Get Your Flu Vaccination Before Christmas

7 December 2020 1:09pm

Make sure you book your flu vaccination before the festive period, urge health bosses at Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs).

Flu is a common infectious viral illness that is spread by coughs and sneezes. As households plan for getting together over Christmas, now is a good time to ensure you have had your flu vaccination.

The flu vaccine is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your loved ones from catching the flu. GP surgeries across the county have been running an extensive vaccination campaign for those eligible for the free flu vaccine.

Those eligible for a free flu vaccine include people aged 65 years and over, people with long term health conditions, pregnant women, people who have a learning disability, those living in a long stay residential home and carers.

Children aged two to three years can also receive the free vaccine from their GP practice, whilst primary school aged children are being vaccinated through schools.

This year, patients and household contacts on the NHS Shielded Patient List are also being offered a free flu vaccine.

People aged 50-64 years are also eligible this year and will be contacted by their GP practice when the most vulnerable groups have been vaccinated.

Flu symptoms usually take one to four days to develop from exposure. Typical flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle and body aches, headaches, tiredness and some may experience vomiting and diarrhoea.

Dr Julian Povey, Joint Chair of Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin CCGs, said: “It should never be regarded as ‘just the Flu’ - on average it kills 11,000 people and hospitalises many thousands more.

“Healthy people usually recover within two to seven days, but people with a lowered immunity or long-term health condition such as asthma, chest or heart conditions or diabetes, are more at risk of developing complications.

“It’s not too late, there’s still time to get your flu vaccination booked in before Christmas. If you are eligible for the free flu vaccine, contact your GP practice. It is safe to visit your GP to have the flu vaccine, but only turn up if you have a pre-booked appointment.”

Due to coronavirus, GP practices are delivering vaccinations differently to minimise risks to patients. Patients are required to wear face coverings, maintain social distance and use hand sanitiser. Practices may have introduced one-way systems in their premises and, in some instances, are delivering the vaccine in other venues such as community centres.