Access to flu jab: I care for someone... - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation

21,434 members14,526 posts

Access to flu jab


I care for someone with chronic heart failure and is listed as vulnerable. He is 51 and currently GP is unable to provide the flu jab and states that they are doing this for over 65 only. Apparently even if vulnerable they are still unable to provide flu jab at this stage. Is anyone else under 65 having this issue? Wonder if it’s particular to our local health authority (Westminster). Would love to hear if anyone else if having issues? Thank you.

80 Replies

Here's the NHS guidance on the subject, if he's over 50 and had heart failure he should be given the flu jab - as you should as his carer. Have you tried your pharmacist?

Thanks for the reply. I have tried my regular pharmacy and boots- both advised over 65 only and to ring back next week.

I've heard that Boots has paused giving vaccines to under 65s due to high demand and their stocks running low. Can only assume that rather strangely your GP is having issues getting supplies. Where I live both GPs and pharmacists are offering vaccines

My husband is nearly 70, had open heart surgery end of June this year. He was shielded throughout earlier lockdown. Still has AF and High Blood Pressure.

We both have jabs with local Boots tomorrow. I don’t have any health problems but the pre booking survey asked if I lived with anyone who had been shielding. I’m 64 so I presume (and am happy to do so) I will pay for mine.

Our booking for Boots was done online. Good luck.

ollie16 in reply to LucyjaneC

Rang my local GP Surgery after receiving a text to ring them to book an appointment for a Flu Jab ,first question the receptionist asked me if I was 65 or over,I explained that I wasn’t but come under HF supervision.I was given a date for the 12th November, then I asked If I could book another time as I am working that day.The response was”we have 10,000 people registered at our Surgery ,we have no other slots for you”.Take or leave it

Pharmacist is a good idea (though it should be GP but GP practices seem to be a law to themselves - mine I hasten to add is doing them, but I am the "right" age ) and our local Lloyds routinely does them - also Tescos!

I am currently 62 and last year I was given the opportunity to have flu jab which I got after my HA,stent and bypass

I live in Scotland not sure if same all over the UK

MilkfairyHeart Star

Hi LucyjaneC

I am booked in to have my Flu vaccine in 2 weeks. I am aged under 65.

There are now 2 different types of vaccines offered one for those over 65 years old and another for younger vulnerable patients.

The GP practice are responsible for the ordering of vaccines earlier in the year. It maybe that the GP practice ordered each type of vaccine at different times.

You can get a free flu vaccine at some pharmacies

LucyjaneC in reply to Milkfairy

So this makes sense now. It is 2 different vaccines - did wonder. Thank you

I mentioned yesterday husband and I were getting ours done at Boots today (booked something time back).

2 different vaccines; covering 3 strains for over 65 husband and 4 strains for myself. The young lady was extremely good and when I offered to pay for mine (as under 65) I was told I didn’t need to as I was living with spouse who had been shielding (and received letter from NHS) and this qualified for a free vaccine!

Glad we got an early booking in, my husband was a little reluctant as he normally has his done at the GP Surgery but they were late doing them last year so I didn’t want to risk that this year.

I hope you’ve got something sorted. 🤞🏻

Hi Milkfairy, does having CMA enable you to get the flu jab? I was only diagnosed this year so do I have to ask my GP or will they contact me for it?

MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to Just-Wanna-Run

Yes your GP should offer you a flu vaccine if you live with Microvascular or vasospastic angina.

The BHF listed both as high risk conditions if you catch Covid

I would contact your GP practice to make sure you are on their list of patients needing the flu vaccine.

Thanks Milkfairy, I contacted my GP yesterday and I was flagged to have the flu jab. I should receive a letter for the flu jab and a pneumococcal vaccine in the next few weeks as over 65s are currently being prioritised.

Hi I live in Scotland and received a text message from my GP saying our local authority ( South Lanarkshire) is taking over this years flu jabs and we will get a letter with a time and place for injection.

Shoshov in reply to 080311

me too. they’ve to be done in a large hall or drive through with your arm out the window. don’t know if scotland is different. i too am in south lanarkshire ❤️shiona

Sunnie2day in reply to Shoshov

I'm in Tayside and we're being offered the drive-thru option if we can't book in at Boots. Not sure how I managed to get a Boots flu jab booking as I'm only 64 but perhaps it is down to my getting the jab there last year owing to my heart conditions. Too, I live in a small town and the Boots where I'll be having the jab is the Boots that fills my repeat meds, that may be why.

Shoshov in reply to Sunnie2day

haven’t heard anything like that down here. i use the local boots too for meds. as long as i get it i don’t mind where it’s done. iv been getting it for about 15 years❤️

Sunnie2day in reply to Shoshov

I am completely terrified of needles - but I'll cheerfully offer up my arm for the flu jab and like you, as long as it's the certified vax I don't care where I get it as long as I get it:)

I was thinking about skipping it as I usually come down with 'something' after a jab but the 'something' usually isn't as bad as having H1N1 in 2009 and spending two weeks in hospital so this year I am rolling up my sleeve yet again.

Shoshov in reply to Sunnie2day

🤣🤣i’m luck i never seem to get any ill effects. just a sore lump on arm for about a week. as you say better than the alternative. have a good day in the sunshine❤️

My GP has not got the flu vaccine for under 65s yet - a couple of clinic for the over 65s.

I work in a Gp surgery. We only have the jabs for the over 65's and are still awaiting stock of the children's and 18-64's jabs.

You can try your local pharmacy, they may have stock of the 18-64

Hi they have changed it to over 55 this year without having an illness, I am 61 and I had severe heart failure, I have had the flu jag since I was diagnosed at 58, I stay in Scotland not sure if we might be different, you can get one at the chemist if any problem with the gp, char

LucyjaneC in reply to Thanksnhs

By the looks of the replies it looks like Scotland’s flu vaccination planning is more together than England.

Thanksnhs in reply to LucyjaneC

My appointment is Friday morning, I am terrified of getting flu, I have had twice when I was much younger, I can honestly say it was the worst thing ever

MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to LucyjaneC

I live in London and my GP is well organised.

I have been having a flu vaccine for the last 8 years without any issues.

DAVEEJG in reply to LucyjaneC

It also helps that Scotland has a much smaller population and receives £1,600 more money per head to use.

Sunnie2day in reply to DAVEEJG

As a Scot in Scotland I think it is more down to the prevailing opinion up here prevention is the biggest and best part of saving strain on NHS Scotland.

Thanksnhs in reply to Sunnie2day

Totally agree char

My 12 yo daughter and I are both high risk, and currently can’t get vaccinated for love nor money. GP have been saying since August 20th that they’ll contact those eligible directly, but they currently have no stock. None of the pharmacies locally can get stock of the under 65 beyond those doses already booked/spoken for, and Boots have suspended all booking for the under 65 jab nationwide due to lack of stock. The one year we really want to make sure those who need it most can get vaccinated in a timely fashion, and it’s looking likely it’ll be pot luck as to getting vaccinated at all. We were late enough in our neck of the woods last year.

LucyjaneC in reply to Charlie_G

I think next week is when they will be releasing the under 65 vaccine so chase your pharmacy and GP.

This cropped up on another thread, I'm 62 and the surgery contacted me to arrange a flu jab. I understood that all heart patients were automatically offered a flue jab no matter what their age.

MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to Chappychap

The issue maybe that those over 65 years of age are now given a different flu vaccine.

The Goverment announced that everyone over 50 could be vaccinated against flu free this year. This is probably the reason why there is a shortage of flu vaccine for the under 65's.

GP surgeries order their flu vaccines months in advance and could not have anticipated this change in policy.

Chappychap in reply to Milkfairy

Thanks for that, I hadn't appreciated that there were two different vaccinations.

MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to Chappychap

They only introduced a vaccine specific to those over 65 years last year.

I had a similar issue (I am 23 and had my vaccine at the Pharmacy) at the Pharmacy but the advice was a bit different:

The Pharmacy had been advised to prioritise certain at risk categories for their first batches of the Flu Jab. As far as I know this included: Anyone with a cardiac or respiratory complaint and anyone over 65.

People in other eligible categories (This included careers for people on the shielded list and those over 50) were being asked to wait until mid-October.

As others have pointed out, the vaccine for under 65 is different from that for over 65s so availibility of the correct vaccine may also be an issue.

I had this last year at my surgery. Plenty of supply for the over 65 but the type for younger was not available until later in the winter, the letter said I’d be invited after the end of November. I managed to source mine at a pharmacy before it was available to GP but it was a case of keeping asking around until some was available.

This year my surgery has supplies.

This year the NHS is providing flu vaccination to everyone over 50.

JennyRx in reply to sturon

But not straight away. Unfortunately they’re at the back of the queue whilst getting those previously shielded done first plus over 65s.

I haven’t had the flu jab but somebody once advised me that the pharmacy’s in supermarkets also offer flu jabs and if someone is vulnerable they usually send letters out advising them to have it

Tescos extra have been offering jabs but you may have to book on line

hi disappointing to hear that, I believed people with heart issues were listed as vulnerable and entitled. if your concerned could you not pay the prescription charge and have it done at the local supermarket pharmacist? I know you shouldn't have to but you have to be safe.

Yasyass in reply to Boothcd

I think most gps send letters to their patients advising them to have the jab or their local pharmacies get in touch I am 53 and have heart condition more than twice they have advised me to have the jab but if not available at the gp the pharmacies will do it

I am eligible for a flu jab but rather than go to my GP I have found it more convenient for the past few years to go to my local Boots. I just fill out a basic form and say why I am eligible (I just say heart disease ) and they do it and inform my GP.


We live in Devon, and my wife is under 60, and we are having flu jabs 3rd Oct, like other posts it must be down to supply at your GP

Booked flu jab at local chemists having difficulty booking blood test at gp have renal failure stage 3.5

Yasyass in reply to Wellington19

Try phoning your gp and let them know

Wellington19 in reply to Yasyass

Booked flu jab at local chemists they were on Facebook

I’m 60 and have AF. I had my flu jab ten days ago a my local pharmacy free of charge. They were helping GP administrate to people who need it. Feeling really grateful now.

Have you tried your local pharmacy they are doing free / fee due jabs dependant on your need

No, my GP practice is doing the flu jabs this month and next month for people 18 to 64 with ongoing chronic conditions and over 65's.

We are in Essex.

Hi Lucy

Sorry to hear your friend is having issues.

I had bypass Surgery 2 years ago and get a letter each year inviting me to get the jab.

I am under a Scottish Health board but this should not make any difference.

Hope your friend gets the matter resolved.

I am 65 and vulnerable. I have been called for the flu jab as I have been every year for the past ten years but my appointment isn't until November.

I guess this is due to the current situation and more people requiring them.

I could have had it done through work (Boots) but because I get them free my company weren't willing to pay the £10.

I am 62 and my local GP has offered the flu vaccine to me for the last 2 years. Just had mine last week. I would have thought chronic heart failure would be an obvious reason for being entitled to the vaccine. Good luck with your progress.

Have you tried other pharmacies? Well have appointments from 1st October, £12.50 for private service.

Beekite in reply to MEW123

If you would be eligible from GP, they waive the charge so is free :)

I too am having that issue. I am 52 with asthma and rang yesterday to book my flu jab. I was told it was 65 year olds and above only. When I mentioned that I am able to get it due to my asthma, I was told my asthma was not bad enough to qualify!!! I’m Guildford in Surrey.

joanie54 in reply to Squealer

Hi Squealer

The vaccine for the over 65 is different thats why you probably wont qualify.You should qualify for the younger age group .In my area the over 65 one is always given out first followed by the under 65years a few weeks later.Try ringing back and ask to book for the under 65 vaccine and ask when it will be available hope you get sorted .

I think GP surgeries get paid to do flu jabs so the practice managers must be pissed an easy coffers boost isn't currently available to them due to supply issues as they would normally try to maximise the number of jabs they can get through.

See official Government vaccine poster for different groups

Sunnie2day in reply to Perev

That explains a lot, thank-you! I see from the table on the poster the under 65s (9-64) can take the same vax as the 65ers, that tells me the one I got last year and the one I'm likely to get this year are probably the 65+ers vax despite my being under 65 (64 as of late August 2020), and why I got the email inviting me to book with the local Boots with no mention of age, only that I have multiple heart conditions.

Thank-you for posting the link!

Perev in reply to Sunnie2day

You're welcome.

JennyRx in reply to Sunnie2day

It’s not the same vaccine for under 65s and over 65s. The over 65 is adjuvanted to help the immune system produce antibodies to the vaccine. This is because mature immune systems have been found to have a poor response to flu vaccines and need a bit of extra help.

Sunnie2day in reply to JennyRx

If you'll refer to the link Perev posted, you'll see the table shows the vax for the 65ers can be given to the under 65ers - sounds the same vax to me in that case but I'm happy to be 'corrected' if I'm reading the table incorrectly.

I think they are practicing for the chaos that will ensue when a Corona vaccine becomes available.

I’m 52 and have mine at GP on 10th , try Tesco’s pharmacies I’ve easily got mine there before when GP run out of slots for my age group

Yes same here I'm 62, my husband is 65 and has had his appt. Wasnt told I was vunerable even. Think its across all the country.

I also am booked in to have mine next week, I am 60 with Asthma and Angina so qualify. It has never only been for over 65s, it has always been for over 65s and people who have underlining health conditions ie Heart disease etc....

I usually get a text to go have my jab done around this time of year. I think the over 65s get theirs first though, but I haven't go the reminder yet - could it be because I recently changed GPs?

You can order them from your pharmacie. You may have to pay for it, but I have purchased one for myself years ago and it wasnt expensive at all.

Try Lloyds Pharmacy. My husband at 60 has one booked in with them locally on Friday. It sounds like an area issue perhaps. How sad.

Hello. According to the latest news everyone over the age of 50 will get a free flu jab this year. If he is deemed vulnerable shouldn’t he be getting this anyway? ❤️

LucyjaneC in reply to woodwalker

Yes but am concerned regarding delay. The GP has now advised that they will be giving vaccines for under 65s according to surname ( his starts with S and I have been advised there will be a delay despite him being vulnerable). Am going to follow advice here and wait for pharmacies to offer,

I’ve been administering flu jabs for many years and there is always a supply issue especially at the beginning. Then we end up with too much stock at the end of the season.

The positive to be taken away from this is that there will possibly be less flu as people isolating and also following distancing and hygiene rules.

Sunnie2day in reply to JennyRx

And that is definitely a positive!

JennyRx in reply to Sunnie2day

Every time I did a flu jab I’d say to my patient - what’s the one other single thing you can do to prevent the spread of flu. They’d look puzzled and I would say ‘wash your hands properly’. Oh yeah, they’d say as they touched the handle of the door of the consulting room. I’d list things like shared iPads, door handles, supermarket trolleys. And they’d look at me like I was mad. Not so much now...

Sunnie2day in reply to JennyRx

I caught H1N1 in the US in the year before I retired and returned to the UK. I was in hospital for two weeks and there were a few times there I thought my time was up. Why? A staffer ignored my memo anyone with symptoms should stay home and would face no penalties - he came into a meeting, proceeded to cough on all of us and put three of us in hospital.

Until that point a number of my staff laughed at my insistence on hygiene even without epidemic/pandemic despite knowing several of the team, myself included, had 'pre-existing conditions' that made us vulnerable to bacteria and virus.

After the three of us were in ICU they all became more conscientious. It shouldn't have taken seeing their boss and two colleagues nearly die to get them to pay attention.

I was contacted by my GP to book in for my jab when I rang the earliest appt was 1st Nov! I’m considering Boots to get it earlier and wondering if my hubby could pay to have one.

I’m 37 and having mine next week.

Can’t wait . . . . Not

Hi Hun I am 50 year old also suffering heart failure and kidney failure stage 4 when my carer went into doctors to try and arrange a fly jab we were told yes at the minute it is just over 65s that can have the jab but they have taken my name and contact details so that as soon as it’s available we both can have the jab . I’ve no idea when it will be available I live in Grimsby Hun x

LucyjaneC in reply to Helbri

Good luck. We were lucky. The person I care for got their flu jab via his GP. I even got one for myself but through the local pharmacy. It’s worth checking with local independent pharmacies.

You may also like...