People in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes who have been newly diagnosed with a long-term condition have been reminded to come forward for a flu jab.
Flu is a highly infectious disease and can lead to serious complications for those living with one or more of a range of long-term health conditions, such as respiratory or heart disease, diabetes, kidney or liver disease, or a chronic neurological condition such as multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy.
An analysis by Public Health England in 2020 showed that six in every 10 deaths from flu were seen in people with underlying conditions.
Dr Sarah Whiteman, Chief Medical Director at Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board, said:
“Having a flu jab is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones.
“Our immune system is made up of lots of different organs, and a condition which affects any of them can make us more vulnerable to infections such as flu.
“It’s important to keep your vaccinations up to date. If you’ve only recently been diagnosed with a long-term condition then you may not have been invited to come forward for a free NHS flu vaccination this winter. It’s not too late: just speak to your pharmacist or your family doctor’s surgery for information.”
Notes to editors
Over 309,000 flu vaccinations have been delivered to patients in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes this winter (data as at 13 February 2023).
The flu vaccine is given free on the NHS to adults who:
- are 50 and over (including those who will be 50 by 31 March 2023);
- have certain health conditions;
- are pregnant;
- are in long-stay residential care;
- receive a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick;
- live with someone who is more likely to get a severe infection due to a weakened immune system, such as someone living with HIV, someone who has had a transplant, or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
The flu vaccine is also available this year to children in the following groups:
- primary school aged children (from Reception to Year 6);
- children who were aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2022;
- children aged over 6 months who are in clinical risk groups.
A list of pharmacies offering a free NHS flu vaccination to anyone who is eligible is also available online.
You can check your eligibility for the flu vaccination at www.nhs.uk/wintervaccinations, where you can also find answers to some common questions.