Flu season set to begin – older people and carers urged to get crucial vaccination   You are here: Home » News Detail

4th September 2017

Older people, and those in at-risk groups who are at higher risk of suffering complications of flu, are urged to get their vaccination early to prevent illness.

Last year there were over 1500 hospital admissions in Milton Keynes related to flu and two thirds of them were people over 65 years old.

Dr Nicola Smith GP and Chair from Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “About this time each year, the flu virus begins to circulate widely in the community so it’s important that vulnerable people are protected as soon as possible.

“Flu is an unpredictable virus that can cause mild or unpleasant illness in most people, but it can cause severe illness and even death among vulnerable groups. Every winter the NHS strongly encourages carers and people aged 65 and over to take up the offer of a free flu vaccination at their GP practice so that they are protected against the changing strains of the virus that circulate each year.

“Both formal and informal carers do a fantastic job of looking after others within the community and it is important that they are protected against flu so that they do not fall ill.”

Carers , people aged 65 and over and others who are at high risk including pregnant women, children and adults with an underlying health condition and those with a weakened immune system, ) are entitled to a free flu vaccination every year and should visit their GP practice to get it from September, which is considered the start of the ‘flu season’. The flu vaccination is also available from local pharmacies and some hospital clinics.

Muriel Scott, Director of Public Health from Public Health Milton Keynes said: “The flu vaccine is the best protection against flu and its complications. As the flu virus changes every year it is important to get an updated flu vaccine every year to give you the best protection.

“Flu is different from a cold – it can be much more serious and lead to significant complications such as bronchitis or pneumonia particularly in those aged 65 and over, pregnant women and those with other health problems. The flu vaccine cannot give you the flu, so it is better to play things safe and get vaccinated.”

Make a commitment in your diary to see the GP or community pharmacy about the free flu jab before winter to get a head start this year.  Other people may be eligible for the free flu vaccine too.

Visit the NHS choices website for more information on the flu vaccine and to see if you are eligible: www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vaccinations/Pages/flu-influenza-vaccine.aspx