26 September 2017
Thousands of local people across Colchester and Tendring who are at a high risk of medical complications from contracting the flu virus are being offered free flu vaccination this autumn, as part of a NHS drive to minimise the virus’s impact ahead of the annual flu season.
The NHS across North East Essex is offering a free flu vaccine to at-risk groups, including those aged over 65, those under 65 who have a long-term condition and pregnant women.
Flu is a highly infectious disease and can lead to serious complications for those with long-term health conditions like bronchitis, diabetes, heart or liver disease. Catching flu on top of these can easily develop into something very serious and could get bad enough to require hospital treatment. Anyone in these groups can receive the flu vaccine for free through their GP, and from their local high street pharmacist.
Clinicians at the North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group are warning that this winter could see a very high number of flu cases and are urging local people to get vaccinated. Australia is currently in the grip of its worst flu outbreak on record and the global circulation of the virus means that episodes in the Antipodes are indicators of the likelihood of outbreaks in Europe later in the year.
Many local people in groups at-risk of getting complications if they contract flu are still not being vaccinated, leaving themselves and others at risk from the potentially fatal risk the virus poses.
Children aged two and three will be offered the vaccination at their general practice, and those in reception class and school years one, two, three and four will be offered their vaccination in school.
Colchester GP Dr Hasan Chowhan, said: “We are encouraging pregnant women and those in the ‘at risk of complications’ groups to take up the offer of the free flu vaccine. These people are at particular risk from getting very ill from the flu and vaccination is the best protection we have against this unpredictable virus.”
Dr Chowhan added: “Flu is not the same as the common cold. Symptoms tend to start much more suddenly, can be more severe, and last longer. If you are eligible for the flu vaccine please do get it now. Contact your GP, or pharmacist to get the flu jab.”
You are eligible for a free flu vaccination from your GP practice if you:
If you know someone in one of these categories please remind them of the importance of protecting their health this winter.
For more information on the symptoms of flu and treatment advice visit NHS Choices