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11 December 2018
Bedfordshire and Luton Clinical Commissioning Groups are urging residents aged 65 and over, to take up their free NHS flu vaccination before winter takes hold.
The last batches of the flu vaccine were delivered to GPs and pharmacies across the country last week ahead of the flu season, which usually starts in December.
Over 30,000 older people across Bedfordshire and Luton didn’t take up the offer of a free jab last year, despite being most vulnerable to the effects of flu. Many of those caught the virus and needed NHS treatment as a result.
A new vaccine which has been especially developed for over 65 year olds is available for the first time this winter and Public Health England believes that across England it could:
· Reduce GP consultations due to flu by 30,000
· Cut hospitalisations by over 2,000
· Prevent over 700 hospital deaths.
Dr Chirag Bakhai, Luton GP and Deputy Chair of Luton Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “If you are aged 65 or over, or known to be at high risk of complications from flu due to chronic health conditions or pregnancy, it is really important to get your free NHS flu jab to help you stay well this winter.
“GP practices and pharmacies in Luton and Bedfordshire should now have enough stock to ensure that everyone eligible can be vaccinated. If you haven’t had the chance yet to have the flu vaccine, or if stocks were low when you tried earlier, now is the time to get protected before winter really takes hold.”
Heather Moulder, Acting Clinical Chair of Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “While flu is a common ailment and many people can get over it with rest and fluids, for some people in high-risk groups, such as the elderly and those with long-term conditions, it can lead to serious and potentially life-threatening complications, such as pneumonia or bronchitis.”
To find out if you’re one of the 22 million people who are eligible for the free flu vaccination, visit www.nhs.uk/staywell