The local NHS in Birmingham and Solihull is urging local people who are eligible to get their free flu jab as soon as they are invited to.
Due to COVID-19, this year’s flu vaccination programme is of particular importance as being vaccinated with this year’s flu jab is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and your loved ones against catching flu, as well as reducing pressure on our precious health and social care services this winter.
Public Health England (PHE) research has also revealed that people who became infected with both COVID-19 and the flu at the same time were twice as likely to die, which makes it essential to take advantage of the flu vaccine in light of the epidemic.
For those who are healthy, the flu can be unpleasant, but it will usually clear up on its own in about a week or so. However, getting the flu jab can help save the lives of others, especially those in at-risk groups who are most susceptible to developing severe complications from catching the flu.
People considered most at risk are:
- all children aged two to 11 (due to the risk of carrying and passing onto parents and grandparents)
- those in clinical risk groups (e.g. those with respiratory or neurological conditions and people with a learning disability)
- pregnant women
- people aged 65 years and over
- those in long-stay residential care homes
- close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
- frontline health and social care workers
Those who are eligible for a free flu vaccination will be invited to attend an appointment by their GP practice. This may take place at their usual practice, a neighbouring practice or a mobile unit. Local people are advised they must not turn up opportunistically to GP practices or mobile units, as it is an appointment-only system – not a walk-in facility.
Dr Richard Mendelsohn, the CCG’s Chief Medical Officer and a local GP said: "This year due to COVID-19, getting the flu jab if you are at-risk couldn’t be more important.
"Receiving your flu vaccination will help increase your chances of being protected from the flu and can lessen the symptoms if you do contract it.
"I know some patients sometimes feel anxious about getting their flu jab, but the entire process is incredibly quick and easy."
Dr Mendelsohn added: "The flu can be particularly severe for people in at-risk groups, and I urge everyone who is invited for a free flu jab to make an appointment to help protect you, those around you and your local NHS."
GP practices in Birmingham and Solihull will be contacting eligible individuals throughout September, October and November.