Flu season is coming make sure you are protected

Stockport Council and its health partners are urging residents eligible for a free flu vaccination to make sure they book their annual vaccination.

By getting the flu vaccine, you’ll be able to protect yourself and your loved ones from falling ill and prevent outbreaks in the community.

Flu can be unpleasant, but if you are otherwise healthy it will usually clear up on its own within a week. However, for some ‘at-risk’ groups, such as those aged 65 and over, expectant mums or those with an underlying medical condition, the flu virus can be life threatening so the NHS offers these people a free vaccination.

Eligible groups for free vaccination at their GP:

• Individuals aged 65 year or over
• Pregnant women
• Children aged 2 and 3
• Registered Carers
• Paid social carers (on production of their employers ID or payslip)

Individuals with the following conditions

• Chronic respiratory disease (e.g. severe asthma, obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis)
• Chronic heart disease
• Chronic kidney disease
• Chronic liver disease
• Neurological disease
• Diabetes
• Splenic Dysfunction
• A weakened immune system, due to disease (such as HIV/AIDS) or treatment (e.g. cancer treatment)
• Those with a BMI over 40

Children in school years Reception and Years 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 will receive their vaccine at school. Healthcare workers should receive the jab via their employer.

Councillor Tom McGee, Stockport Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, said: “I would like to say a big thank you to everyone in Stockport who protected themselves against flu last year. To avoid outbreaks of flu across Stockport, we are urging individuals eligible for a free NHS flu jab to protect themselves and their loved ones again this year by contacting their GP to arrange their annual flu vaccine. As I’m in one of the target groups I’ll be having one.”

Dr.David Baxter, Stockport's Public Health Consultant added: “The flu jab is very safe - it has been used by tens of millions of people around the world - and highly effective, protecting you against all the types of flu that may be around. When you understand how dangerous flu can be to anyone in an “at risk” group, it makes sense that the NHS offer free immunisation to them. Please don’t take risks with your health - have your flu jab and play safe!”

The flu vaccine for children is a pain-free nasal spray and is available each year on the NHS for two and three year-olds (at their GP Practice) plus children in school years Reception, years one, two, three, four and five will be offered the vaccination in school. Children with a long-term health condition should also have a flu vaccination because their illness could get worse if they catch flu.

If you're pregnant or have recently delivered, you should also have the flu jab, regardless of the stage of pregnancy you've reached. Pregnant women are more prone to complications from flu that can cause serious illness for both mother and baby.

If you’re in an ‘at-risk’ group, please contact your GP to arrange your annual flu jab.

For further information about the flu vaccine, visit Stockport Councils website.