourself and the community. If you have cancer, or have had cancer in the past, you may be entitled to one for free. Check with your GP or Specialist if you are having cancer treatment to find out the best time for you to have your flu jab.”
Barbara Kobson, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said:
“If you have a heart or circulatory condition, you’re more at risk of becoming seriously ill from flu. If you have already had a heart attack, getting the flu puts you at greater risk of having another. We encourage you to make the most of Tesco Pharmacy’s booking system and get a flu jab, which could also help ease pressure on the NHS this winter.”
Tesco customers can check their eligibility for a free flu jab using the information on the Tesco.com/pharmacy booking system.
In England a total of 369 Tesco pharmacies will offer the flu jab. Tesco Pharmacy has also ordered more jabs than ever before, and plans are in place to order more if customer demand is high.