Stay Well This Winter – don’t forget your free flu vaccine
Date Added: 25/11/2015
Central Bedfordshire Council is reminding eligible residents to get their free flu vaccination to help them stay fit and healthy over the winter.
Free vaccinations help to protect people who are more vulnerable to flu and are available to anyone over 65, below 65 with a long-term health condition, children aged two to four, children in school years 1 and 2, pregnant women, and carers. Yet last year just under two thirds of the 97,000 people in Central Bedfordshire who qualify for a free flu vaccination took up the jab.
For most people, influenza, commonly known as ‘flu’, is an unpleasant illness with symptoms including fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches, body aches and fatigue.
However, people in these more vulnerable groups are at a greater risk of developing potentially serious complications of flu, such as chest infections, meningitis and encephalitis (infection of the brain), which can lead to a hospital admission or even be fatal. Last year 1,609 Central Bedfordshire residents were admitted to hospital with flu-related complications and among those admitted, 298 sadly died as a result.
Cllr Maurice Jones, Executive Member for Health at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “If you belong to one of these higher risk groups, please contact your local GP surgery to make an appointment for your flu vaccination, or speak to your local pharmacy who may also be offering it – it’s free because you need it.
“The vaccine is safe and effective and can reduce the chances of getting flu and its complications by 70 per cent and reduce the risk of death from flu by 80 per cent.”
It is important to have a flu vaccination every winter as the virus is constantly changing. This year’s flu vaccine contains three commonly circulating flu strains and provides full protection against them.
Anyone in doubt about whether they are eligible for a free flu vaccination should contact their GP.
For more information about the flu vaccine, other winter illnesses and winter health advice, visit http://www.nhs.uk/staywell
For details of pharmacies in Central Bedfordshire offering the free flu vaccine, visit http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/health/default.aspx