Published Monday 10 December 2018 at 14:08
Health bosses from NHS East Lancashire and NHS Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are reminding those who are eligible for their free winter flu vaccines and boosters to visit their doctor or local pharmacy if they haven’t already done so. It is not too late to protect yourself from flu.
The flu virus can cause a sudden high temperature, headache, general aches and pains, tiredness, sore throat, coughing, loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhoea, exhaustion and a general feeling of unwell.
The flu vaccine reduces the risk of catching flu, as well as spreading it to others.
Dr Pervez Muzaffar, a clinical lead at the CCGs, said:
For most people flu isn’t pleasant but one that they fully recover from quite easily. However, there is a much greater risk that flu will lead to serious complications in others depending upon circumstance.
We encourage pregnant women, whatever their stage of pregnancy, the over 65s and anyone with any chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes and chronic heart disease to get the vaccine as soon as possible. For individuals in these at risk groups who still haven’t had their vaccine it is vital to take this seriously and act now.
The flu vaccination is safe and cannot give people the flu as it does not contain live viruses but it can take up to three weeks to work so don’t delay.
We have seen an increase in the flu vaccine uptake last year and hope this trend continues to protect the community from flu. Thanks for the support and response we get from our community.
You are eligible to receive a free flu vaccination if you:
- are 65 years of age or over
- are pregnant
- have certain medical conditions such as asthma or diabetes
- are living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility
- are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill
Children aged between 2 and 9 years of age are also eligible. Children aged 2 and 3 will be given the vaccination at their general practice, usually by the practice nurse whilst children in reception class and school years 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 will be offered their vaccination in school. Children up to the age of 17 with a long-term health condition such as diabetes are also eligible for the vaccination.
Contact your GP surgery to book a flu vaccine or go online to find your local pharmacy.