Supermarket Asda has launched a free NHS drive-through flu jab service for eligible people at 13 UK stores.
Anyone entitled to free jabs – such as the elderly, frontline NHS staff, and pregnant women – can use the service.
People regarded as non-vulnerable can get jabs for £8, which Asda claims is the cheapest on the market.
The drive-through jabs will be offered in Asda car parks, and come after reports people are put off visiting GPs and pharmacies due to Covid-19 worries.
Asda says the initiative, which began on Thursday, is the first of its kind in the UK. But other retailers, including the Boots and Lloyds Pharmacy chemist chains, also offer jabs.
The supermarket’s move comes amid news that flu jabs have been limited by pharmacists and health clinics due to high demand.
However, NHS England says enough stocks are available. This year, up to 30 million people can be vaccinated in England, the government says.
Maq Din, lead pharmacist at Asda Pharmacy, said: “The sad truth is that there is an increased mortality risk if you catch Covid-19 when you already have the flu.
“We are putting a number of measures in place at our drive-through flu jab centres , so patients can be assured that it is safe to visit – and they won’t even need to leave their car to get a jab.
Customers must pre-book, and will be given a time slot and a bay to park when turning up.
Asda said its own research had shown that 28% of UK adults said they were currently putting off getting a flu jab over concerns about visiting GPs and pharmacies for fear of coming into contact with someone suffering from Covid-19.
The booking procedure is:
- Find the nearest stores with a pharmacy using the store locator
- Telephone the store for an appointment – it cannot be booked online
- During the consultation over the phone, people will be given a time slot and detail
The service is available at these Asda stores: Accrington; Bodmin; Eastbourne; Gosport; Hartlepool; Hyde; Nuneaton; Old Kent Road (London); Oldbury; Pilsworth; Sheffield; South Shields; Wakefield Durkar.