With flu cases on the rise, people in "at risk" groups are being reminded that they can still get a free flu vaccination.

While symptoms of flu are generally unpleasant, it can lead to more serious complications like middle ear infections in children and pneumonia or bronchitis for those with underlying health conditions. Every year, tens of thousands of people are hospitalised because of flu, and in some cases it can be fatal.

Adults aged 65 and over, people with long term health conditions, children aged between 2 and 7, carers and pregnant women are eligible for the free vaccination, while anyone who isn't can still receive it for a small charge from pharmacies and some supermarkets.

Councillor Sandra Samuels, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Flu is a highly contagious illness that spreads rapidly through the population.

"It can cause serious complications for at risk groups, such as children, the elderly, expectant mothers and people with long term health conditions, so I'd urge anyone eligible for the free flu vaccination to get it now. If anyone is unsure whether they are eligible, they should speak to their GP or pharmacist to check."

Flu vaccinations are currently offered free of charge to the following 'at risk' groups:

  • those aged 65 years and over
  • those aged 6 months to under 65 with a serious medical condition, such as a chronic respiratory disease, chronic heart disease, chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, chronic neurological disease, diabetes, splenic dysfunction or a weakened immune system
  • pregnant women
  • all 2, 3 and 4 year olds (on 31 August, 2015)
  • all children in school years 1 and 2
  • those in long stay residential care homes
  • carers

Vaccines are available until March and people should contact their GP or local pharmacy to arrange an appointment.

For more information about staying well this winter, please visit Type=links;Linkid=6641;Title=Stay Well This Winter;Target=_blank;.

  • released: Friday 22 January, 2016