Free flu jab offered to those at risk complications from virus

Thousands of local people 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 in Brighton and Hove is offering a free flu vaccine to these at-risk groups, including those aged over 65, those under 65 but 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.  

However, 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. Last year, the take up of the vaccine was lower than the national average, with just 37% of pregnant women and only 22% of children under 4 years old receiving the free flu vaccine they were entitled to.

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. 

Dr Katie Stead, GP and Clinical Lead for Public Health for Brighton and Hove CCG, 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.If you are eligible for the flu vaccine get it now – it’s free because you need it. Contact your GP, pharmacist to get the flu jab.”

For more information on the symptoms of flu and treatment advice visit NHS Choices