Sunderland MP urges more people to take advantage of free winter flu jabs as more than half fail to get vaccinated

An MP has urged vulnerable people to take advantage of free flu jabs on offer at pharmacies.

Monday, 14th October 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Monday, 14th October 2019, 7:40 pm
Houghton and Sunderland South MP Bridget Phillipson receives her flu jab from Kepier community pharmacist William Burlace.

Bridget Phillipson, the Labour MP for Houghton and Sunderland South, visited Kepier Pharmacy, in Leyburn Grove, Houghton, to learn more about the service’s importance.

She is also concerned that more than half the people eligible for a free jab across the city failed to take advantage of it last winter.

Among the entitled groups are all adults aged 65 years and over and certain adults aged 18 years and over such as pregnant women and those with asthma and diabetes.

Many of the pharmacies also offer the jabs, which are the same as those available from GPs, on a walk-in basis.

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Ms Phillipson, who paid for her jab, said: “Despite those with health conditions being more at risk of dying as a result of flu, fewer than half of those with a health condition in Sunderland were vaccinated last winter.

“But not everyone is aware they can receive their flu jab at a local pharmacy and often without the need for an appointment.

“That’s why it’s great that pharmacies like Kepier Pharmacy are providing and advertising this service, ensuring that as many eligible people as possible are vaccinated against the harmful flu virus this winter.”

William Burlace, community pharmacist at Kepier Pharmacy, said the service helped the NHS meet vaccination targets and added: “There is so much that community pharmacists and their teams can do to help people with their medicines and their health.

“Community pharmacies are the most accessible healthcare locations. We offer convenient access to medicines and a range of services without the need for an appointment.”

Last winter more than 1.4m people received the free jabs from pharmacies nationwide.

Mark Stephenson, the chief officer of Sunderland Local Pharmaceutical Committee, said: “Many people may choose pharmacies because they are unable to attend GP clinics due to factors such as their work hours and because they can visit pharmacies in a variety of locations and without the need to book an appointment.”

The service is offered at the majority of pharmacies across the city with customers urged to check directly with their local pharmacy.