Millions of people in the North West to be vaccinated against the flu virus this winter
and live on Freeview channel 276
Each year, flu kills on average 11,000 people and hospitalises thousands more. It’s not ‘just’ flu. This year it is even more important people who are most at risk of flu have their free flu vaccination. All clinics will run in line with infection prevention control and social distancing measures will be in place.
For the first time, children in school Year 7, and household contacts and carers of those on the NHS Shielded Patient List, are all eligible for the free vaccination. These groups are in addition to people aged over 65, those under 65 with long-term health conditions, pregnant women, children aged 2 and 3 and children in primary school.
David Levy, Medical Director for NHS England and NHS Improvement’s North West region said: “This year with both the flu virus and Covid-19 circulating, flu immunisation is more important than ever to reduce infections, protect each other and protect the NHS.
“There is an expanded list of priority groups this year and we are offering the vaccine to children aged from 2 to 11, as well as those aged 65 and over and those who are under the age of 65 in an “at risk” group such as people with chronic illness including diabetes and people who are very overweight. So, if you have a Body Mass Index of more than 40 or a chronic illness or a learning disability, look after yourself and protect the NHS by having the flu jab.”
People aged between 50 and 64 who are not in a clinical at-risk group may also be offered a free flu vaccination later in the year, providing there is enough vaccine available. This is to ensure that those who are most at risk are vaccinated first.
Anyone of any age who is a household member or a carer of a shielded patient, is eligible for the flu vaccination from September onwards and should contact the GP practice they are registered with or their pharmacy to book an appointment.
Flu is a highly infectious disease that is spread from person to person and infects the respiratory system, where it can lead to pneumonia and other complications. The flu viruses are constantly changing and this is one of the main reasons why people should be vaccinated annually. The symptoms, that come on very quickly, include fever, chills, headaches, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness. The best way to avoid getting the flu is by having the vaccination. Doing so reduces the risk of developing the illness significantly.
Dr Andrew Furber, Regional Director, Public Health England & Regional Director of Public Health NHS North West said: “We have got to make sure that as many eligible people as possible receive the free flu vaccination this year, more than any other. People at high risk from COVID-19 are also most at risk from flu. It may be a little different when you go for your vaccine this year, healthcare staff will be wearing face coverings and you’ll be asked to wear one too to ensure the safety of everyone attending.”
For a full list of priority groups and other information about this year’s flu vaccine, visit www.nhs.uk and search for flu vaccine.