Older people are at greater risk of serious complications from the flu and immunisation can help to protect them from catching the virus.
NHS Ashford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Kent County Council are supporting this year’s Stay Well This Winter campaign, led by NHS England and Public Health England, which aims to encourage everyone who is eligible for a free flu jab to get vaccinated.
As well as residents aged 65 or over, pregnant women, carers and people with long-term health conditions are all eligible for a free flu vaccination and are advised to have one every year.
All children in school years 1, 2 and 3 (aged five to seven-years-old) will be offered the nasal vaccine through a schools based programme, while children aged two to four-years-old can get the vaccine from their GP.
Immunising children ensures they have the maximum protection and also makes a significant contribution to reducing the overall spread of the flu virus.
Dr Navin Kumta, a local GP and Clinical Chair of the CCG, said: “Anyone over the age of 65 or with an existing health problem should make sure they get the flu jab. Catching flu is a miserable experience for everyone, but for some people flu can increase their risk of developing a more serious illness.
“Flu can be very unpleasant in children as they suffer the same symptoms as adults including fever, chills and aching muscles. The flu vaccination will help protect your child from flu and also reduce the chance of flu spreading to other family members including older relatives.
“The nasal spray vaccination is a quick, painless and effective way for children to be protected without the need for an injection.”
KCC Director of Public Health, Andrew Scott-Clark, said: “Flu can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, or can make existing conditions worse, which is why it is vitally important that at risk and vulnerable people feel confident to come forward and get themselves the best defence against flu this winter.”
Seasonal flu occurs every year and is a highly infectious disease with symptoms that come on very quickly. These include fever, chills, headache, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness.
For more information about the flu vaccination and eligibility for a free immunisation, visit: www.nhs.uk/staywell
Residents aged 65 or over, pregnant women, carers and people with a long-term health condition should contact their GP practice or their local pharmacy to arrange their free flu vaccination. To find your nearest pharmacy visit: www.healthhelpnow.nhs.uk
Parents of children aged two, three or four should contact their GP practice about getting a flu vaccination for their child. The nasal spray vaccine is not licensed for children under the age of two.
NHS Ashford Clinical Commissioning Group 26 October 2016
NHS Ashford Clinical Commissioning Group buys and plans the healthcare for the people of Ashford.