As winter approaches, Solihull Council is encouraging people to get their flu jab so that they have the best protection against a virus that can cause severe illness and even death.
A free NHS flu vaccine is available every year to eligible people, to help protect them from the risk of flu and its complications.
Flu is very different to the common cold and can even be life threatening for people who are in an at-risk group.
People entitled to a free NHS flu vaccine are those who:
- are aged 50 years or over
- have long-term health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, heart, liver or kidney disease)
- are pregnant
- live in a residential or nursing home
- receive a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer of an older or disabled person
- live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)
People in these groups are urged to take up the offer when invited for their flu jab by their GP or pharmacist so that they have the best protection this winter.
Frontline health and social care workers should be offered a free flu vaccine through their employer to protect themselves, their colleagues and the people they care for. Those working in registered residential care or nursing homes, registered homecare organisations, hospices or those that provide care through direct payments and/or personal health budgets can also have an NHS flu vaccine at a GP surgery or pharmacy.
As ‘super-spreaders’, children should also have the flu vaccination to protect them and by extension, other vulnerable members of the community. For children aged two and three the flu vaccine is just a quick nasal spray, which can be given at their GP practice.
All children in reception class and school years one to 11 will be offered the flu nasal spray whilst they’re at school. It is important that parents sign and return the consent form allowing them to have the flu vaccine at school.
Solihull Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, Councillor Tony Dicicco, said: “The reason we talk so much about getting a flu vaccination if you are in one of the at-risk groups is that we don’t want to see anyone become seriously ill, especially when it is avoidable.
“More people are likely to get flu this winter as fewer people will have built up natural immunity to it during the COVID-19 pandemic so please get your free flu jab if you are eligible. All necessary measures will be taken to make sure the flu vaccine is given in a safe environment and the process will be quick and easy.”
Dr Will Taylor, Clinical Chair of NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG and a local GP, said: “It’s more important than ever that those who are eligible get their flu vaccination when invited. The vaccine has a long history of being very effective against preventing the transmission of flu, and in a world where COVID-19 is still circulating, the more protection we have against illnesses, the better.
“Flu can be a very serious virus which can lead to hospitalisation or in the most severe cases, death. Please ensure you get your vaccination to help protect yourself and those around you.”