GP surgery uses football stadium for ‘essential’ winter flu vaccines

Burlington Road Surgery has used Ipswich Town's FanZone for flu jabs. Picture: IPSWICH TOWN FC

Burlington Road Surgery has used Ipswich Town's FanZone for flu jabs. Picture: IPSWICH TOWN FC - Credit: Archant

A doctors’ surgery has used Ipswich Town’s Portman Road stadium to give patients free flu jabs for the winter.

The government has increased the number of those eligible for a free jab this winter ahead of an expected second spike of coronavirus, meaning Burlington Road Surgery has more jabs to administer.

The vaccine was already available to over-65s, but the government has announced that everyone aged over 50 will be offered the jab for seasonal flu – with the oldest patients being prioritised.

MORE: Suffolk GPs warn flu vaccine is ‘essential’ for over-50s this winter amid coronavirus outbreak

However, requirements for social distancing mean there is less space at surgeries like Burlington Road for jabs.

As a result, Ipswich Town has offered the use of its FanZone marquee, so that large numbers of jabs can be offered safely.

The first date the FanZone was used was on Saturday, October 3, with the surgery set to use Portman Road twice more in October and November.

Sharon Meers, practice manager at Burlington Road Surgery, said: “There’s an amazing team at Portman Road.

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“Our first session was wonderful and really smooth. Both staff and patients who attended on the day gave us some fantastic feedback.”

Rosie Richardson, director of sales at Ipswich Town FC, added: “We’re delighted to be offering our services at the stadium to the NHS again.

MORE: Where should my child go for a flu vaccine?

“We had a great first session with Burlington Road last week and look forward to continuing this.”

Patients are encouraged to pre-book flu jabs appointments at the practice.

Those who have booked sessions are asked to arrive in a timely manner and use the Constantine Road entrance, where they will be greeted by a member of the GP surgery’s staff.

Patients are also urged to wear facemasks, adhere to social distancing and wear short-sleeve tops to make the vaccinations easier.

People are being warned the flu jab is even more important than ever this year.

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter, who himself works in the NHS, said: “This year of all years is essential to have the flu vaccine.

“If we compound Covid with seasonal flu it makes it more difficult to identify what the primary cause of symptoms are, unless they have the flu vaccine.

“The flu vaccination saves lives every winter and builds a level of immunity within our communities so it’s not just people who are at risk from flu, but also healthy people who could spread it on otherwise.”

Martin Edwards, chief nurse at the Suffolk GP Federation, said: “Being vaccinated against seasonal influenza will help our NHS look after us all during this pandemic winter.

MORE: Drive-through flu jabs considered for Suffolk – but big shortfall in jabs predicted for the region

“The flu vaccination programme is always challenging – this year all settings are planning how we will deliver vaccines to a larger group of eligible people in a way that is Covid-19 safe.

“Please do one more thing to help us help you this winter – get your flu vaccination.”

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