People in Northamptonshire who are most vulnerable to flu are being urged to protect themselves and their family this winter by having the flu vaccination.
Flu is a highly contagious viral infection that anyone can catch, and it can be very serious for some. It is most common over the winter period.
Getting the flu jab or nasal spray is one of the most effective ways to reduce potential harm from the seasonal flu virus and protect your immune system.
The vaccination is offered for free to those at increased risk from the effects of flu. This includes:
- children aged two to eleven
- people aged 65 and over
- pregnant women
- people with long-term health conditions
- shielding households
- front-line health and social care workers and care workers
Following the first phase of vaccination people aged 50 – 64 who are registered with Northamptonshire GP practices will also be offered a free vaccine.
Dr Annapurna Sen from Public Health Northamptonshire said: “Preparing for potential winter illnesses is important for everyone, but especially those at higher risk of getting flu. COVID-19 has demonstrated how contagious and potentially life-threatening viruses are. The vaccine is updated every year to combat the latest strains of the flu virus so if you are in an at-risk group and had the jab last year, you will need another one this year.
“People with respiratory diseases such as COPD, emphysema or asthma and people with cardiovascular problems such as chronic heart disease or angina, are much more likely to die if they catch flu compared to those that don’t.
“Having the flu vaccine will protect your immune system and give you one less thing to worry about this winter. If you’re eligible why don’t you discuss the vaccine with your GP practice today.”
Vaccinating children not only helps to prevent them from getting the virus, it also prevents the spread of flu within the local population. Last year’s flu vaccination programme reduced the risk of flu in children who received the vaccine by 65.3 per cent. For healthy children aged two to eleven, the flu vaccine will given in the form of a nasal spray, administered by a health professional.
To get your vaccine or find out if you are eligible, contact your GP, pharmacist or midwife for more information.
People who are not in the at-risk groups, and therefore not eligible for the free NHS flu vaccination, are still strongly recommended to make their own arrangements to have the flu jab as the virus can be serious for anyone who catches it. Vaccinations are available for a small charge at many local pharmacies.
Visit www.nhs.uk/staywell for more information on how to help you and your family to stay well this winter.