Aug 292018

The Practice is starting our 2018/19 Seasonal Flu Vaccination Programme from Monday 1st October, 2018.

Appointments are available to book NOW so please call us on 0131 228 6081, or come into the Practice as soon as possible, to secure your appointment.

Winter 2017/18 was the worst flu season we have had since 2010/11. We certainly saw a higher than average number of patients with flu and other respiratory infections at the Practice. More patients were admitted to hospital last year with influenza than average. Whilst the elderly age group were worst hit, tragically 16 children died last year in the UK from flu, 6 of the children had not had the flu vaccine, and it is unknown about the rest. ( Flu Annual report Winter 2017-18)

Flu remains a very unpleasant and potentially fatal infection which puts a huge strain on limited NHS resources. The most important preventative measure to reduce influenza is the seasonal flu vaccine. We would highly recommend that all patients who are eligible to get the flu vaccine. Make an appointment early in the season to protect yourself against flu during winter 2018/19.

To start us off we have our special flu clinics in October and November. This is to accommodate the ever-increasing number of eligible patients, and like the last couple of years, we’re calling it our:

Big Bruntsfield Flu Blitz!

These clinics will be held on:

Saturday 6th October, 9am to 1pm

Date in November to follow – check back for updated information soon

These clinics will be very busy. Appointments must be booked in advance and are strictly for flu and pneumococcal vaccines only. Eligible children will also be able to attend these clinics.

Please note, during the Saturday flu clinic times the practice will be closed to everyone but those with booked appointments, and any emergencies will be managed through NHS24 on telephone number 111.

Our usual flu clinics will also run throughout October and November, led by our Practice Nurses, in normal surgery hours. These appointments are also restricted to 5 minutes and for flu and pneumococcal vaccination only. If you need to address any other health matters please make a separate appointment.


The following groups of patients are eligible to receive the flu vaccination from the Practice:

  • Everyone who will be aged 65 or over by 31st March, 2019
  • All children aged 2 to 5 years old on 1st September 2018 (children in this age range already attending school will be vaccinated at school)
  • Anyone aged 6 months and over with the following conditions:
    • Asthma (you must require regular use of a steroid inhaler or tablets for control, or have had an emergency admission to hospital because of your asthma in the last year)
    • Other chronic respiratory disease (such as COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis or cystic fibrosis)
    • Chronic heart disease
    • Severe kidney or liver disease
    • Chronic neurological disease (e.g. Stroke/TIA, MS)
    • Diabetes
    • Lowered immunity due to disease or treatment
    • Asplenia or dysfunction of the spleen (including sickle-cell anaemia & coeliac disease)
  • Adults with a body mass index >40 kg/m2
  • Women in any stage of pregnancy
  • Or if you are an unpaid carer, or a young carer, for someone who could not manage without your help if you became ill

If you are unsure about your eligibility, please discuss it with a GP or nurse. Speaking time is between 10.40-11.00 am every weekday.


This year the government are phasing in a new vaccine for the over 75 year olds. This is called the adjuvanted trivalent influenza vaccine. It is thought to offer better protection against the flu virus strains most commonly affecting the older population. It will be offered to all over 65 year olds next year when there is certainty over quantities of vaccine, to ensure adequate stock for this ever growing cohort of the population.


The flu vaccine is cultured in egg protein. For eligible patients who have a severe egg allergy, the Practice will have a small supply of a suitable alternative vaccine. We plan to contact these patients ahead of time to gauge demand and organise a specific clinic. If you are eligible for the flu vaccination, and have an egg allergy, please make sure you inform the Practice.


All 2 to 5 year olds, as well as those aged 6 to 17 years old in one of the risk groups above, will be getting the flu vaccination in the form of a nasal spray rather than an injection. The spray is done once into each nostril, and is quick and painless.

If your child is aged 9 years or under, in an at risk group, and has never been vaccinated for flu before, they will need the vaccine repeated 4 weeks later to ensure adequate protection. Your Practice Nurse should make you aware during the initial vaccination appointment if this is the case for your child.

Be aware that this form of the vaccine is not recommended for those with severe immunodeficiency (or for someone who lives in the same household as someone with a severe immunodeficiency), or for anyone with an egg allergy. If you’re unsure if you or your child fit into these categories, please speak to your usual GP before booking your appointment.

For the small proportion of patients for whom the nasal spray isn’t appropriate, they will be offered the injectable flu vaccination.


We will be including appointments for children in our Big Flu Blitz clinics in October and November as well as holding smaller children’s flu clinics with the Practice Nurses later in November. Primary school children will receive the vaccine at school with parental consent. Eligible children can also attend the special flu clinics details above.

If you and your child are both eligible to receive the flu vaccination, and you intend to book into one of the big clinics to be vaccinated at the same time, can you please make sure to mention that to the receptionist at the time of booking to ensure you are booked in with the same clinician in consecutive appointments.


Patients aged 65 and over, or in a risk group, who have not yet had a pneumococcal vaccination, will also be offered this vaccine during their flu clinic appointment. If you know you are due to get the pneumococcal vaccination let the receptionist know when booking your appointment so they can make a note of it. This allows the Doctor or Nurse to be as organised as possible during the clinic. This is also available at the special flu clinics.

For most adults the pneumococcal vaccination is a one-off dose that should last a lifetime, so does not need to be administered annually. For a few patients though, it is recommended that they receive the pneumococcal vaccination every 5 years. These include patients over the age of 16 with:

  • Chronic kidney disease (incl. CKD 4-5)
  • Asplenia or dysfunction of the spleen (incl. sickle-cell anaemia & coeliac disease)
  • Immunosuppression

If you think fall into one of these categories, speak to your Nurse or usual GP.


The shingles vaccination programme is continuing for patients aged 70 on 1st September 2018 (date of birth between 02/09/1947 – 01/09/1948).

There is a catch-up programme which includes all other patients in their 70s, so if you were born between 02/09/1938 and 01/09/1947 and haven’t yet received the shingles vaccine, you can get it at the Practice.

Unfortunately, if you turn 70 some time in the next year, but AFTER 1st September 2018 you will NOT be eligible to receive the shingles vaccine until next year’s programme.

If you’re eligible to receive the shingles vaccination this year it can also be done at the same time as your flu jab. Please note however a longer appointment will be required, so let the receptionist know. Although the Shingles vaccines will NOT be available at the special flu clinics.


The Lothian Health board will be sending out invitations to patients aged 65 years and over towards the end of September to remind them about making an appointment for their flu vaccination.

Letters from Public Health will be going out to families of the children aged 2 to 5 years old not yet at school informing them of their eligibility and encouraging them to make an appointment.

For all other at risk groups – neither the Health Board nor the Practice routinely send written invites to patients to attend for the flu vaccination. If you’re in one of the groups mentioned above, don’t wait to be invited – contact the practice today to make your appointment!


Unfortunately we are only able to vaccinate members of the above groups. We are therefore not able to vaccinate individuals who fail to meet these criteria – even if the NHS has vaccinated them in the past.

We appreciate that many individuals who are not eligible for NHS vaccination wish to protect themselves against influenza. While we are unable to provide this service ourselves there are a number of private health providers who have secured supplies of the influenza vaccine. Local examples include:

The Edinburgh Clinic 40 Colinton Road 0131 447 2340
Lloyds Pharmacy 129 Bruntsfield Place 0131 228 3725
Boots Pharmacy 46-48 Shandwick Place 0131 225 6757
28-30 Newington Road 0131 667 3008
101-103 Princess Street 0131 225 8331
Craigleith Retail Park 0131 332 6114
Ocean Terminal 0131 554 6834
Fort Retail Park 0131 669 4428
Gyle Centre 0131 317 1288
Paton & Finlay 177 Bruntsfield Place 0131 229 2110


Further information and Leaflets on the Flu or Pneumococcal vaccinations can be found at the NHSInform website by clicking the links below:

If you have any queries in the meantime please contact your usual GP between 10.40 and 11.00 am on one of the days they normally consult.