Coronavirus: Boots suspends flu jabs after ‘unprecedented demand’
Boots has said it is no longer taking bookings for the flu jab “due to unprecedented demand”.
Officials have warned that both influenza and COVID-19 could be circulating at the same time and have been urging people who are eligible to get vaccinated.
People who get priority for the NHS jab include over 65s, those with underlying health conditions such as lung disease or diabetes, and pregnant women.
The Department for Health and Social Care is also recommending that children aged 2-11 and anyone who is the main carer of an older or disabled person – or lives in a house with someone shielding – receives it.
This year in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the flu vaccine will also be offered for the first time to the over-50s, and the over-55s in Scotland.
It is also available as a paid-for service at pharmacies such as Boots.
However, as coronavirus cases surge, keeping up with demand appears to have become an issue.
A statement on Boots’ website said: “Due to unprecedented demand for flu vaccinations this year and stock availability we have had to suspend bookings.”
NHS England has said stocks of the live vaccine are available as experts warn that people should “not be complacent” over flu.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Kay Burley there are “more than enough” supplies of the vaccine and that we have “record” amounts.
Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds told Sky News she had heard from constituents in Oxford that they were having trouble accessing the jab.
She said it was critical that the logistics were sorted in order to stop this from becoming a bigger problem.
He said there are 30 million doses and that the fact that there is a lot of demand is a “very good thing”.
Those infected with both flu and COVID-19 have a serious increased risk of death, Public Health England (PHE) has said.
The flu vaccination programme has been expanded this year so more people than ever will be eligible for a vaccine – up to 30 million people in England.
The campaign has been launched as a new study showed that during the first peak of the pandemic, people who were infected with both the new coronavirus and flu were six times more likely to die compared with the general population.
The risk of death was also higher compared with being infected with COVID-19 alone.
Like coronavirus, flu is passed on through coughs and sneezes, so it is important sufferers stay home and distance from others.
If you think you have either flu or coronavirus you should self-isolate and anyone with any underlying health conditions or who is over 65 should ring NHS 111.
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