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Boots presses pause on flu jab bookings for under-65s

Boots has paused new bookings for its private and under-65s flu vaccination service following increased demand, although appointments remain available for patients aged over 65.

Boots decided this weekend to “pause” taking new bookings for its private service and NHS jabs for eligible patients aged under 65, a spokesperson told C+D yesterday (September 21).

This is to “make sure” it can vaccinate the patients who have already made an appointment, the spokesperson added.

This year, Boots has seen “more people than ever booking early to get their flu vaccinations”, they said.

However, the multiple stressed that patients aged over 65 can still book their flu vaccination at Boots as it has some stock available of the trivalent vaccine, which is recommended for this group.

Lloydspharmacy sees “unprecedented demand”

At the time of writing, it was not possible to book a flu vaccination through Lloydspharmacy's website. 

A spokesperson for Lloydspharmacy told C+D today (September 21) that “we are monitoring appointment levels closely and releasing new spaces as soon as they become available throughout the flu season.”

The multiple has seen “unprecedented demand for flu vaccines” this year, and had “already vaccinated 10 times more people” in the first week of flu season compared to the same period last year, the spokesperson said.

They added that there have been a “small number of isolated incidents where appointments have been rescheduled by the local pharmacy team”, and patients have been contacted directly where this is the case.

“We are reassuring customers that there are enough vaccines available for those who have booked appointments,” they said.

They added: "We are currently making improvements to our online booking to cope with the increased demand and we are asking any new customers to provide us with their contact details if they wish to have a flu vaccination so that we can contact them as soon as these upgrades are in place.

"We anticipate this to be resolved in the next 24 to 36 hours where the online booking of appointments will resume."

DH: “Sufficient’ stocks of vaccines

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said that flu vaccine deliveries for eligible patients have already begun and will continue throughout the winter months.

It is “more important than ever” to get vaccinated this year due to COVID-19, and there is “sufficient” stock to vaccinate up to 30 million people in England, they told C+D today.

“Delivery of flu vaccinations is phased over the autumn and into winter, and priority is rightly given to those who are most at-risk, with others being asked to wait to later in the year,” the spokesperson added.

Have you seen a rise in demand for the flu vaccination service?

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Supply issues were warned about months ago, even with the increased demand for this year's situation, this has been an ongoing challenge every year. And, this is something I do not get to say very often, is not caused by the multiples, the manufacture of vaccinations always appears to lag behind the demand.

C A, Community pharmacist

The multiples may actually have helped, the stock issues last year certainly made things challenging, so the amount multiples pre-ordered was increased substantially - at least from what I've heard.

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