Concerns have been raised that pensioners in Peterborough will not take up their flu jab this year due a phased roll-out of the vaccine.
Healthwatch Peterborough - which describes itself as the independent champion for people who use health and social care services in Peterborough - says it has received reports GP practices and pharmacies are running out of flu vaccinations, particularly for people aged 65 or over.
It said: “We have found out that this is because the flu vaccinations are being rolled out in stages to local pharmacies and surgeries, but some practices are still booking clinics.
“People turned away are being asked to re-book in November when more vaccines should have been delivered.
“We are worried that it will mean some people do not return for their flu jab and will not be protected. We have heard of people being told that they will need to ‘join the queue’ and cannot pre-book a flu jab appointment.
“We are keeping an eye on this situation and asking questions about this. Please do let us know about your experiences, so we can feed this back to NHS England and other local health care planners.”
Healthwatch Peterborough has since contacted the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which commissions health services in the county.
The CCG has been talking to pharmacies and GP surgeries about how to manage the supply of vaccinations so that people get the protection that they need.
Healthwatch Peterborough said the CCG had asked it to pass on the following message:
“Getting vaccinated is really important for staying healthy over winter and we would encourage people in the eligible groups to get protected. This is people aged 65 or over, pregnant women, young children and people with long term health conditions.
“We want to reassure the public that there will be enough vaccines for everyone who needs one in these groups.
“For the first time this year people aged over 65 should only be offered a particular version of the flu vaccine, because it is more effective for them.
“There is only one manufacturer of this vaccine and delivery of it is being co-ordinated nationally. Practices and pharmacies have received their first batches and more will be delivered in October and early November.
“This means that not everyone aged 65+ can get their flu vaccine as early in the autumn as in previous years. However, enough vaccines are being produced and there is plenty of time for people to be protected ahead of winter.
“Patients wanting a flu jab should keep in touch with their GP practice or local pharmacy so they can be booked in for their vaccination at the earliest opportunity.”