Dr Charles Shepherd, Hon. Medical Adviser, ME Association writes-
Each year we fully update the ME Association information and guidance on flu vaccination in relation to ME/CFS.
We hope to publish the free 2020-2021 leaflet by early October - once flu vaccination programmes begin, and we have all the relevant information about the new vaccine.
In the meantime you might find the following information helpful should you be thinking about having the flu vaccine this year.
The current [2019-20] 'ME Association information for the 2019 - 2020 flu vaccine' is available as a free download. Most of the content will apply to the 2020-2021 vaccine - apart from the changes to eligibility criteria for a free NHS jab and related Covid-19 precautions:
Can someone with ME/CFS have a free flu jab if they want one?
If your GP is querying whether you are eligible to have a free flu vaccination on the NHS you need to point out that the answer is YES because:
- People with a chronic neurological disease are eligible for an NHS flu jab
(NHS Green Book – Chapter 19, page 14).
- NHS England definitely classifies M.E. as a neurological condition: Intermittent and Unpredictable conditions.
Chief Medical Officer
“As you know, the risk of serious illness from flu and consequent hospitalisation and death is higher among those with underlying health conditions such as M.E.
“We know that people with chronic neurological conditions are approximately 40 times more likely to die if they develop flu than individuals who have no other underlying health conditions.
“The best way for people at risk from flu to protect themselves and their families is to get the flu vaccine. People with clinical risk factors are eligible to receive the seasonal flu vaccine free each winter.”
Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health, (2014)
COVID-19 and flu vaccination
A very important additional issue this year is the impact of COVID-19 and the Dept of Health’s decision to encourage far more people to have this flu vaccine protection.
A dose of flu plus COVID is going to be a very nasty combination of infections to have. People with M.E. are going to have to take this additional factor into consideration when deciding whether they are going to have a flu vaccine this year.
On a personal basis, I normally choose not to have a flu vaccine. But I may well change my mind this year in view of COVID-19 - as this infection isn’t going to go away and there won’t be a COVID-19 vaccine available for widespread public use until any 2020-2021 flu epidemic is over.
Further recent articles -
Have you tried to get a flu vaccination in the UK? (Guardian article, 22 Sept).
The Guardian would like to find out from people who’re eligible for a free flu vaccination about their experiences of getting the vaccine. This article includes a form to complete.
Flu jabs limited due to high demand (from the BBC, 24 Sept 2020)
Boots stops taking flu jab bookings for under-65s as stocks run low (from the Guardian, 22 Sept 2020)
Worry over county’s flu vaccination statistics (from the Worcester News, Dec 2019)
More than a third of the people eligible for free flu vaccines in Worcestershire did not take them up last winter, figures show.
Worcestershire NHS workers set the bar for flu jab uptake (from Malvern Gazette, Feb 2020)
Frontline staff at Worcestershire Health and Care Trust have one of the country's best records for getting flu jabs to protect themselves and their patients, new figures reveal.
NHS Health Check, vaccinations and immunisations (Worcestershire County Council article)
• B.B.C. • Coronavirus (COVID 19) • Local News • Malvern
• M.E. Association • National Newspapers • N.H.S. • Worcestershire County Council