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Get the flu jab    

Each winter hundreds of thousands of people see their GP and tens of thousands are hospitalised because of flu. People who are most at risk of developing serious illnesses by catching flu are being encouraged to get a free flu vaccine as the colder winter months approach.

Anyone who falls within an 'at risk' group is eligible for a free flu jab, Richmond Council's Public Health Team in partnership with Richmond's Clinical Commissioning Group is reminding residents. All you need to do is book an appointment at your local GP and selected pharmacies. ​

Those considered to be at greatest risk from flu include people aged 65 or over, children aged 2-4 years, pregnant women, and those (including children up to 18 years) with long-term health conditions particularly chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease, or those with a weakened immune system.

Since 2013, children aged two three and four years are provided with nasal spray flu vaccine instead of the injectable as part of the NHS childhood vaccination programme. This nasal spray flu vaccine for children is given as a single dose of nasal spray squirted up each nostril and it is a quick, effective and painless way to protect children from flu. This is also available at GP surgeries and selected pharmacies.  

Dr Graham Lewis, local GP and chair of Richmond Clinical Commissioning Group, said:

"Flu can be a really serious illness for some people, if you're pregnant, have lowered immunity or a long term health condition such as severe asthma,a chest or heart complaint, or diabetes, then make an appointment with your GP for a flu jab.   
Flu can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and can make existing conditions much worse. If you are at risk you may also be eligible for a free pneumonia vaccine, offering protection for up to 10 years. It can be given safely at the same time as your flu jab. If you're in any of the 'at risk' groups, the flu jab is completely free and is a safe way of protecting you and your family in a matter of minutes."

Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Health, Cllr David Marlow, added:

"Flu can be very unpleasant and in some cases lead to more serious illnesses such as bronchitis, pneumonia and middle ear infection for which they may need hospital treatment. People who are most at risk from developing more serious illnesses by catching flu should get themselves vaccinated at their local GP surgery and selected pharmacies today."

To find out more information about the flu vaccine visit http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vaccinations/Pages/flu-influenza-vaccine.aspx