Here’s how GPs are adapting to make patients feel safe when receiving their flu jab

Friday, 28th August 2020, 2:30 pm
Updated Friday, 28th August 2020, 2:35 pm
Vulnerable groups have been warned that falling ill with common conditions such as flu could put them at greater risk of coronavirus. (Shutterstock)

Health bosses are urging "scared" patients to continue to visit GP surgeries for vaccinations and flu jabs amid the coronavirus pandemic.

GPs have seen a drop in vaccinations due to the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown temporarily putting a pause on normal programmes. However, jabs and vaccines will become available again from September.

Doctors are now aiming to reassure the public that it is still safe to visit their local surgeries to get the jabs and vaccines they may have missed.

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Why are vaccinations so important?

Vulnerable groups have been warned that falling ill with common conditions such as flu could put them at greater risk of coronavirus.

Teresa Owen, executive director of public health for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board explained, "Vaccinations are some of the most important things that you can do to prevent against those preventable diseases.

"They are so important and we want people to optimise their health and, hopefully, we'll reduce the risk of having two conditions at the same time."

Young people heading off to university in September are also being urged to ensure they have all the available vaccinations aimed at preventing meningitis prior to leaving home.

Meanwhile, those aged between 70 to 79 can arrange a free vaccination against shingles. A vaccine for pneumonia is also available for older people.

‘People are scared’

Some doctor’s surgeries have set up special treatment areas for vaccinations and staff are keen to reassure the public it is now safe for them to receive their vaccinations.

Lockdown caused a backlog of up to 200 planned vaccinations for conditions like pneumonia and shingles, and GPs are now urging patients to come back to recive the jabs they missed.

Colette Hughes, an advanced nurse practitioner said, "People are scared. It is safe and it is encouraged [to attend].”

She added that the process will simply “look different.”

Appointments will be scheduled and numbers of patients visiting at any one time will be limited. Patients will be asked to adhere to social distancing and wear masks while they are at their GP.

"When we do our flu clinics, you'll no longer come into our room," said Ms Hughes.

"We'll set up stations in the waiting area with screens for confidentiality and dignity. So, it will all look just slightly different but it's there to protect us as staff, the patients that are coming in and it's worked so far."