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Don't forget your flu jab

Hackney Council is urging people most at risk to take advantage of free jabs from their GP or local pharmacy.

Flu season runs from October to February and the best way to protect against catching and spreading the potentially lethal virus is by having the vaccine beforehand.

This year, for the first time, all two and three year old children will be offered the vaccine. It’s also strongly recommended that all pregnant women, whatever their stage of pregnancy, get immunised. It is safe and can be given at any stage of pregnancy and the vaccination cannot give people the flu as it does not contain live viruses.

Flu spreads very quickly and, because it is caused by viruses (not by bacteria), antibiotics do not work. A bout of flu can be very nasty, but it usually clears up within a week if you’re otherwise healthy. However, pregnant women, people over 65, the very young and those with underlying diseases, particularly chronic respiratory or cardiac disease, are at increased risk of severe illness if they catch the flu.

Some people have a high risk of developing serious complications from flu. We would encourage these people to get the jab as soon as possible, before the flu season starts. Pregnant women risk complications for themselves or their babies so it’s strongly advised they get immunised, the vaccine is safe at any stage of pregnancy. “Anyone not sure if they should have the vaccine should check with their GP or local pharmacist. This is a virus which can put people in hospital or even kill, so it really is better to be safe than sorry.
Dr. Sohail Bhatti, Interim Director of Public Health

Children will be given a nasal spray vaccine. Parents with children aged two to three will be contacted by their GP in the coming weeks about getting their child vaccinated.

Anyone who had the seasonal flu vaccine last year will need a new jab this season as the virus changes and a new vaccine is developed to protect against these new strains.

Those offered the free seasonal flu vaccine are

•all people aged 65 and over

•all children aged two and three years old

• all pregnant women

•adults and children from six months living with long term health conditions

• everyone living in a residential or nursing home

•  everyone who cares for an older or disabled person and

• frontline health and social care workers.

 Visit www.nhs.uk/flu for more information