GP practices to aim for minimum 75% uptake with expanded flu vaccination campaign

Published 5 August 2020

NHS England is targeting at least 75% uptake of flu vaccinations in at-risk groups this season, with GPs told to consider visiting shielding patients at home, while for others drive-in vaccinations are suggested.

Setting out the plans for this year’s extended vaccination drive, NHS England’s flu letter update also said the extension of vaccinations to the new age 50-64 cohort will not happen until November and December and only subject to stock availability.

NHS England is also looking at the possibility of hiring extra staff to deliver vaccinations and other ‘alternative delivery approaches’.

GPs will be expected to call and recall patients as per contractual arrangements but NHS England is also developing a national call and recall service to ‘ensure that all eligible patients are informed of their eligibility and are encouraged to get vaccination this season’.

Household contacts to those on the shielded list will not be subject to call and recall arrangements but will be vaccinated ‘opportunistically’, but NHS England aims for all identified people to be offered vaccination.

The letter said: ‘This year, we are asking for a concerted effort to significantly increase flu vaccination coverage and achieve a minimum 75% uptake across all eligible groups. Where possible, we expect uptake will be higher than this and a national supply of stock has been procured to ensure demand does not outstrip supply.’

NHS England reiterated that the Department of Health and Social Care will issue guidance in September on how to access the additional national supply of the adult vaccine.

To ensure the safety of patients during vaccinations, NHS England said ‘a range of different ways of delivering the flu immunisation programme this year should be considered’.

It said this should include:

  • careful appointment planning to minimise waiting times and maintain social distancing
  • providing patients with information in advance of their appointment to explain what to expect
  • recalling at-risk patients if they do not attend in line with contract requirements
  • social distancing innovations such as drive in vaccinations and ‘car as waiting room’ models, if possible
  • for those on the Shielded Patient List who are high risk for Covid-19 consider the use of domiciliary visits.


The letter also noted that all frontline health and social care workers are expected to have a vaccination this season and that this should be provided by their employers, ‘in order to meet their responsibility to protect their staff and patients and ensure the overall safe running of services’.

As announced previously, practices are expected to use their existing flu vaccine stocks initially – guidance will be issued in September on how to access the additional national supply of adult vaccine that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has procured.

The additional groups for vaccination are:

  • household contacts of those on the NHS Shielded Patient List. Specifically individuals who expect to share living accommodation with a shielded person on most days over the winter and therefore for whom continuing close contact is unavoidable.
  • children of school Year 7 age in secondary schools (those aged 11 on 31 August 2020).
  • health and social care workers employed through Direct Payment (personal budgets) and/or Personal Health Budgets, such as Personal Assistants, to deliver domiciliary care to patients and service users*
  • The aim is to also vaccinate everyone aged 50-64 years in November and December, ‘subject to vaccine supply’. This extension is being phased to prioritise vaccination of at-risk groups first.

*NHS England said that this cohort can be vaccinated by their GP practice, or through community pharmacy; the scheme is intended to complement, not replace, any established occupational health schemes offering flu vaccination in the workplace.

Vaccination uptake ambitions

NHS England said it is ‘asking for a concerted effort to significantly increase flu vaccination coverage and achieve a minimum 75% uptake across all eligible groups’. The letter added that ‘where possible, we expect uptake will be higher than this and a national supply of stock has been procured to ensure demand does not outstrip supply’.

The table below sets out the uptake ambitions in each cohort.

Eligible groupsUptake ambition
  Aged 65 years and over  At least 75%
  In clinical at risk group  At least 75%
  Pregnant women  At least 75%
  Children aged 2 and 3 years old  At least 75%
  All primary school aged children and school year 7 in secondary school  At least 75%
  Frontline health and social care workers  100% offer

You can download the full flu letter update here.

Guide URL:
https://pulse-intelligence.co.uk/guide/gp-practices-to-aim-for-minimum-75-uptake-with-expanded-flu-vaccination-campaign/
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