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On your bike if you want to go private for a flu jab.

Byline: Madeleine Brindley

PEOPLE seeking a private flu jab this winter will have to travel to England for the pounds 15 vaccine.

As veteran entertainer Stan Stennett spearheads the governmental flu vaccine campaign in Wales, Western Mail has learned that private providers will only be offering the jab beyond Offa's Dyke.

But all those people classed as at-risk to the potentially lethal virus, including the over-65s, are being encouraged to take up the offer of a free flu jab through their GP surgery.

Dr Roland Salmon, an epidemiologist at the National Public Health Service for Wales, said, 'There is no reason to suppose that there will be a pandemic of flu this year.

'But the best time to be vaccinated is between late September and early November. People shouldn't wait until flu is going around.'

But those people, who are not considered 'at risk' but had hoped to pay for a flu vaccine, will not be able to do so in Wales.

Despite last year providing flu jabs at all its Welsh stores, supermarket giant Asda will not be doing the same this year. Community pharmacy chain Lloyds pharmacy also said it would not be offering the jab in Wales as did private health service provider Bupa.

However a Bupa spokesman said the company could send a nurse to administer the vaccine to Welsh businesses with 15 or more employees who wanted the jab.

Boots will be offering the pounds 15 jab only to people in larger English stores after it failed to 'accommodate the requirements of the regulatory authority in Wales'. The vaccine will be available to Welsh people in the company's stores in Chester, Liverpool, Cribbs Causeway in Bristol, Cheltenham and Birmingham.

Dr Ian Millington, secretary of Morgannwg Local Medical Committee, said,

'The biggest thing that holds people back is the fact that some people become ill or they pick up a cold at the time they have the jab and think that the flu vaccine made them ill.

'But if you think that a flu jab can make you ill, imagine what the real illness can do.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 9, 2003
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