With winter approaching, NHS Nene CCG, NHS Corby CCG and Northamptonshire County Council are urging people to get their flu vaccines booked in, helping residents to stay fit and healthy over the winter period and to protect some of the most vulnerable.
Flu is a highly infectious viral illness which can lead to complications, hospital admissions and even death. Symptoms of flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches and tiredness.
Vulnerable populations are more at risk of developing complications such as chest infections, infections of the tonsils, ears and sinuses, meningitis, and encephalitis (infection of the brain), which can be fatal.
Much of the ill health caused by flu can be avoided by receiving a flu jab (influenza vaccine). The vaccine is safe and effective, and can reduce the chances of getting flu and complications by 70%. It reduces the risk of death from flu in vulnerable people by 80%.
Cllr Cecile Irving-Swift, Portfolio Holder for Public Health at Northamptonshire County Council said:
“Flu impacts on both those who become ill, and on the NHS services that provide direct care. It is really important that people have a flu vaccination to protect both themselves and others.”
Lucy Wightman, Director of Public Health stated:
“Last year GP practices across Northamptonshire issued 134,900 free vaccinations to people in at risk target groups but a further 40% (89,250) who were eligible in different groups, did not receive a vaccination.”
Who is eligible for a free flu jab?
- All children aged two to nine on 31 August 2018.
- Those aged six months to 64 years in clinical risk groups.
- Pregnant women – women in any trimester of pregnancy or who become pregnant during flu programme period.
- Those aged 65 years and over.
- Those in long-stay residential care homes.
- Carers (informal carers who are in receipt of a carer allowance or a main carer of a vulnerable person).
- Frontline staff in direct patient contact working for primary care, community and acute NHS trusts or social care staff.
People belonging to any of these groups should speak to their GP to book a vaccination, or visit a local pharmacy as they may also provide free flu vaccinations.
Frontline staff can also contact their occupational health team. Find out more about the flu vaccine
Anyone in doubt about whether they qualify for a free vaccination should contact their GP.