The eligibility tracker from Patient Access – used by eight million people in the UK – is the first of its kind to enable patients to check their eligibility for a free jab and book an appointment in minutes. If they are not eligible, patients are directed to local pharmacy services for private flu vaccinations, in a bid to increase uptake following a drop in ‘at risk’ patients getting vaccinated last winter.
Those eligible for free vaccinations include all children aged from two years to the end of primary school, people over 65, those with certain long-term conditions, pregnant women and many carers. The eligibility tracker is also available online at patientaccess.com/flu for those who are not registered with a GP practice using an EMIS Health clinical system.
During the 2018-19 flu season, fewer than half (48%) of people in one or more ‘clinical’ risk group had the flu vaccination – down 3.5%, and well below the government target of 75%. It is hoped more people will opt in if they have clear online guidance on eligibility for a free one, or information about local services if they are ineligible for a free vaccine.
Dr Sarah Jarvis, a GP in London and Clinical Director of Patient.info said: “My colleagues across the UK are well aware of how important it is for us to bring all high-risk patients into the surgery for their flu jab – and also how difficult it can be for busy admin staff to cope with people, whether on the phone or at reception, who are confused about eligibility and need guidance.