People are being encouraged to get vaccinated against the flu this winter.

Flu is a highly infectious disease and can lead to serious complications for people who have long term health conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchitis, emphysema, diabetes, heart, kidney or liver disease or who have suffered a stroke.

People with these and other long term health conditions are eligible for a free flu vaccination through their GP or pharmacist.

The over 65s, carers and those in long stay residential care homes, pregnant women, children aged 2 and 3 as well as school children from Reception through to Year 4 are also eligible for the free flu vaccine, with children receiving their vaccination through a quick nasal spray rather than an injection.

People who are not eligible for a free vaccination are reminded that they can get their vaccination at retailers including high street pharmacies for a small charge.

Councillor Paul Sweet, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "It is estimated that several million people get flu each winter and it can be dangerous for those with long term health conditions, with many needing hospital treatment.

"It is therefore vitally important that anyone who is deemed to be at risk takes this opportunity and gets their free vaccination.

"Flu can be particularly horrible for small children who can develop a very high fever or complications of flu, such as bronchitis or pneumonia. The flu vaccine can help protect your child from flu and reduce the chance of flu spreading to friends and family.

"The flu jab is also the best way to protect pregnant mothers and their unborn babies, and you can have it at any stage of pregnancy, however fit and healthy you might feel.

"I would also encourage people who are in contact with or work with vulnerable people to consider getting themselves vaccinated to protect themselves and the people they care for.

"The message is clear; if you are eligible for the flu vaccine, please get it now - it's free because you need it. Even if you are not eligible for the free vaccination, you can still arrange to get it for a small charge at a high street pharmacy."

Providing flu vaccinations is part of the Stay Well This Winter campaign, a joint initiative from NHS England and Public Health England to help the public ward off common winter illnesses. Please visit Type=links;Linkid=6641;Title=Stay Well This Winter;Target=_blank; for more information.

  • released: Monday 9 October, 2017