Free flu jabs for unpaid carers in Surrey
Winter flu season is upon us and this year – more than ever – Surrey’s carers are being encouraged to get their flu jab. These are free, and protect you as well as the person you care for.
You are more likely to get flu than COVID-19 and, together with good hygiene, the flu vaccine is one of the best ways you can stay healthy.
Whilst the vaccine can’t protect against COVID-19, if enough carers have the free flu jab this autumn, it is thought that this will help the NHS cope better through the winter months – especially if there is another spike in COVID-19 cases. People at high risk from COVID-19 are also most at risk from flu.
High demand affecting supplies
There are some vaccine availability issues, due to increased eligibility and demand. For carers, first priority is being given to those caring for people who are shielding. Other carers may have their appointments delayed into November when it is expected that stocks will be back up. This leaflet explains why there are some delays.
Some Muslim carers have additional questions about the vaccine, because of their faith. The Muslim Council of Britain has produced this factsheet to answer some frequently asked questions.
Please note, this information is for unpaid, family/friend carers. If you area a paid care worker please contact your employer for details on how you can have a flu jab.
How to get a Voucher
The NHS in Surrey provides Vouchers (both physical copies and electronic-vouchers) which we, Action for Carers help distribute. You do need to be registered with us (which is FREE and easy to do!)
To request a Voucher now, please get in touch with our Carer Information Centre. Call us on 0303 040 1234, email CarerSupport@actionforcarers.org.uk or text on 07714 075993. The Carer Information Centre is open 9am-5pm, Monday, Thursday and Friday, and 9am-6pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
How to use the Voucher
You can ask for a flu jab at your GP practice, or take your Surrey Carers’ Flu Jab Voucher to your nearest participating community pharmacy, there will be no charge. The Voucher ‘proves’ you are a carer, and you are therefore entitled to a free vaccination.
Please note, because the vaccine is being offered to an expanded list of priority groups this year, there are issues with availability in some areas. At the GP, your request will be registered, and prioritised, and you will get the vaccination as soon as possible. Pharmacies that have temporary short supplies may also have waiting lists. (Or you can try another pharmacy.)
Most, but not all pharmacists are signed up to the flu vaccination programme and that there may be further exclusions based on medical grounds. So give them a call to check availability. You can find your local pharmacy, its opening times and contact information here.
For younger carers
We can send Vouchers to any young carers aged 16 or older. Just get in touch. If you are under 16, go to your GP. Make sure you are registered as a young carer, and ask for the nasal spray vaccine. Ensuring your GP knows you are a young carer gets you other help too – take a look at this GP leaflet for young carers. Children in primary school should all receive the nasal spray vaccine automatically. This year Year 7 secondary school children will also get the vaccine.
Those eligible for a free flu vaccination:
Below is the official list of which groups are now entitled to a free flu vaccination. Nationally this is around 30 million people. Please note, we only support carers – if you’re not a carer, but are on this list, please contact your GP.
- The main carer of an older person or disabled person (see above)
- Pregnant women
- Children aged 2- 11 years old (on the 31 August 2020)
- Member of a shielding household
- 65+ years old
- Have a long-term condition (see a full list on the NHS website).
- a heart problem
- a chest complaint or breathing difficulties, including bronchitis, emphysema or severe asthma
- a kidney disease
- lowered immunity due to disease or treatment (such as steroid medication or cancer treatment)
- liver disease
- had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
- a neurological condition, e.g. multiple sclerosis (MS), cerebral palsy
- a learning disability
- a problem with your spleen, e.g. sickle cell disease, or you have had your spleen removed
- are seriously overweight (BMI of 40 and above)
- Those living in a residential or nursing home
- Frontline health and social care workers