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​​Old​er people, those with long-term health conditions, pregnant women and young children urged to get flu jab now


As the winter approaches, NHS Richmond Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Public Health Richmond are urging people at risk of flu and pneumonia to get vaccinated this winter.

Ahead of the national winter campaign, recently launched by NHS England and Public Health England, people who are eligible are being encouraged to take up the free flu jab this winter.

People with serious health conditions, adults aged 65 or over, pregnant women, some carers and healthy children aged between 2 and 4, plus children in primary school years one and two, all qualify for the free vaccination from the NHS. For most children the vaccine will be given as a spray in each nostril. This is a very quick, effective and painless procedure. 

Flu is a highly contagious infection with symptoms that can come on very quickly. In most cases, the symptoms are mild, but in others they can be very serious. Flu can make the effects of existing conditions much worse and make complications like pneumonia more likely.

Dr Graham Lewis, local GP and Chair of Richmond CCG, said: "Flu is not like a cold – it can be a really serious illness for some people and it doesn't just affect older people. If you're pregnant, have lowered immunity or a long-term health condition then you should also get a free flu jab from your GP or community pharmacist. The flu jab is safe, and it won't give you any flu symptoms."

Dr Dagmar Zeuner, Director of Public Health, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, said: "Certain groups are at a higher risk of flu developing into more serious illnesses such as bronchitis, pneumonia and middle ear infection for which they may require hospital treatment. We strongly encourage those who are eligible to get a free vaccine at their local GP surgery or selected pharmacies to help protect themselves this flu season."

The best time to be vaccinated is at the start of the flu season from October to early November, so it's good to get in early before winter starts. It's quick, safe and free for those most at risk from the virus. For more information, speak to your GP or community pharmacist, or visit www.nhs.uk/flu

For media enquiries please contact Amy Burns, communications officer, 020 8734 3016 or email amy.burns@richmond.gov.uk