HEALTH bosses from NHS England are encouraging people in and around Chester to get vaccinated against flu.
They warn that January and February traditionally see more flu cases than any other months of the year and are urging people, particularly those in at risk groups, to get the jab to avoid getting the flu.
The ‘flu jab’ is offered free to those who have a higher risk of developing complications if they catch influenza, such as those aged 65 or over, pregnant women and those with long term health problems. Individuals who are over 65 or who are in a clinical risk group are 11 times more likely to develop serious complications, such as pneumonia and brain infections, if they do get the flu.
Lynn Simpson, screening and immunisation manager for NHS England, Cheshire, said: “Just because the end of winter is in sight that doesn’t mean the threat of flu is over.
“Flu is still circulating in January and February so if you have received a letter from your GP inviting you to have a free flu jab and you still haven’t been vaccinated we would encourage you to go to your GP and get protected.
“The flu can be really nasty and by simply having the jab people will be giving themselves the best chance possible of avoiding it.
“By being vaccinated you will not only be protecting yourself, you will help to prevent the spread of flu among your family, friends and the community as a whole.”
Those who believe they have a condition that would make them eligible for free flu vaccination can be assessed by their GP who will take into account the risk of flu exacerbating any underlying illness they may have.
NHS England last week launched ‘The earlier, the better’ public awareness campaign, which is designed to encourage people to nip health problems in the bud and avoid unnecessary stays in hospital.
The campaign is particularly targeting people aged over 60 and the friends and family of older people. If people can feel flu-like symptoms coming on, visiting the pharmacy or the doctor’s surgery early will give them the best chance of making a speedy recovery.