ELIGIBLE Darlington residents are urged to get their flu jabs ahead of the predicted “bad flu season” at one of several vaccination hubs in the town from the beginning of October.

GP practices will be contacting eligible patients directly from this week with details of how and where they can book their appointments.

This will include details of the town’s new flu vaccination hub at The Old Exchange on Barnard Street, which will be offering flu vaccinations and Covid boosters from the beginning of October.

Clinical Site Lead for Primary Healthcare Darlington, Dr Kirsty Walker said: “With the lifting of restrictions and people socialising more, we’re aware that this winter there will be a big flu outbreak so we urge people to protect themselves and others by getting their flu jab.”

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92-year-old Bruce Wetherill, from Darlington, celebrated his birthday while getting his flu jab and Covid booster, and said: “Flu and Covid can be very serious, you don’t want to be catching things like that especially as you get older. It was a very quick and easy process getting my jabs so I absolutely recommend it to everyone.”

The Northern Echo: Bruce Wetherill receiving his flu and Covid booster jab by Dr Shelagh Naismith, a GP from Denmark Street SurgeryBruce Wetherill receiving his flu and Covid booster jab by Dr Shelagh Naismith, a GP from Denmark Street Surgery

Those eligible include anyone over 50, residents in care homes or other care facilities, pregnant women, front-line health and social care workers, carers and personal assistants for someone with a Personal Health Budget and people of any age in a clinical risk group.

Pfizer Covid boosters are being offered at this site.

People who book an appointment for their flu vaccination at the new site will also be offered their Covid booster at the same time, but only if it has been a minimum of six months since their second dose.

For those who come for their flu jab and it has not yet been six months since their second Covid vaccination, they can book their Covid booster after receiving their flu jab there and then.

Dr Kirsty Walker said: “Take up has been very good, on average 756 people are being vaccinated per weekday and 612 every Saturday and Sunday.”

The centre is open 8am to 8pm through the week and 8am to 6pm at weekends to accommodate those with busy work schedules.

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Penny Spring, Director of Public Health at Darlington Borough Council, said: “It’s great to offer residents the opportunity to book their flu and booster vaccinations in the town centre.”

The Northern Echo: Susan Hansford receives her vaccination from paramedic, Louise Pugsley Susan Hansford receives her vaccination from paramedic, Louise Pugsley

Dr Amanda Riley, Clinical Director of the Darlington Primary Care Network and Chief Executive of Primary Healthcare Darlington, said: “This year, it is more important than ever that we protect ourselves and each other by getting a flu jab, as we’re predicting a particularly bad flu season.

“For those eligible to get their Covid booster at the same time as their flu jab, please be assured it is perfectly safe to have both at the same time.”

Anyone eligible and registered with a GP in Darlington can book their appointments at The Old Exchange via the link in the text message sent by their GP practice.

Patients without internet access can book by phoning 01325 238235 Monday to Friday.

Booster appointments will be available to book in Darlington at participating community pharmacies and vaccination centres, such as Cockerton Pharmacy via the national online booking service and by phoning 119.


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