Over 65 Or Pregnant? Or Have Children Aged 2-8? Be Sure To Get Your Free Flu Vaccine

Stay healthy this winter and make sure you get your flu vaccine early this year to avoid becoming ill.

If you are aged 65 and over, pregnant, or have children aged 2-8, or suffer from a long-term condition, then you are eligible for a free flu vaccine this year.

Ideally, it is advised that you get your flu vaccine before winter (in October and November) to get the maximum protection.

From late September, the vaccine has been available and will be throughout the winter from various convenient locations such as your GP surgery or some community pharmacies (you do not need a referral from your doctor.)

The vaccine will free to all eligible persons; bought privately they can cost up to £20.

Dr. Annapurna Sen, from Central Bedfordshire Council's public health team, said: "The flu vaccine is one of the best protection against flu and its complications. The flu virus changes every year so it is important to get the updated flu vaccine every year to give you the best protection."

Councillor Brian J Spurr, Executive Member for Health and Chairman of the Health and Wellbeing Board said: "Flu is different from a cold — it can be much more serious and lead to significant complications such as bronchitis or pneumonia particularly in vulnerable groups like older people, children and those who already have health problems. It is worth also outlining that the flu vaccine cannot give you the flu, so it is better to be safe and get vaccinated."

Last year (between April 2016 and March 2017) there were over 1,790 hospital admissions in Bedfordshire due to flu and over two-thirds of these were in people over 65 years old. Of these, 145 died in Bedfordshire where flu was a contributing factor.

The flu vaccine is safe for most people and serious side-effects are very uncommon. Talk to your GP or community pharmacist if you are concerned.

For further advice, and to see if you qualify for a free vaccination, go to the NHS website for flu information.

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