Get vaccinated against the flu virus this winter

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Flu vaccination clinics across East Sussex are underway this September and the NHS is encouraging anyone who is eligible for a free flu vaccination to book an appointment with their GP or pharmacist.

Every year the flu virus kills people and hospitalises many more. This year because of Covid-19 it is even more important people who are most at risk of flu have their free flu vaccination.

Who may be eligible:

  • Over 65s
  • Children aged 2 to 11
  • Family carers and paid support workers of “Shielded Patients”
  • People with long-term health conditions and chronic illnesses including diabetes
  • Those with weight problems
  • Pregnant women
  • People with a learning disability

For the first time, children in school Year 7, and household contacts and carers of those on the NHS Shielded Patient List, are all eligible for the free vaccination. These groups are in addition to people aged over 65, those under 65 with long-term health conditions, pregnant women, children aged 2 and 3 and children in primary school.

People aged between 50 and 64 who are not in a clinical at-risk group may also be offered a free flu vaccination later in the year, providing there is enough vaccine available.

Allison Cannon, Chief Nurse Officer for Sussex NHS commissioners said:

This year with both the flu virus and Covid-19 circulating flu immunisation is more important than ever to reduce infections, protect each other and protect the NHS.

There is an expanded list of priority groups this year and we are offering the vaccine to children aged from 2 to 11, as well as those over the age of 65 and anyone with chronic illness including diabetes and weight problems. So, if you have a Body Mass Index of more than 40 or a chronic illness or learning disability, look after yourself and protect the NHS by having the flu jab.

Flu is a highly infectious disease that is spread from person to person and infects the respiratory system, where it can lead to pneumonia and other complications. The flu viruses are constantly changing and this is one of the main reasons why people should be vaccinated annually. The symptoms, that come on very quickly, include fever, chills, headaches, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness. The best way to avoid getting the flu is by having the vaccination. Doing so reduces the risk of developing the illness significantly.

Chilldren

Every child aged two to three is eligible and can receive the vaccine at their GP practice. Children in Reception to Year 7 will receive the vaccination at school.

Children can face serious complications from flu virus, including a painful ear infection, acute bronchitis and pneumonia, so some may even need hospital for treatment.

Protecting children can also stop the flu virus spreading to other children and the family, especially babies and grandparents, who may be at higher risk from flu and who may be trying their best to stay well at this current time.

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Allison Cannon, Chief Nurse Officer for Sussex NHS commissioners said:

We are urging parents to help us protect your little ones from flu and the vaccination is available free on the NHS.

The nasal spray vaccination is quick, effective and painless and robust safety rules are being followed wherever and whenever vaccinations take place whether that is at your GP practice or at your child’s school to make sure these are being done safely to every child, parents and staff.

All clinics will run in line with infection prevention control and social distancing measures will be in place.

For a full list of priority groups and other information about this year’s flu vaccine, visit www.nhs.uk and search for flu vaccine.

Information on the free flu vaccine is available in Easy Read formats and in a variety of languages.

If you are scared of needles, tell the nurse. You may be able to have the vaccine as a spray instead.

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