Carers in Central Bedfordshire are being urged to get a free flu vaccination this winter to protect themselves and those in their care.
Flu is an ever changing virus, which can lead to serious health problems and even cause death, so the vaccination is updated annually to protect against the types of flu circulating this year. Even if carers were protected this time last year a new injection is needed.
It is particularly important for carers to get the vaccination because, if they become ill with the flu, they may be unable to provide their usual care or inadvertently transmit the virus to vulnerable individuals.
Carers are eligible for a free flu vaccination if they are receiving carer’s allowance or if they are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person.
Bedfordshire GP Dr Fran Ross said: “By ensuring they are vaccinated, carers can be confident that those in their care will be protected for the serious effects of the flu virus. The vaccine has been thoroughly tested, is safe and effective so side effects are rare and minor compared to the risks associated with flu.
“You can make an appointment with your GP to discuss the flu vaccination, letting them know you are a carer. Your GP will assess whether your care responsibilities mean you need this vaccination and, if so, provide it free of charge.
Cllr Carole Hegley, Central Bedfordshire Council Executive Member for Social Care, Health and Housing, said: “Carers provide such a vital service so it’s important they take every precaution to ensure they are vaccinated against flu. For more information on protecting yourself against flu discuss it with your GP or visit www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/flu-jab.”