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Don’t wait until winter for the flu jab " see your local doctor or pharmacy

05 September 2016


Local doctors are urging people in Bedfordshire to have the flu jab well before winter, and say it is safe and effective for those at risk of more serious health complications and even death from flu.

The flu vaccine is available from the NHS free of charge to those at risk including pregnant women, young children, carers and anyone with a long term health condition such as heart disease, breathing problems, diabetes, neurological conditions, cancer, liver disease or those over 65.

Last winter in Bedfordshire over 1,000 people were admitted to hospital because of flu and

overall, 57% of Bedfordshire residents who were entitled took up the offer of the free flu vaccine, and local health leaders are keen for more people to get protection from the virus which can be life threatening.

Dr Dayo Kuku, Respiratory and Cardiology Clinical Lead GP for Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG), and a GP said: “Flu can make vulnerable people more likely to suffer complications such as bronchitis or pneumonia and can make existing conditions worse. Flu can result in hospital admission and even death, so the flu jab is vital.

“You can’t get flu from the jab. The vaccine stimulates your body's immune system to make antibodies which attack the flu virus: flu vaccine changes every year to fight the latest strains of flu. Even if you had a jab last winter you need another one this year to stay safe from flu.

“Basic hygiene will help prevent the spread of flu. This means covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, washing hands with soap and water and throwing used tissues straight in the bin.”

This year the free flu vaccination will be available to more children as the age range is being extended to include 7 year olds. The vaccine for all children aged 2-4 and those in school years 1-3 comes as a nasal spray which makes it even more effective. Young children are especially vulnerable to getting flu, and are more likely to spread the virus. Parents are asked to take pre-school children to their GP for the flu vaccine, while the 5-7 year olds will receive it at school. 

Anyone in doubt about whether they qualify for a free vaccination should contact their GP.

People who are eligible for the free NHS flu jab can get it from their GP or local high street pharmacy. Anyone who is not eligible for a free flu jab can still receive the vaccination from their local pharmacy for a small fee.

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