Last year I was told by my GP that I needed to have Flu jab as had been diagnosed with RA, this year when I checked with surgery to see when I needed to have it they told me I am not on their list for Flu jab, I could however have one done privately. Has anyone else encountered this, I thought RA was a long term condition that automatically entitled you to free flu jab.

13 Replies

  • Hiya Rosielea. Anyone with a weakened immune system should have one. RD or RA isn't specifically listed but it can be given at the GPs discretion. I'm called for one every year & I would have thought if your GP said you should have one last year & you're still attending the same Practice you should be entitled to have it again this year. I take it you've explained to the Receptionist? If so & she insists you're not entitled because you're not on the list I suggest you make an appointment with the Practice Nurse & I'm pretty sure she'll give it to you without charge. Ask her to ensure you're added to the list for next year while you're there too.

    Good luck.

  • Hi nomoreheels

    Many thanks for the reply. I did explain to the receptionist and she checked with Practice Manager who also said I was not on list. I am considering changing gp as they are continually trying to change medications etc that the Rheumy doctors are prescribing, so do not have any faith in them at the moment.

  • The Practice Manager is aware you have RD & not questioned it? I'd definitely book an appointment with the Practice Nurse & just hope she's a bit more about her. It does sound as though a change in doctors is necessary, not least because they're trying to change your Rheumys prescribing. It sounds suspiciously as though they're juggling their prescribing budget. Which meds are you prescribed & what are they trying to change them for?

  • Sounds like my new GPs surgery! At my previous GP they gave it without question, but when I called my new practice the receptionist said I wasn't on the list. So I asked for this to be checked, and it came back as the practice manager also saying I wasn't on the list. So I asked for an appointment, but when I turned up it was an appointment with the practice manager! Who of course said the same thing, but very rudely and rather as tho' I was wasting her very valuable time.

    Well that just drove me wild, so I insisted on seeing someone with medical qualifications not just an admin person. So after waiting an hour I got to see a doctor, who took one look at my notes and went off to get a syringe with the flu jab, and gave it to me straight away even tho' normally you have to book with the nurse. And apologised hugely for the behaviour of the practice manager, who was rude as well as obstructive. With much effort I didn't raise any fingers at the receptionist & manager on my way out - bit I did rather want to.

    So my view would be not to both with the practice manager, and go straight to a Doctor.

  • Oh yes, and as Heels said, this disease doesn't mean you are automatically entitled to a free jab, as if you're otherwise in good health then it might not be necessary. Even the drugs we take are in low doses so we just have a slightly compromised immune system rather than being immune suppressed. However, for many of us it is useful. In my case I have such a history of lung problems that flu could be quite dangerous. So do remember to highlight any other reasons for it being useful for you.

  • Thanks for the reply, I have decided to change doctors, will go and get paperwork sorted this afternoon.

  • I changed my GP several years ago. It was straightforward and I really dont regret it.

  • Sounds as though that's the best plan. I hope you find a good one & they see the sense of you having the flu vaccination annually.

  • Hi Rosielea

    Unfortunately the others are right. The fact that you have a long-term condition doesn't make a difference to whether you have flu vaccine, but the fact that you are on medication which effects your immune system could. Because RA drugs don't have the sort of high impact on the immune system that e.g. cancer treatment does, many GPs interpret this as you not needing the vaccine, while others feel that you should, so it varies between surgeries.

    If you choose to get it done privately I understand that many pharmacies offer this and the cost doesn't tend to be too high.

    Kind regards


    (NRAS Helpline)

  • Thank you Victoria

  • I have been offere d free jab

  • Hi Rosielea, i had mine y'day. You should be entitled to it as RD is an imune desease so that means we are vunrable to picking up bugs & things . Talk to them again you shouldn't have to pay. Get intouch with your rheumatoid team & ask them. Good luck Alison xx

  • I have had the flu jab done at my Gp'S for free for the past few years, but I always have to ask. It seems very strange since you were told to have it the first time. Sounds like penny pinching.

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