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Residents are encouraged to defend themselves against getting the flu by having a flu jab now.

The best time to have a flu vaccine is in the autumn, from the beginning of October to the end of November. Whilst anyone can get vaccinated throughout winter, it is important to get protected before the cold weather settles in.

The flu is an unpredictable virus that can result in fever, coughing, pains, and more severe complications, even death. Whilst unpleasant for everyone, its effects are particularly dangerous for certain people. It is essential that people aged 65 and over, pregnant women, residential or nursing home residents, and those with long term medical conditions, including their carers - paid or unpaid, receive the vaccination. It is also recommended to social care workers, hospice workers, and those that provide frontline healthcare.

This year, all primary school children will be given a nasal spray flu vaccination, which is needle-free and painless. Children are considered ‘super spreaders’ of the flu and so the vaccination not only protects them from illness, but also protects any vulnerable people they may come into contact with.

Children born between 1 September 2015 and 31 August 2017, and aged 2-17 with long-term health conditions are also eligible for a free nasal spray vaccine.

Cllr Piers Allen, Lead Member for Adult Social Services and Health, said:

“Thousands die from the flu every year and so it is vital we protect ourselves in the best way possible - by getting vaccinated.

“By defending yourself from flu, you will not only ensure you stay healthy and happy this winter, but you will also be helping others by easing pressure on NHS services.

“Vaccinations are available at your GP surgery, local pharmacy or, if you are pregnant, ask your midwife if they offer it.”

Dr Graham Lewis, GP and Chair Richmond Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

“The flu vaccination has never been more readily accessible in both GP practices and local pharmacies. It is provided free of charge to those who need it the most, which includes young children, older people and their carers, and anyone living with a long-term health condition. This can be anything from heart disease to asthma, diabetes to neurological conditions as well as other conditions.

“The best time to get the flu vaccination is in the autumn, as after it has been administered it can take between 10-14 days for the vaccine to become fully effective.

“To prevent people getting the flu this winter, it’s so important for everyone who is entitled to a free flu vaccination to get it done as soon as possible. You can talk with your local pharmacist about it, where you may also be able to get the vaccine done on-the-spot, no booking or waiting; the pharmacist will also let your GP know you’ve had the flu vaccine this year so you don’t need to tell the GP yourself. Children aged between 2-3 years old must be taken to their GP practice where, in most cases, they’ll be able to receive a quick, free and painless nasal spray.”

For more information on flu jabs, please visit: www.richmond.gov.uk/services/wellbeing_and_lifestyle/flu_jabs

– from a Richmond Council press release - 31 October 2019