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Free flu jabs for 600 patients at Sheerness medical centre

Hundreds of Sheppey patients have snapped up their free flu vaccine.

Up to 25 at a time queued in the car park outside St George's Medical Centre in St George's Avenue, Sheerness, to get their jabs.

Patients wait for their free flu jabs in the car park at St George's Medical Centre, Sheerness
Patients wait for their free flu jabs in the car park at St George's Medical Centre, Sheerness

Staff spent the morning from 9am to noon marshalling the patients as doctors and nurses set up a production line for the injections.

One patient said: "We were anxious that it would be chaos because no one was given a time.

"But the queue moved very quickly and the wait was no more than a few minutes. It was very well organised. Doctors were in separate consulting rooms waiting for patients.

"We all received a text message on our mobile phones or letters to say there would be a walk-in clinic and to text back if we didn't want to take advantage of the free flu jab.

"When we arrived there were cars all over the place trying to find a place to park. And there were already about 25 patients, mainly couples, queuing around the perimeter of the car park."

The entrance to St George's Medical Centre in St George's Avenue, Sheerness
The entrance to St George's Medical Centre in St George's Avenue, Sheerness

A one-way system then let patients out into St George's Avenue.

Practice manager Dawn Benjamin said staff injected more than 600 patients aged over 65 in two-and-a-half hours.

She said: "We changed our process for the flu clinics this year as we wanted to get all eligible patients vaccinated as soon as possible. We spent time making sure the clinic would be safe and adhere to social distancing.

"Part of the car park was measured out to keep patients at least one metre apart and patients had their temperature taken at the door."

The first clinic was on September 12 with five medics. Nine other staff volunteered on their day off to help marshal patients.

Nurse preparing to administer the winter flu jab. Stock photo
Nurse preparing to administer the winter flu jab. Stock photo

There will be a second session at Warden Village Hall tomorrow (Saturday)from 9am to noon followed by another at the Sheerness surgery on Saturday, September 26, and a final one at Eastchurch Village Hall on October 10.

Dawn added: “We would encourage patients who have received an invitation from the practice to come for their flu vaccination on one of these dates.

“Flu is a highly infectious disease and it is really important for patients who are eligible for the free vaccine to make sure they have the jab. The vaccine is the best way of protecting yourself, and your family, from contracting the flu virus."

Health bosses have been encouraging patients, particularly those aged 65 and over, to take advantage of the free flu jabs because they fear a large number of cases this winter. The NHS is bracing itself for a busy time as a second wave of the coronavirus is also predicted.

Experts say the best time to get the jab is early autumn.

Read more: All the latest Sheppey news here

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