Fight Off Flu This Winter

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Bedford Borough Council is encouraging residents to get their flu jab this winter.

Getting vaccinated reduces the chance of catching flu and spreading it to friends, family and others in our communities, who may be at more risk.

Flu can be unpleasant, but for most it will clear up in a week or two. For others it can be more severe including those aged over 65, pregnant women, young children and adults with an underlying health condition and people with weakened immune systems.

Several types of flu vaccine are offered, including the Fluenz nasal spray for children. If you’re eligible for a free flu vaccine on the NHS, you’ll be contacted and offered one that’s most appropriate for you.

The only flu vaccine that contains any porcine gelatine content is the Fluenz nasal spray for children. Porcine gelatine helps to protect the vaccine from the effects of heat or freeze-drying and maintain the shelf life of the vaccine. This year, just as they were last year,  parents can request an injectable alternative to the Fluenz nasal vaccine that does not contain any porcine content. Information on how to do this is included in the consent letter distributed by schools.

If you have any questions or concerns please speak to your GP or a health professional. Cllr Louise Jackson, Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing said, “Getting your flu jab helps keep you and your loved ones safe from flu and I would urge anyone who is thinking about getting their jab to do it. The jab is safe, effective and only take a few minutes. Even if you are not eligible for a free jab on the NHS you can contact your local pharmacy and pay for one.”

Vicky Head, Director of Public Health for Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes City Councils said, “If you are contacted directly by the NHS, please get vaccinated. The best time to get your flu vaccine is now, before flu starts circulating. It’s safe and it will reduce your risk of catching flu or spreading it to others.”

Free flu jabs are available to:

  • Pregnant women
  • Carers
  • All children aged two to three years old
  • All school children from reception to year 9 (years 10 and 11 will be offered the vaccine at school in due course dependent on supply)
  • Those aged six months to under 50 years in certain clinical risk groups
  • Close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
  • Those aged 50 years and above
  • Care home residents
  • Frontline health and care workers

Flu vaccination appointments are available at GP practices, selected pharmacies and midwifery services also offer the flu jab to pregnant women. Primary, lower, middle and secondary school children will receive their vaccination at school. Booking is straightforward and the appointment itself can take less than 10 minutes. People who are not eligible for a free flu jab can pay for one at their local pharmacy.

Find out more about the flu and how to stay well this winter by visiting https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/seasonal-health/keep-warm-keep-well/

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