Asda Pharmacy will launch the UK’s first ever drive-through flu jab service to help vulnerable people get the important vaccination without exposing themselves to COVID-19.
The service will launch today and will be available in thirteen Asda store car parks across the UK. The service will be offered completely free-of-charge to anyone who is eligible for a free NHS flu jab such as elderly people, pregnant women, those with underlying health conditions, and also frontline health care workers – including those who work in places such as care homes or nursing homes, as well as home carers.
The drive-through flu jab has launched due to the fact that those who most urgently need to get flu jabs are also likely to be most vulnerable to COVID-19. The service therefore offers a way of getting vaccinated against flu without coming into contact with other people (other than the pharmacist administering the jab) or visiting medical premises.
There is a clear need for the service, as newly-released research from Asda Pharmacy has shown that over a quarter of UK adults (28%) say they are currently putting off getting a flu jab over concerns about visiting GPs and pharmacies as they fear coming into contact with someone who is suffering from COVID-19.
In total, three quarters (75%) said they would be concerned about visiting their GP or pharmacy currently. It is hoped that the ‘drive-flu’ service will address these concerns and help avoid an increase in flu cases this year due to reluctance to get a jab. Individuals can still have access to a flu jab without leaving their car or visiting a medical premises.
Flu jabs could be more vital than ever this year to avoid people who get flu like symptoms incorrectly fearing they have COVID-19. Indeed, more than a third of respondents (35%) in the Asda Pharmacy study said that they would worry people assumed they had COVID if they were seen to be coughing. The research also found that 40% of UK adults believe that it could be harder to get treatment for flu this winter as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
Maq Din, Lead Pharmacist at Asda Pharmacy said: “The sad truth is that there is an increased mortality risk if you catch COVID-19 when you already have the flu. As a result some of our most vulnerable members of society are at twice the risk compared to others*, which is why we are encouraging everyone to get a flu jab this year; it is more vital now than ever!
“We are putting a number of measures in place at our drive-through flu jab centres , so patients can be assured that it is safe to visit – and they won’t even need to leave their car to get a jab. Contact time will be kept to a minimum in order to allow pharmacists to be as efficient as possible.”
Asda Pharmacy has made the process for obtaining a flu jab as straightforward as possible – patients just need to visit https://storelocator.asda.com/, find their nearest centre by entering their postcode and book an appointment, either by phone, or directly with the store. Once booked and an appointment time has been given, they then simply need to pull up their vehicle into a vaccination station bay. Patients will remain in the vehicle whilst the vaccination is administered by a pharmacist through the vehicle’s window. Drivers will be injected into their right arm, whilst passengers will receive the jab in their left.
The pharmacist will also advise patients of potential side effects and they will be asked to wait for 5-10 minutes in a designated parking bay to ensure they feel comfortable to drive away. Drivers will be asked to sound their car horns if they require any further attention. Pharmacists will wear full PPE and patients will be asked to wear a face mask to ensure full safety throughout the procedure. Non-vulnerable members of the public are still able to have their flu-jab administered in the pharmacy as normal for just £8 – the lowest price on the market.