Don’t put off the flu vaccination – it’s free because you need it!
The current Stay Well This Winter (SWTW) campaign encourages vulnerable people including people with long-term health conditions and anyone aged over 65 to get the free flu jab.
Flu is a highly infectious disease and can lead to serious complications if you have a long-term health condition, for example: chronic respiratory disease, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis, or emphysema; diabetes; heart, kidney or liver disease; chronic neurological diseases, like multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy; or have suffered a stroke. Flu on top of health conditions like these can easily develop into something very serious and you could end up in hospital. People with these and other long-term health conditions are eligible for a free flu jab through their GP or pharmacist.
The free vaccine is also offered to other groups at particular risk of infection and complications, anyone aged 65 and over; residents of long-stay care homes; carers and pregnant women. Children aged 2, 3 and 4 and in school years 1, 2 and 3 are also being offered a free flu vaccination.
Those eligible should contact their GP or pharmacist as appropriate, to arrange vaccination.
And if you are the main carer of an older or disabled person you may be eligible for the free flu vaccine, speak to your GP.
Last year 12.4 million people were vaccinated overall in England and It is estimated that several million people get flu each winter, leading to more than 2,000 NHS intensive care admissions across the UK last year.
The NHS and social care workforce is also being targeted to help protect them, and reduce the risk of frontline workers spreading infection to patients, particularly those in vulnerable groups.
Dr Zoe Williams said:
“Vaccination is the best protection we have against flu, which can cause severe illness and even death among those most at-risk. This group includes people with a long-term health condition, older people and pregnant women.
“I would encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated to help protect themselves and those around them. It is important to get vaccinated every year. Flu is unpredictable and previous years’ vaccinations may not protect you against the types of flu virus circulating this year.”
“I have type 2 diabetes so every year I receive a letter from my GP reminding me about the flu vaccine. I always take up the offer because I live a very busy lifestyle and would hate to be slowed down by sickness, prevention is definitely better than cure.”
“I’d encourage other like me with either with a long term health condition or over 65 to make sure they get the flu vaccine.”