The number of annual flu vaccination appointments booked by patients at Boots has increased two-thirds year-on-year, the multiple has said.
In a statement, issued on 14 September 2021, Boots said that the number of appointments booked between 1 July 2021 and 6 September 2021 increased by 67% compared with the number of bookings during the same period in 2020.
The multiple said that it plans to run “its biggest ever flu vaccination season on record, aiming to administer three times the number of vaccinations between September 2021 and March 2022 compared to the 2020/2021 season”.
This comes after the 2020/2021 flu season saw community pharmacies administer over 1 million more vaccinations than the flu season before, during what was described by ministers as the “biggest flu vaccination programme in history”.
Boots said it also plans to administer COVID-19 booster jabs, following the government’s announcement that the first cohorts to receive their additional dose would be called forward from the week commencing 20 September 2021.
To support the delivery of flu and COVID-19 booster jabs, Boots said it has increased the number of stores that feature special vaccination hubs — initially set up to administer first and second COVID-19 vaccinations — to almost 100.
“These stores will offer either flu or COVID vaccinations, or both. Stores that will offer COVID-19 boosters will be confirmed soon following discussions with the NHS,” the statement said.
Boots currently offers flu vaccinations “at over 2,000 other stores in consultation rooms”.
In September 2020, Boots was forced to suspended flu vaccination bookings for anyone aged under 65 years, despite ordering 20% more vaccinations than normal, owing to high demand.
Marc Donovan, chief pharmacist at Boots, said: “With low prevalence over the past months possibly leading to a drop in flu immunity among the population, vaccinating against flu is even more important than in previous years.
“Although we are seeing high demand at Boots, two-thirds of appointments for our Winter Flu Jab Service are still available.”
A spokesperson for Well Pharmacy said that although it did not have comparable data to Boots, it was seeing “very high demand” with “nearly half” of anticipated appointments already pre-booked for the current flu season.