Following Boris Johnson’s announcement that everyone should have a flu vaccine, and the subsequent changes to the criteria for a free vaccine on the NHS for people living in England, we caught up with our Superintendent Pharmacist Faisal Tuddy with some questions we’ve had from colleagues on this, plus our private jabs for £1.
Why has the government changed the criteria this year?
There’s still a risk of a second wave of COVID-19 infections and there is some evidence that a double infection of Coronavirus and flu is more serious, particularly for people falling into the at risk groups. The government is expanding its vaccination programme to protect people, and to ease the burden on the NHS this winter if we do experience a second wave of infections.
Whether or not you fall into the NHS eligibility criteria, getting a flu vaccine is one of the most effective interventions you can make to reduce harm from flu and protect our NHS. That’s why we’re making a vaccine available for all colleagues for just £1.
Alongside the standard criteria the government in England have expanded the programme to include anyone over the age of 50, people shielding and those who live with them and children in their first year of secondary school.
Will it change for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland?
Any changes to NHS eligibility criteria for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have not been announced. If you’re currently eligible for a flu jab on the NHS in Wales you can still have it for free in an Asda Pharmacy. If you’re a colleague in Scotland then you’ll still need to have your NHS vaccination at your GP.
If you’re not eligible then you can buy it privately for just £1.
When you come to have your vaccination, your pharmacist will go through the latest criteria with you and if you’re eligible for a free vaccine on the NHS then you won’t need to pay.
For colleagues in Northern Ireland we’re currently looking at how we can offer flu jabs to you.
I’m eligible for an NHS jab but if I have it in an Asda Pharmacy rather than at my GP, will I have to pay £1?
No, if you’re eligible for a free NHS jab then you can still have it in an Asda Pharmacy and you won’t need to pay anything.
If you’re a colleague in Scotland then you’ll still need to have your NHS vaccination at your GP.
If I have my NHS jab in an Asda Pharmacy who’ll let my GP know?
Our Pharmacy team will contact your GP to let them know you’ve had your vaccination, you won’t need to do anything.
Is the flu jab you offer at an Asda Pharmacy the same as the one I can get at my GP?
Yes, absolutely, rest assured that we will be using exactly the same vaccines that the NHS use, for both private and NHS vaccinations.
I don’t know if I am eligible for an NHS jab, should I still tick the sheet?
Yes, put a tick on the sheet so we can make sure to hold back a vaccine for you. When we get to the point of administering the vaccine around the end of September and you make an appointment at a Pharmacy we’ll go through the NHS criteria and if you qualify, you won’t need to pay.
I’m on maternity leave/out of the business at the moment, can I still have the vaccine at an Asda Pharmacy?
Yes, if you’re out of the business for any reason you can still have your vaccine at an Asda Pharmacy. If you’re not eligible for a free NHS vaccine, you can still have one privately for £1.
Get in touch with your manager or a friend and ask them to pop a tick on the sheet for you.
What to do now
Right now we just need to get an idea of how many colleagues would like a vaccine so we can hold enough back.
If you’re in stores, depots or HSCs please put a tick in the relevant boxes on the form next to the ‘Flu vaccines for colleagues’ poster by Monday 10th August.
If you haven’t got a pharmacy in your store then don’t worry, you can have a jab in any of our stores with a pharmacy – you can check your nearest store here.
If you’re in Home Offices please complete this link.
Once we’ve got an idea of total numbers we’ll get back in touch to let you know what you need to do to book your flu