If I was a GP, I’d be getting worried now. Many readers will have already have ordered all their flu stock this year. And I know it is an essential revenue source for you at a time you need it.
But, with the start of the vaccination programme a mere two months away, we still don’t know how it is going to look – principally whether you will be able to co-administer the flu and Covid vaccines.
On many levels this is understandable. We need to follow the science (even if the Government’s approach to easing restrictions has somewhat forgotten this). So, without being sure that co-administration is viable, it is impossible to structure the Covid vaccine enhanced service for the booster jabs accordingly yet. As a result, the enhanced service as it currently stands is similar to the current programme – Covid vaccines being administered at PCN level.
However, this leaves GPs with little direction. Because, if co-administration is viable, what does this mean for practice level flu vaccines in practices that are not offering the Covid jab? I can’t imagine too many patients booking separate appointments for flu and Covid through loyalty to their family doctor. And making the administration of the flu vaccine at PCN level service is not a direction we want to go.
At the same time, we have the spectre of mass Covid vaccination centres delivering the booster jabs, who will presumably also administer the flu vaccine if we do adopt co-administration.
Until we have clarification from the MHRA, there is little NHS England can do. However, it can offer reassurances to GPs who have been following their advice and ordering flu stock. Because they certainly need it.
Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse. Follow him on Twitter @jkaffash or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.