VULNERABLE residents in Catshill had their flu jabs brought to them when a GP and nurse laced up their running shoes to get around as many patients as possible.
Keen runners Dr Edward Barrett and practice nurse manager Jo McArthur from Catshill Village Surgery decided to combine their hobbies with their professional expertise and devised a plan to run from house-to-house, delivering the vaccine to the village’s housebound.
They planned a route and packed a medical bag in a backpack and embarked on their run last Thursday afternoon.
It proved to be quite an undertaking – the backpack comprised a special cool bag to transport the vaccines safely, the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), hand gel and an anaphylaxis kit (emergency medicines).
When the route was first planned it was almost 13 miles, the equivalent of half-marathon and, although a few shortcuts via public footpaths helped, their round still took more than three hours.
Dr Barrett said “It was a privilege to be welcomed into people’s homes to be able to administer their vaccines and it was lovely to see some folk that we have not seen since the middle of March of this year.
“Some of those visited are permanently housebound but others have become so because they have become incapacitated of late.”
The oldest flu jab recipient was 102.
Dr Barrett added: “We are very lucky at Catshill Village Surgery because friends and families have gone to extraordinary lengths to bring people to the surgery to get their flu vaccinations but this group of people really are the ones who just could not get to us and are some of the most vulnerable patients that we have.”
Jo said “Seasonal flu causes much suffering and even death in its own right every winter and this is apart from our current struggles with the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is vitally important we keep flu numbers down this winter to prevent deaths and reduce hospital admissions – the best way to do this is for as many people as possible to have a flu vaccine.”
Presently everyone over the age of 65 years, or with long term conditions like diabetes or asthma, are advised to have a flu vaccine and the practice is encouraging anyone who has not yet come forward yet to contact the surgery and make an appointment.
There are plans to vaccinate those aged 50 to 64 years later this year but further details from NHS England is being awaited.