Summary of report content
Healthwatch Bexley carried out research into the views of individuals aged under 65 with underlying health conditions, living in the London Borough of Bexley, regarding their thoughts and knowledge of the flu vaccine. Healthwatch Bexley worked with the South East London Clinical Commissioning Group (SEL CCG) Head of Communications and Engagement for Bexley to compile a structured survey which was used to engage with residents. A survey was designed to investigate the potential barriers for the uptake of the flu vaccine in the borough and they also conducted two focus groups. The consultation period ran from 30th November 2020 to 8th January 2021, 66 people responded to the survey and 24 individuals attended the focus groups.
Healthwatch Bexley found that the majority of respondents to the online survey and participants in the focus groups had already had their flu vaccine. Of those who had not been vaccinated, a few were intending to have it and either could not make the time they had been offered or were experiencing difficulty in getting an appointment. The responses of those yet to be vaccinated revealed a lack of awareness around the seriousness of flu for individuals with underlying health conditions, or why they should be vaccinated. There were a few difficulties reported among some individuals who were unable to get appointments at a suitable time or at all. However, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, a high proportion of people were still happy to attend GP clinics to get their vaccination.
Healthwatch Bexley recommends that all stakeholders should continue to promote the National flu vaccination programme annually in the run up to the flu season to increase awareness and act as a reminder to all groups eligible to get vaccinated. They recommended that more research could be done before the next flu season, by the local authority, SEL CCG or Healthwatch to specifically identify which groups within the under 65 age group may be less likely to be vaccinated and the reasons why. All stakeholders, including Primary Care should actively promote the fact that the vaccine is available as a vegan product (animal free product) as well as using targeted messages to address common barriers in the run up to the next flu season.