As winter approaches, people in "at risk" groups are being reminded to get their free flu vaccination.

Adults aged 65 and over, people with long term health conditions, children aged between 2 and 7, carers and pregnant women may all be eligible for a free flu vaccination.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people see their GP and tens of thousands are hospitalised because of flu.

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. In some cases it can be fatal.

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 before flu starts to circulate in the community.

"If anyone is unsure if 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

Anyone who is not eligible for the free vaccine can still receive it for a small charge.

Vaccines are available between October 2015 and March 2016. People should contact their GP or local pharmacy now to arrange an appointment.

  • released: Thursday 22 October, 2015