LloydsPharmacy has opened its re-booking service for its flu vaccination service ahead of a predicted surge in demand and cases this winter.

Last year, over half a million flu vaccines administered nationwide across LloydsPharmacy stores alone - a year-on-year increase of 11% - in a record-breaking year for the flu vaccine rollout overall.

With this winter being the first since the outbreak of Covid-19 likely to have no restrictions, as well as increased social activity and international travel, LloydsPharmacy said it was predicting a further 20% increase on last year in bookings for flu vaccinations.

Victoria Steele, LloydsPharmacy’s superintendent pharmacist, said: ‘It’s extremely likely that we’ll see much greater levels of transmission of the influenza virus this winter and therefore many more cases to treat, as a result of increased social activity and international travel.

‘We are seeing this take place in Australia, where 27,000 cases of flu have been reported since June – which is nearly 10 times higher than they have been in the past five years.’

Customers can now book for both NHS and private flu vaccines online with the pharmacy.

Those who pre-registered online will be contacted to book an available slot at their community pharmacy, with appointments available now.

Customers at higher risk from flu will be eligible for a free NHS vaccine. This includes people over 50 years’ old, those with underlying health conditions, frontline health or social care workers, and those who are pregnant.

However, PSNC has warned of ‘confusion and frustration’ among patients aged 50 to 64, adding ‘further pressure to the already challenging workload' of pharmacy teams, after the Government only announced their eligibility on 15 July.

It also highlighted the practical implications of the Government reversing its previous decision not to include the 50 to 64-year-olds cohort within the annual flu vaccination programme.