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.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, getting the 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 already strained health and social care services this winter.
Currently, only 65% of those aged 65 and over in Birmingham and Solihull have had their flu jab, and just 28% of under 65s.
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.
Helen Jenkinson, Chief Nurse at NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The flu can be particularly severe for people in at-risk groups. If you are immunosuppressed, you are 47 times more likely to die from flu and are also at risk from COVID-19.
“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.
“As well as getting your vaccinations for flu and COVID-19, we can all do our bit in our day-to-day lives to help prevent the spread of illnesses, including wearing masks in mandated areas such as shops and public transport, and by continuing regular, thorough hand washing.”