Residents being urged to take up the offer of a free flu vaccine

Health bosses in Northamptonshire are urging those who are most vulnerable to flu to protect themselves this winter by taking up the offer of a free flu vaccination.

They are warning that it is especially important this year as fewer people will have built up natural immunity to flu during the pandemic.

Flu, most common over the winter period, is a highly contagious viral infection that anyone can catch. It can be very serious for some and even life threatening.

Primary and secondary school children up to Year 11 qualify for the nasal spray

One of the most effective ways to protect your immune system is through getting the flu jab or nasal spray.

So exactly who is eligible?

The vaccination is offered for free to those at increased risk from the effects of flu including:

  • over 65s

  • pregnant women

•   people with long-term health conditions

•   those who receive a carer's allowance or are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person

•    front-line health and social care workers and care workers

•    those living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facilities

•    children over the age of six months with a long-term health condition

•     children who were aged two or three on 31 August 2021

•      all primary school-aged children (reception to year six)

•      children in secondary school - year seven to year 11

•      people aged 50-64 (including those who'll be 50 by 31 March 2022)

Health bosses say your GP practice should contact you if eligible- but your pharmacist can give you more information.

Dr Sen says that even if you've had the flu vaccine last year- you still need another this year as the vaccine is updated to account for the latest strains of the virus.

"What's more, if you get flu and coronavirus at the same time, research shows you're more likely to be seriously ill. So getting vaccinated will also help reduce pressure on the NHS.

“Having the flu vaccine will protect your immune system and give you one less thing to worry about this winter. If you’re eligible why don’t you discuss the vaccine with your GP practice or visit a local community pharmacy today.”

"Vaccinating children not only helps to prevent them from getting the virus, it also prevents the spread of flu within our vulnerable population. Last year’s flu vaccination programme reduced the risk of flu in children who received the vaccine by 65.3 per cent. For healthy children aged two and above, the flu vaccine will be in nasal spray form, administered by a health professional."