As the risk of flu increases, NHS England is reminding those people who are eligible for a free NHS flu jab that it’s not too late to vaccinate.
Levels of flu-like illness increase at this time of year, meaning that those at risk of getting serious complications from flu may be more vulnerable if they haven’t yet had the flu jab.
Each winter the free flu jab is offered to people in ‘at risk’ groups. These include everyone aged 65 and over, children and adults under 65 with certain medical conditions and all pregnant women.
This year, for the first time, a free nasal spray vaccine is being offered to parents of healthy two and three-year-olds, so that their children can be protected against the virus.
But, whilst the majority of older people in the region have now received their flu vaccine, there are still some under 65s with long-term conditions, such as heart or breathing problems, and pregnant women, who have yet to have theirs.
The vaccine takes around 10 days to start working, so the sooner people have it; the quicker they’ll be protected.
Cath Fenton, public health consultant for the NHS, said: “Flu is much more serious than getting a cold, and the effects of seasonal flu are often underestimated.
“Some people are more at risk from flu and need the vaccine because they are not able to fight off the virus as easily as others. For these people, flu can often result in more serious complications which require hospital treatment. It can even be fatal in some cases.
“Flu can be prevented by having the vaccine, which is provided free at GP surgeries across Hertfordshire and south Midlands for those people most at risk.”
If you think you or your child may be eligible for the free flu jab, call your GP surgery now to check and to book an appointment.
For more information, speak to your GP or local pharmacist, or visit www.nhs.uk/flu.