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Well offers free private flu jabs to all over-18s as hospital admissions rocket

Well Pharmacy has made its private flu jab free of charge to all patients aged over 18 as hospital admissions “peak”, it has announced.

As of today (January 9), patients over 18 will be able to get a free flu vaccination at a Well pharmacy, without being part of one of the eligible NHS groups.

“The chain is concerned as the winter flu season is now in full force, with hospital admissions reaching a peak and flu stats higher than they have been in recent years,” the multiple said.

It added that it “is worried about those who have yet to have the flu jab and is urging people to get one for free in Well pharmacies”.

With only children aged 2-11, the over 50s and those with certain medical conditions eligible for free NHS jabs, Well’s provision will offer free flu jabs to “millions who would normally have to pay for a flu vaccination”, it said.

It comes after NHS England revealed on Friday (January 6) that flu cases in hospital had risen by almost half (47%) in a week, from 3,479 to 5,105 in the week leading up to New Year’s Day.

The number of patients in critical care beds with flu also increased by more than a quarter (26%), it said.

Well superintendent pharmacist Ifti Khan said “we are amid one of the worst flu seasons we have seen in recent times”.

 

Cost-of-living a factor

 

Mr Khan said the multiple would offer its flu vaccine – which previously retailed for £15 – to patients over 18 for free “whilst stocks last”.

The multiple also acknowledged that money is currently “a real concern” for patients, some of whom “may not [have been] able to afford to pay for their jab” at its previous price as they grapple with the cost-of-living crisis.

Well urged patients to speak to the team at their local Well pharmacy to get the vaccine.

“The teams can also help with wellbeing services such as blood pressure checks, weight and diabetes risk support and medication and prescription management,” the multiple said.

It comes as Superdrug and Boots both announced a drop in the price of their private flu jabs to under £10 amid the spike in hospital cases, following in the steps of Asda and Well last month.

And C+D reported last week (January 6) that pharmacy teams in England had delivered 4,795,086 flu vaccines, surpassing the total number of jabs administered last year with two months still left of this year’s season.

Meanwhile, pharmacists said they were struggling to get hold of medicines such as Lemsip amid a significant increase in demand for cold and flu treatments. 

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