Residents in the Burnham-On-Sea area have this week been told by local health leaders that it is more important than ever to get a flu jab this winter.
As winter begins to approach, flu vaccination clinics are taking place across GP surgeries and local pharmacies in the area.
Professor Trudi Grant, Somerset’s Director of Public Health, says: “The flu vaccination programme helps prevent those most at risk from becoming seriously ill from flu and helps protect the NHS at a time when they are already stretched. I urge everyone who is eligible for the free flu jab to take this opportunity to protect themselves and other vulnerable people.”
Shaun Green, Flu Lead and Director of Clinical Effectiveness and Medicines Management at Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, adds: “It’s been a very challenging year so far and we want to do everything we can to help people stay well this winter. With COVID-19 still prevalent, getting the flu vaccine is more important than ever to avoid becoming seriously ill.”
“My advice to people who are eligible for the free NHS flu vaccination is to get this done as soon as you can so you are protected for the entire winter period. If you are offered a flu vaccination this year, please accept it.”
They add that by protecting yourself and others, you will not only be helping to reduce the spread but also to reduce pressure on local services.
Getting the flu jab is particularly important for people living with long-term health conditions, pregnant women, and those over the age of 50.
People who are ‘at risk’ of flu are already at higher risk from contracting coronavirus. Research shows that if someone has flu and COVID-19 at the same time, they are more likely to become seriously ill. The flu vaccination is one of the most effective interventions to reduce harm from flu and pressures on health and social care services during the winter.
This year, the flu vaccine is being offered free on the NHS to people who:
- are 50 and over (including those who’ll be 50 by 31 March 2022)
- have certain health conditions
- are pregnant
- are in a long-stay residential care
- receive a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick
- live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)
- frontline health or social care workers.
The children being offered the vaccine this year, are:
- all children aged 2 or 3 years old on 31 August 2021
- all primary school-aged children
- all year 7 to year 11 secondary school-aged children
- children with a health condition that puts them at greater risk from flu
Children aged 2 and 3 years will be given the vaccination at their general practice usually by the practice nurse. School-aged children and young people will be offered the flu vaccine in school. For most children, the vaccine will be given as a spray in each nostril. This is a very quick and painless procedure.
For more information on children and flu vaccination, visit NHS.UK. If you aren’t eligible for a free flu jab you are able to pay for one at your local pharmacist. Find a pharmacy that offers the NHS flu vaccine – NHS (www.nhs.uk). For more information visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/flu/.
The COVID-19 booster vaccination programme will run alongside this year’s flu vaccinations, for more information visit Covid-19 vaccinations in Somerset – Somerset CCG.