There has been a huge surge in people opting to get the flu jab with 500 people vaccinated in just four hours earlier this week.

The new mass vaccination centre only opened at Worcester Racecourse on September 23 and already thousands of patients have been vaccinated, with queues occasionally building outside.

In the last 16 days alone, over 11,000 patients have received the flu jab at the centre, well over a quarter of the 40,000 people in Worcester who are eligible.

David McDowell, patient quality manager at Worcester City Primary Care Network, says he has been 'blown away' by the response.

He said: “We’ve had an overwhelmingly positive response to the flu clinic at Worcester Racecourse, with well over 11,000 patients getting vaccinated in 16 days, including 500 yesterday (Tuesday, October 19) morning alone—which is a real boost to the immunity of those patients who need it most.”

The new centre is a walk-in clinic with GPs able to send out invites to patients in advance.

This has meant waiting times can be unpredictable but staff say it rarely exceeds more than ten minutes.

Mr McDowell added: “With this site operating purely as a walk-in centre, it’s expected that there may be some queues on occasion, particularly right after we open—but our queuing time has been less than ten minutes even at our busiest.

“Patients can help us by waiting to attend this centre until they’ve received an invitation text from their GP, as these are being rolled out gradually to help us manage our visitor flow—but anyone who’s eligible for a flu vaccine on the NHS is welcome through our doors, and we look forward to seeing more patients very soon.”

Staff also confirmed that around 9am in the morning tends to be the busiest time with some patients queuing up before opening time.

A staff member added: “Traditionally people are not quite as keen to get their flu jabs but because of everything that’s gone on that has changed and people are super aware now which is really encouraging.”

If you are eligible for a free flu jab on the NHS, your GP will invite you to attend the pop-up centre at the Racecourse. Once you have received the invitation you do not need to book and can turn up during opening hours. 

The flu vaccine is given free on the NHS to people who are 50 and over (including those who'll be 50 by 31 March 2022), have certain health conditions, are pregnant, are in long-stay residential care, receive a carer's allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick.

You are also eligible if you live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis) or you are a frontline health or social care worker.