Responding to the announcement that all over-50s are set to be offered a COVID-19 booster and flu jab this autumn, Ruth Rankine director of primary care at the NHS Confederation, said:
“With COVID cases again rising, we know we are heading into another difficult winter where the NHS continues to run very hot, so it is welcome news that all over-50s are set to be offered a COVID-19 booster and flu jab this autumn to help shore up protection in the weeks and months ahead.
“Primary care has played a crucial part in the highly successful roll out of the vaccination programme to date and will continue to deliver to protect patients and the public.
“With nearly 28.3 million general practice appointments taking place in May, primary care teams are going above and beyond for their local communities and will step up once again to deliver this programme.
“However, we shouldn’t underestimate the additional work involved, and we must acknowledge the time and investment it will take to deliver alongside the flu vaccination programme. This is as well as meeting an increasing demand for services whilst balancing high rates of staff sickness and absences with chronic workforce shortages.
“Now is the time for an honest and realistic conversation about what the public can expect from the NHS as we head into winter. It is also really important that people do come forward to receive their booster and flu jabs as soon as they are eligible."