12:09PM, Thursday 21 October 2021
Councillors have described their ‘disappointment’ over a shortage of winter flu jabs in Windsor.
The NHS offers free flu vaccines to over 50s, frontline health workers, pregnant women and people living with certain health conditions every year to protect against serious illness.
Health bosses said it is more important for eligible residents to get vaccinated this year because fewer people have built up natural immunity to flu during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the Express has received numerous reports of people struggling to access flu jab appointments at their GPs or pharmacies in Windsor.
Councillor Helen Price (TbF, Clewer & Dedworth East) told a meeting of the Royal Borough’s outbreak engagement board on Monday that Windsor is suffering from a shortage of winter flu jabs.
She said: “The situation I’ve found in Windsor is nobody has any vaccines and yet people are being quite rightly told to get vaccinated. They try but then they’re told they can’t because their aren’t any vaccines.
“It isn’t just GPs, it’s the chemists as well.”
Councillor David Coppinger (Con, Bray) added: “I’m quite disappointed about the situation you’ve described in Windsor where GPS have not yet got the flu vaccine.
“It’s now four weeks since I had mine in Maidenhead. Why in one borough are two sides so different?”
Caroline Farrar, a representative from the Frimley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), told the meeting there is a ‘mixed picture’ across the borough as some GPs and pharmacies have not yet received their batches of winter flu vaccinations.
She said: “It’s not just everybody has got it in Maidenhead but nobody has it in Windsor, it’s more complex than that.
“It’s a national delivery model but it’s more complex than being one town vs another town.”
Councillor Stuart Carroll, cabinet member for health, whose professional background is in epidemiology, told the meeting that the influenza vaccine is particularly difficult to manufacture and this often leads to delays in supply.
He added: “The reason why you can see differences from one area to another is it is dependent on when a GP or pharmacy places it orders to draw down stock from the national procurement or distribution of those doses.”
The UK has voted to leave the European Union in yesterday's referendum - and while the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead fell into the remain camp, Slough voted to support a Brexit.