Have you had your flu jab? If you have a long term health condition, now is the time to have your free vaccination.
Knowsley Council’s Public Health team is appealing to all those at risk groups to protect themselves this winter by getting vaccinated.
A nasal spray vaccine is offered to two and three year old children and under-16s in ‘at risk’ groups. Children in reception class and school years 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 also receive the spray in school in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus.
Free vaccinations are offered to people aged 65 years or over, all pregnant women, people with long-term medical conditions including heart disease, diabetes, severe asthma, bronchitis, liver and kidney disease and those who are morbidly obese (defined as BMI of 40 and above).
People with weakened immune systems and their household contacts, residents in long stay residential care homes and people who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an older or disabled person, can also benefit from free vaccinations. You will need to speak to your GP to make an appointment or ask a pharmacist.
Flu vaccinations are also available free for health and social care workers, this not only protects them but those they are caring for. Workers will need to take identification along to a local pharmacist or contact their GP.
Cllr Sean Donnelly, Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said:
“For the majority of people, flu is an unpleasant, but not life-threatening illness. However, it can be very serious for older people and those groups at risk of developing complications.
“They include those with weakened immune systems as well as underlying conditions such as neurological disorders, liver, lung or renal disease, heart problems or diabetes and pregnant women. And this year sees the introduction of a new, more effective vaccine for the over 65s.
“Vaccination remains the best way to protect against the potential serious harm from flu this winter. I urge everyone entitled to a free vaccination, to take up the offer – especially people in at-risk groups and the parents of young children who qualify.
“The vaccine is safe, effective and you cannot get flu from having the vaccination. So don’t wait until there’s a flu outbreak this winter and remember even if you had a vaccination last winter you need another one this year to stay safe from flu.”
Simply speak to your GP or pharmacist to see if you are eligible today.