Guernsey’s Health & Social Care (HSC) launched its 2020/21 influenza (flu) vaccination programme in September this year. Free or reduced cost vaccinations were offered to islanders as follows:
- healthcare workers,
- all children from aged 2 and up to and including school year 7,
- those aged 6 months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups,
- pregnant women,
- those aged 65 years and over,
- those in long-stay residential care homes,
- close contacts of immunocompromised individuals,
- health and social care staff employed by a registered residential care/nursing home, home care provider or a voluntary managed hospice provider.
In addition, flu vaccinations were offered to individuals aged 50 to 64 (once the priority cohorts listed above have been delivered) via Primary Care flu vaccination clinics. In order to encourage high take up levels, the States of Guernsey agreed individuals in this cohort would receive the vaccine at a reduced cost.
Over 21,000 vaccinations have been issued across the Bailiwick. This includes nearly 10,000 vaccines to those aged 65 and over.
This take-up is significantly above previous years and shows our community are continuing to come together to help protect health and care services through the winter period. This unprecedented uptake has however made the campaign a victim of its own success with all initial orders allocated.
Anyone who has already booked an appointment at a flu clinic will receive their vaccine as scheduled.
HSC has contacted primary care providers and pharmacists to establish what stocks of vaccine they have remaining. This will enable vaccines to be redistributed if they can be utilised elsewhere – rather than providers stockpiling reserves.
HSC has, over recent months, taken all possible steps to secure as many vaccines as possible for our vulnerable cohorts but this has been difficult given the international high demand. It is, however, usual for manufacturers to stagger deliveries of the vaccine and this year is no different.
Following an audit on 28 October of influenza vaccines held by Primary Care practices (in response to some islanders being unable to access vaccines – particularly those over the age of 65), vaccines are in the process of being redistributed to redress the required stock levels across all practices.
Practices will contact those patients who have been unable to access the vaccine for the over 65s as soon as they receive additional stock.