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'At-risk' groups in Bucks urged to get free flu jab
WITH winter fast approaching, Bucks residents at the greatest risk from flu are being encouraged to sign up for a free vaccination.
Pregnant women, elderly people and those with respiratory conditions such as asthma are some of those at the greatest risk of contracting the virus.
And for the first time, all healthy children aged two and three years on September 1 will also be offered the flu vaccine as part of the seasonal flu programme.
Carers and frontline health and social care staff are also encouraged to get a free jab to protect themselves and those around them.
Patricia Birchley , Bucks County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said: “I would encourage everyone who thinks they are eligible for a free flu vaccine to make an appointment with their GP as soon as possible to keep them safe from flu this winter.
“It really is worth taking this small step to avoid an unpleasant illness which can be dangerous to those that are vulnerable."
Anyone can catch the highly contagious infection, which can be a serious illness leaving some people in hospital and causes deaths every year.
The start of the flu season from October to early November is recommended as the best time for the jab, which can be arranged by contacting a GP for an appointment.
Most of the children immunised will receive the vaccine via a quick and painless nose spray, used because it has been shown to provide greater protection for children than the flu injection.
The program of vaccinating two and three year-olds is part of the phased introduction of flu vaccine to two to 16 year-olds that will be rolled out over the next few years.
The flu jab is also available at a small cost via some pharmacies for those who do not fall into the 'at risk' groups.
Flu vaccinations are offered free of charge to the following ‘at risk’ groups:
- All people aged 65 years or over
- All pregnant women
- People with a chronic respiratory condition such as asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema
- People with chronic heart, kidney, liver or neurological disease
- People with diabetes
- People with a weakened immune system
- Main carers of older or disabled people
- People living in residential care or nursing homes
Further information on the flu jab is available on NHS Choices: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vaccinations/Pages/flu-influenza-vaccine.aspx
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