The South West Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is urging those most at risk from flu to protect themselves and their families as a matter of priority with a free flu jab.
Full protection from the vaccine takes up to two weeks to develop and can help prevent vulnerable patients from further health complications associated with influenza such as pneumonia.
Those most at risk include pregnant women, people living with a health condition such as severe asthma, chest or heart complaints, and those aged 65 and over.
Throughout autumn and winter, critical care units across the region become busy with people who should have been vaccinated against flu, most of these patients would have been eligible for a free flu jab on the NHS.
Dr Vindi Bhandal, of the CCG, said: “Influenza can be a very serious illness, even for those who are fit- and for the elderly and ill could even be fatal. There are still people who are not aware of the flu jab, if you think you may be at risk, we urge you to seek information and advice from your GP practice.
“I would strongly advise you to contact your surgery to arrange for your flu jab, and remember this is a preventable illness. Contact your GP surgery now 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
Flu vaccinations are currently offered free of charge to the following ‘at risk’ groups:
* People aged 65 years and over (including those becoming 65 years of age by 31st March 2015)
* All pregnant women (including those women who become pregnant during the flu season).
* Children aged 2-3, who are eligible for a free nasal flu vaccination
* People with a serious medical condition, including Chronic (long-term) respiratory disease, such as severe asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchitis, chronic heart disease, such as heart failure, chronic kidney disease at stage 3, 4 or 5, chronic liver disease, chronic neurological disease, such as Parkinson’s disease or motor neurone disease, diabetes, or a weakened immune system due to disease (such as HIV/AIDS) or treatment (such as cancer treatment).
* People living in long stay residential care homes or other long-stay care facilities where rapid spread is likely to follow introduction of infection and cause high morbidity and mortality. This does not include, for instance, prisons, young offender institutions, or university halls of residence
* People who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an older or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill.