People over the age of 65 in Staffordshire are being encouraged to take up the offer of a free flu vaccination before Christmas.
The free vaccination is offered to those who are at increased risk from the effects of the flu. These include people aged 65 and over, pregnant women, those with underlying health conditions and children aged 2-9.
So far, take up of the vaccine has been lower than expected, causing health officials to urge those eligible for a free vaccine to take up the offer from their GP or local pharmacy.
For older people, it is estimated that getting the vaccine could reduce GP consultations by 30,000, hospitalisations by over 2,000 and prevent over 700 hospital deaths from flu in England.
Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Health, Care and Wellbeing Alan White said:
“The flu vaccine is free for certain people because they are at an increased risk from the effects of the virus. This includes people aged 65 or over. Getting the flu at any age is not a pleasant experience, but it can be a lot more serious for older people who may suffer more if they contract the virus.
“This year a more effective vaccine is being given to those aged 65 and over, which is proven to give better protection against flu for people of this age. We want as many people who are eligible for a free vaccine to take up the offer. It’s not too late to book an appointment and ensure you are better protected, especially before Christmas when flu typically starts to circulate.”
For more information on the free vaccine, speak to your local school or GP, or visit www.nhs.uk/fluvaccine for more information.
Note to Editors
People who are eligible for the flu vaccine this year include:
- Adults aged 65 and over
- Adults aged 18-64 with a long term health condition
- Children aged 2-3 via their GP practice
- School children in years reception, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
- Pregnant women
- Health and social care workers
- Morbidly obese people