One in three entitles to a free flu jab in Warwickshire

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Thousands of Warwickshire residents could be putting their

lives at risk this winter by not taking advantage of their

free flu vaccination.

In Warwickshire one in three people are entitled to a free

flu vaccination, yet every year thousands of people run the

lottery of catching the potentially deadly illness rather

than have the ‘flu jab’.

Everyone aged 65 or over is entitled for the free flu jab,

which GPs will start to offer to their patients from next

Tuesday, October 1.

Over 65s in Warwickshire are generally good at taking

advantage of this service, with almost 75 per cent getting

their jab.

However, there are other at risk groups, and many of these

are not so good at booking their immunisation.

For example, only about half of adults in Warwickshire who

are identified as clinically at risk get their jab, and

even fewer children were protected last year, this includes

people with severe asthma, diabetes and chronic heart

disease.

Pregnant women at all stages of pregnancy are entitled to

the jab because they are particularly at risk of

complications from flu and the vaccine can protect their

baby in the first few months of life. Less than 50 per cent

of women who were pregnant last winter had their

vaccination and we are working with antenatal clinics to

encourage more pregnant women to have their jab this year.

Carers registered with their GP are another group entitled

to the jab, yet only half get it.

Dr John Linnane, Warwickshire County Council’s Director of

Public Health, said: “Flu is not just a cold – it can be a

really serious illness for some people and it doesn’t just

affect older people. If you’re pregnant, have lowered

immunity or a long term health condition such as severe

asthma, a chest or heart complaint, or diabetes then you

should also get a free flu jab from your GP and get flu

safe. The flu jab is completely safe, and it can’t give you

flu.”

Public Health Warwickshire is encouraging everyone who

knows anyone who may be at risk from flu to tell them how

important it is that they get protected. Frontline health

and social care staff who provide personal care are also

encouraged to get a jab to protect themselves and those

around them.

The flu vaccine changes every year to fight the latest

strains of flu, so even if you had a jab last winter you

need another one this year to stay flu safe.

Cllr Bob Stevens, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio

Holder for Health, said: “I’m all booked in for my flu jab

and I’m pleased to see that in Warwickshire, pharmacies are

also supporting the vaccination programme.

“Flu can increase the risk of developing more serious

illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and can make

existing conditions much worse. Flu can knock you off your

feet and make it hard to look after children or go to

work. In the most serious cases, seasonal flu might land

you in hospital - it can even be a killer.

“If you’re in any of the ’at risk’ groups, the flu jab is

completely free and is a safe way of protecting you and

your family in a matter of minutes.”

The best time to be vaccinated is at the start of the flu

season from October to early November, so it’s good to get

in early and get flu safe in time for the winter.

Simply contact your GP to arrange a convenient appointment

and get your jab. It’s quick, safe and free for those most

at risk from the virus.

For more information, speak to your GP or local pharmacist,

or visit www.nhs.uk/flu or www.warwickshire.gov.uk/flu