GP surgeries across Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre are getting ready to start vaccinating residents against flu and want residents to know it is safe to attend flu clinics.

Medical staff and teams from across the healthcare system have been organising and planning appropriate COVID-19 safety measures to ensure patient safety when administering the vaccine over the next few months.

Some practices have already started clinics and have thought outside of the box to make sure patients are safe. Practices in the South Shore Primary Care Centre in Blackpool have opened on a Saturday specifically for patients to have their vaccination, Marton medical practice has used a nearby school car park to offer a ‘drive thru’ vaccination and practices in Cleveleys and Thornton have banded together to hire Thornton Little Theatre to hold their flu clinics (picture supplied).

Dr Felicity Guest from The Thornton Practice who has recently joined with neighbouring practices Cleveleys Group Practice and The Crescent Surgery to use Thornton Little Theatre for their Flu vaccination clinics said “We have seen around 2,000 people each day at our clinics and have been able to maintain social distancing for all of them.

“We know how worried people are at the moment due to the current pandemic so we wanted to reassure people that we are doing all we can to keep them safe and to encourage them to come and have this very important vaccination.”

Patients of Over Wyre Medical Centre who live in Hambleton will have the opportunity to have their flu vaccination in the village on Friday 13 November. The GP practice has arranged a flu clinic at the Blessed Virgin Mary Church Hall in Church Lane.

Dr Claire Bolton, senior partner at the practice, said: “We want to make services as accessible as possible for all our communities and so we encourage patients living in Hambleton who are most at risk to book a flu vaccination at this special clinic.

“I would also like to thank Rev Andy Shaw who kindly offered the church hall for these sessions.”

Other practices are yet to start their clinics but are all putting measures in place to keep patients safe. They will be inviting patients eligible for free NHS vaccines over the next few weeks.

This year, more people are eligible for the free NHS vaccine:

  • people who are on the shielded patient list and members of their household
  • all school year groups up to year 7
  • people aged over 65
  • pregnant women
  • those with pre-existing conditions including at-risk under-2s.

Dr Neil Hartley-Smith, Clinical Director for the Fylde Coast Clinical Commissioning Groups said: “Flu is a very serious virus and it’s never ‘just the flu’ – not to be confused with the common cold. In fact, flu can cause further health complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia, leading to hospitalisation in many cases.

“Flu is a highly contagious infection that anyone can catch, it can knock you off your feet and make it hard to look after the kids or go to work. Those at even greater risk from flu include people aged 65 or over, pregnant women, and those with a lowered immunity and long-term health conditions such as severe asthma, chest or heart complaints and diabetes.

“So, if you are invited for the free flu jab, please take up the offer. It’s one of the best ways to protect yourselves and your loved ones from catching it.

“Please be assured that it’s safe to go and have your flu vaccination, as all appropriate precautions will be implemented. Healthcare staff on the Fylde Coast have been working hard to make sure the local vaccination programme follows all the latest coronavirus guidance, so if you are invited, please don’t miss out on it.”

If you cannot make your GP practice clinic you can also ask for your vaccination from your local community pharmacy.