By Neil Trainis
Boots has said a big increase in demand for flu jabs has led it to temporarily stop taking bookings for its under-65s and private flu jab services.
A spokesperson for the pharmacy chain told Independent Community Pharmacist that it took the decision at the weekend not to accept new bookings for those groups to allow patients who have already booked an appointment to receive a vaccine.
The UK's largest pharmacy multiple said it will continue vaccinating the over-65s with the trivalent vaccination but said high demand rather than a shortage of vaccine was behind its decision to pause its under-65s and private services.
“It’s not so much because of a shortage, it’s down to the demand which was so much higher this year,” said the spokesperson, who was unable to say when the service will resume.
Large numbers of people have attempted to book vaccinations this year amid fears that a second spike in Covid-19 will increase the risk of harm to those with flu.
There has been 4,368 news cases of Covid-19 in the UK in the last 24 hours according to the government who today warned there could be 49,000 daily infections by mid-October if infections carry on at the current rate.
“We know that this year, our customers have been more conscious than ever about protecting the health of themselves and their families, and protecting against flu has been front of mind for many of us,” Boots said in a statement.
“As a result, we have seen more people than ever booking early to get their flu vaccinations. We have been closely monitoring our stock levels, and made the decision this weekend to pause taking new bookings for our private and NHS under 65s Flu Vaccination Services. This is to make sure we can vaccinate the patients who have already booked their appointments with us.
“We are still able to continue supporting the NHS over 65s flu vaccination service due to stock availability of the trivalent vaccination, which the NHS recommends for people aged 65 and over.”