It’s the time of year for the big healthcare push on flu vaccines. For those at risk of complications from flu infection, it is important to get your jab yearly, as the virus can mutate and different strains are used each year to try to maximise immunity in the population.
It is especially important this year as we are likely to also have Covid-19 Coronavirus circulating as well as seasonal flu – if a huge flu endemic hits, the NHS would really struggle to cope with those ill from flu as well as Covid. Sadly, this would undoubtedly lead to avoidable deaths in the vulnerable population of society. The NHS recommends flu vaccination for a range of people to try and protect them.
Vaccination is recommended for anyone over 65 years old and those with an underlying health problem that puts them at risk, such as asthma, COPD or emphysema, heart disease or angina, kidney or liver disease or those who have had a stroke. Pregnant women and individuals with a BMI over 40 are also advised to be vaccinated. Also included are people with weak immune systems (either caused by medication, chemotherapy or illness) and those who live in the same house as them. Those who are carers are also eligible, whether they are paid to care in a care home or by social services, or are informal carers for family or friends. All these people can have a flu jab at NHS expense, so they do not have to pay for protection.
If you are in one of these groups please do make sure you are vaccinated this year. It does not matter if you visit your pharmacy or GP surgery, all providers use the same vaccines and we all just want to make sure you and those we care for are protected this winter. If you are not eligible for free NHS vaccination, it can still be worth having a flu jab – it minimises the risk of having to take time off from work ill for flu and also helps build up “herd immunity” where the whole population is protected from flu because of the number of people who have had the vaccine. If you would like to know more about the flu jab, please get in touch with our pharmacy team who can answer any queries you have.