Seasonal flu programme 2022/23 update for primary care staff
AOP responds to NHS England and NHS Improvement that complimentary offer of flu vaccinations will end
NHS England and NHS Improvement have today (2 March) announced that NHS-funded flu vaccinations for primary care will not be extended to the 2022/23 flu programme.
The move comes as part of the Living with COVID-19 strategy, in which NHS England and NHS Improvement confirmed the need to return to sustainable public health measures. The announcement advises employers to make seasonal flu vaccinations part of the organisations policy to prevent infection.
Adam Sampson, Chief Executive of the Association of Optometrists said: “We’re disappointed to see that primary care, including optometry, will no longer be part of the cohort of healthcare workers eligible for complimentary flu vaccination. Throughout the pandemic, optometry has shown its ability to provide vital eye healthcare. Given the proximity in which our members work with patients – of which many are older and more likely to develop complications from seasonal flu – we would have hoped that the value of reducing infection would have been recognised.”
NHS England and NHS Improvement confirmed that health and social care staff employed by specific social care providers without access to employer led occupational health schemes would continue to be eligible.