Fish Insurance
Speak to one of our experts 0333 331 3770

Free flu vaccinations for carers & PAs this winter

It’s winter already, which means flu season is upon us. The wind, rain, and decrease in temperature has urged us all to wrap up warm and stay indoors. But, sometimes, well-meaning measures are not enough to protect us from getting the flu. As most know, it’s crucial for vulnerable people especially to attend an annual vaccination to prevent them from catching a serious, and potentially life-threatening bought of the winter flu. To help those in need of the vaccination, the NHS is offering influenza jabs free of charge to frontline health and social care workers, along with their personal assistants. Read on to learn more about whether you can benefit from the new service, which is called the NHSE&I Complementary Scheme.

What is the NHSE&I Complementary Scheme?

The NHSE&I (NHS England & Improvement) Complementary Scheme has been set up to combat winter flu 2020/21, by way of offering free flu vaccinations to NHS workers who are open and vulnerable to the common but potentially fatal disease. This is the scheme’s first year in action, after being set up and advocated by The Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England.

Why do carers need to have the flu vaccination?

Because health and social care workers are in direct contact with those they care for on a daily basis, regularly assisting them physically, it is vital they have a vaccination to protect themselves from the flu. The fact that health and social care workers are within close proximity of vulnerable individuals whose bodies may not bode well with the flu, is also a factor. The 2020/21 flu season is particularly critical for vulnerable people due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, which is suspected to have an impact on this winter’s casualties. This is largely due to the highly infectious behaviours of the flu, which was the cause of almost 4,000 deaths in the winter flu season. While it isn’t possible to contract the flu and Covid-19 at the same time, it is predicted that both viruses together could potentially overwhelm NHS hospitals with the amount of patients they inhibit.

CPA - Flu

Am I eligible for the NHSE&I Complementary Scheme?

Health and social care workers within the private sector should be encouraged to have the flu vaccination via an occupational health programme set up by their employers. On this, the CPA (The Care Provider Alliance) says:

“All social care workers who are in direct contact with patients and service users should get the flu vaccine. This should be provided by their employer, in order to meet their responsibility to protect staff and patients and ensure the overall safe running of services. Employers should commission a service which makes access easy to the vaccine for all frontline staff, encourage staff to get vaccinated, and monitor the delivery of their programmes”. To be sure if your place of work has a free flu vaccination available to you, simply ask your employer for more information.

For those who do not have access to an independently joined health programme, they will most likely be eligible to have it done by the NHS via the NHSE&I scheme instead. The NHSE&I Complementary Scheme is being offered to individuals of the following criteria:

  • Frontline health workers, both in residential, hospices, and care homes (nursing included or not)
  • Frontline social care workers, both in residential, hospices, and care homes (nursing included or not)
  • Personal assistants (PAs)

Other vulnerable groups are entitled to the free flu vaccination also, including:

  • Pregnant women
  • Toddlers and young children aged 2-11
  • Pensioners aged 65+
  • Those shielding from Covid-19
  • Individuals with serious medical conditions like heart failure

Those who are cared for by health and social care workers PLUS fall into any of the above categories are, of course, extremely vulnerable and are encouraged to attend their flu vaccination as a priority.

Insurance for Self-Employed Carers

How can I access the NHSE&I Complementary Scheme?

If you would like to get your flu vaccination done via the NHSE&I Complementary Scheme, you can do so by making an appointment at your usual GP surgery. Alternatively, you can visit your local pharmacy to get booked in. Though some GPs have noted that there is no need to bring ID along with you, it is a good idea to check before you attend your vaccination just in case.

For help, speak
to one of our team
call 0333 331 3770

A photo of a customer service employee.