Boots flu jab: why are new bookings closed for over 65s - and who can still book a vaccine at the pharmacy?

Those under the age of 65 are still able to book flu jab appointments

New flu jab bookings for the over-65s are currently suspended at Boots.

But why is this the case and who is still able to book flu vaccinations?

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Why are new flu jab bookings closed for over 65s?

New flu jab bookings for those aged 65 and over are no longer available due to “unprecedented demand”, according to Boots.

The flu jab booking page on the Boots website said: “Due to unprecedented demand, new bookings for flu vaccination appointments for customers aged 65 and over are no longer available. We apologise for any inconvenience.”

Bookings have also closed for customers aged 64 who will turn 65 by 31 March 2022.

However, appointments for customers under 65 remain open for online bookings and appointments booked in store.

A spokesperson at Boots said: "The NHS recommends that patients aged 65 and above receive a specific type of flu vaccine. Due to extremely high demand, we are nearing the end of our stock of this particular vaccine and are therefore closing bookings for this age group. Our remaining stock of this vaccine will be used to fulfil existing appointments.

“We still have plenty of appointments available across our pharmacy network for patients under 65 and we offer these both for free on behalf of the NHS and privately.”

Has this happened before?

Last year, Boots suspended flu vaccination bookings for anyone aged under 65 years.

A spokesperson for Boots confirmed to The Pharmaceutical Journal on 22 September 2020 that it had paused new bookings for people aged under 65 years, for both NHS and private services.

However, when this happened last year, bookings for the over-65 age group could still be made.

At the time, a spokesperson for Boots said: “We have seen more people than ever booking early to get their flu vaccinations.

”We have been closely monitoring our stock levels, and made the decision this weekend to pause taking new bookings for our private and NHS under-65s flu vaccination services. This is to make sure we can vaccinate the patients who have already booked their appointments with us.

“We are still able to continue supporting the NHS over-65s flu vaccination service due to stock availability of the trivalent vaccination, which the NHS recommends for people aged 65 and over.”