A leading Cheshire doctor has said it is more important than ever this year for people to get their free flu jab if they are entitled to it.
Dr Andrew Wilson, a GP at Ashfields Primary Care Centre in Sandbach and Clinical Chair of NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, stressed that flu kills around 11,000 people every year in England and hospitalised thousands more.
He described the flu vaccine as the best protection for people at risk of falling seriously ill from the virus – and for those around them. And he said that the CCG had been working with GP practices to plan Cheshire’s biggest-ever flu vaccination programme but with all necessary arrangements made for it to happen in a Covid-safe way.
Dr Wilson said: “This year, more than ever, it’s vital that people protect themselves and their loved ones from this nasty virus.
“By having the jab, people will not only be helping themselves but also protecting the NHS from being overwhelmed by a combination of flu and any spikes in Covid-19.”
Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council said: “We urge all those who are offered a free flu jab to take one and play their part in keeping themselves and others well this winter.
“It’s the best protection for people at serious risk of falling ill from the virus.”
Councillor Sam Corcoran, Leader of Cheshire East Council said: “Flu is a nasty virus that can make people seriously ill and it kills thousands of people every year. It’s so important for those who are eligible to have a flu jab to have it, even more so this year due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“Please have your flu jab and urge loved ones to have theirs.”
The free vaccine is available to:
- pregnant women
- people with long-term conditions such as heart and respiratory disease
- people with weakened immune systems
- people aged 65 or over
- people on the Covid shielded list
- frontline health and care workers
- children aged two and three
- primary school children and, for the first time, children in the first year of secondary school (Year 7)
In addition, children who are clinically at risk will be offered the vaccine from the age of six months. The vaccine is given to most children in school in the form of a nasal spray.
The vaccine is being rolled out using a phased approach and, this year for the first time, it will be available to people aged 50 to 64, starting in December.
Dr Wilson advised people eligible for the jab to ask their GP practice or community pharmacist about getting it.