Councillor Wendy Pattison, Portfolio Holder for Adults’ Wellbeing, has urged all those in Northumberland who are eligible for the flu jab to get one this winter, as the Government continues its drive to increase eligibility.
Last year saw the roll out of the biggest NHS flu vaccination programme ever, with the aim of offering protection to as many eligible people as possible during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
A combination of masks, social distancing and restrictions on international travel helped keep flu levels extremely low last winter and as a result, scientists expect fewer people to be immune this season.
Seasonal flu and COVID-19 viruses have the potential to add substantially to the winter pressures usually faced by the NHS, particularly if infection waves from both viruses coincide.
Flu vaccination is therefore an important priority this coming autumn and winter to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with flu, and to reduce hospitalisations during a time when the NHS and social care may also be managing winter outbreaks of COVID-19.
This year, the flu vaccination programme is being expanded again to help protect people from flu and ease pressure on the NHS and urgent care services.
Who can get a free flu jab?
This year the flu jab will be offered to:
- All children who are aged two and three on 31 August 2021
- All children in primary school and all secondary school pupils under the age of 16 on 31 August
- Those aged six months to under 50 years in clinical risk groups
- Pregnant women
- Those aged 50 years and over
- People in residential care
- Unpaid carers
- Close contacts of people with weakened immune systems
- Health and care staff
The flu vaccine will be offered via your GP, local pharmacy and schools.
Commenting, Cllr Pattison said:
“Winter always brings with it the risk of flu – if you haven’t done so already, now really is the time to get your flu jab. It is imperative that anyone who has been offered the vaccination takes it up.”
“I urge everyone in Northumberland who is eligible to get vaccinated. Controlling the spread of seasonal flu and Covid-19 and protecting the NHS is on all of us and we must take as many sensible precautions as possible including, taking steps like getting a flu jab.”