With autumn in full swing and the risk of flu as prevalent as ever, we’re urging people with eligible health conditions to take up their free flu vaccination.
We know from previous years that flu kills. Evidence shows that people who get flu and COVID at the same time are more likely to need to be hospitalised or to die, so with COVID-19 infections increasing once again, now is the time to act.
If you didn’t know, flu is a highly infectious disease and can lead to serious complications in people of all ages, particularly if you have some underlying health conditions (such as COPD, bronchitis, emphysema), diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease or a chronic neurological disease (like multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy), immunosuppression, are morbidly obese, have a severe learning disability or have problems with your spleen.
For those people with these health conditions contracting flu increases your chance of serious health complications, the need for treatment in hospital and of dying from the infection.
Dr Julie Yates, Lead Consultant for NHS England and Improvement and Public Health England added:
“We know that people with some health conditions are at greater risk of complications if they catch flu and the consequences can be much more serious for them.
“If you have diabetes, a long term respiratory, heart, kidney, liver or neurological condition, are immunosuppressed, morbidly obese, have problems with your spleen, or a learning disability you are more likely to experience serious complications from flu and have an increased risk.
“It’s more important than ever this year that you contact your GP or local pharmacy and make time for an appointment to have your free vaccination to protect yourself this winter.”
So, if you’re one of the 7.1 million people under the age of 65 years old with one of these health conditions, it’s now more important than ever that you have your flu vaccination. If you are not sure if you are eligible contact your GP or pharmacist. It takes just a few minutes to have the vaccination and it’s the best protection for you and those around you, which is why it is offered for free for those most at risk.
This year, the programme has been expanded and the free flu vaccine will be offered to a record number of 30 million people to help protect as many as possible from flu and also to ease pressure on the NHS and urgent care services.
Everyone eligible should receive additional direct reminders prompting them to book their appointment, supporting the hard work of local GP practices and pharmacies in driving uptake among eligible patients.
Groups that are eligible for the free flu vaccination are listed below:
– Patients aged from 6 months to less than 65 years with eligible health conditions
– Pregnant women
– Children age 2&3 by booking with the GP
– Anyone over age 65 years
School age children from reception to year 7 will receive their vaccination at school
- Household contacts of those on the NHS Shielded Patient List. Specifically, individuals who expect to share living accommodation with a shielded person on most days over the winter and therefore for whom continuing close contact is unavoidable
- Health and social care workers, including those employed through Direct Payment (personal budgets) and/or Personal Health Budgets, such as Personal Assistants, to deliver domiciliary care to patients and service users, are also eligible but may receive this through employer or local GPs or pharmacies