Free winter flu jab offered to those most vulnerable

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Those people most at risk in Tower Hamlets are being encouraged to get vaccinated against the flu as the autumn chill sets in.

The NHS is encouraging people over the age of 65 or with long-term health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and chronic lung disease including COPD (chronic obstructive lung disease), or with a weakened immune system to take up the free flu jab.

Front-line health and social care workers and personal carers are also being encouraged to get the jab to prevent them from unintentionally spreading the virus to people they come in to contact with.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: “Those considered most vulnerable can have serious complications with the flu.

“I would advise residents in Tower Hamlets who are most at-risk to get vaccinated as early as possible to protect themselves over the course of the winter from the flu”

Other groups eligible for the free flu vaccine are pregnant women and young children.

Children between the ages of two and eight years are eligible for the free flu nasal spray (2-3 years at the GP and from 4-8 years in primary school), which is a quick, effective and painless alternative.

Reduce the risk of spreading flu:

  • wash your hands often with warm water and soap
  • use tissues to trap germs when you cough or sneeze
  • bin used tissues as quickly as possible.

For most healthy people, flu can be a nasty illness with a recovery time of up to a week. However, for older people, the very young, pregnant women and people with a health condition or those who have a weakened immune system, it can be very serious and could result in hospital treatment.

Cllr Denise Jones, cabinet member for health and adult services, said: “It is important to remember flu is an unpredictable virus which changes every year and can vary in severity, which is why we advise people in at risk groups to get vaccinated every autumn.”

“It is also very important for any front-line social and health care staff to receive this vaccination to ensure they do not accidently spread this virus to vulnerable children and adults when visiting homes or other settings.”

As with previous seasons, the flu vaccination will be available free from a majority of pharmacies in Tower Hamlets for adults who fall into these at-risk groups and are registered with a local GP

Contact your GP or visit your pharmacy to ask about your free flu jab.

More information on seasonal flu can be found at NHS Choices:   www.nhs.uk/staywell 

Posted on Friday 13th October 2017