MORE than 11,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been given out at Warrington – but it is also still important for local people to get their free flu vaccine.
It is especially true for people in high risk groups, such as the elderly and those with underlying medical condtions.
This year, the flu vaccination programme has been expanded to help protect people from the virus and ease pressure on the NHS and urgent care services. Warrington residents aged 50 to 64 are now eligible to receive a free flu vaccine as a high risk group to help keep them healthy this flu season.
The flu vaccine is given to:
• everyone aged 65 and over
• everyone under 65 years of age who has a long-term health condition, including children and babies over six months of age
• all pregnant women, at any stage of pregnancy
• children aged two and three (provided they were aged two or three on 31 August of the current flu season)
• all children in primary school
• Year 7 secondary school pupils
• everyone living in a residential or nursing home
• People who care for an older or disabled person
• household contacts of anyone on the NHS Shielded Patient List
Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, the borough council’s cabinet member for public health and wellbeing said: “It is more important than ever that Warrington residents who are at high risk of flu take advantage of the free flu jab to protect themselves this winter.
“This year the programme has been expanded to ensure as many people as possible are protected from the harmful effects of flu. We especially encourage residents over the age of 50 to take advantage of the free flu vaccine.”
Dr Andrew Davies, clinical chief officer for NHS Warrington Clinical Commissioning Group said: “The free flu vaccine is the very best protection for you from the harms of flu. Flu can develop into a serious illness that requires hospitalisation, which also adds to the current pressures we are experiencing in the NHS and social care due to coronavirus.
“If you are aged 50 to 64 and have not yet had your flu vaccine, please take up the offer as soon as possible by contacting your local pharmacy or GP practice.”
GP practices in Warrington are now set up to deliver the coronavirus vaccination in line with the national priority list, starting with those most at risk first. People who are eligible will be contacted in the coming weeks and it is recommended that there should be a gap of at least a week between getting the flu vaccine and COVID vaccine.
Warrington’s Director of Public Health, Thara Raj, said: “Our rates of coronavirus are still high in Warrington. You don’t want to run the risk of becoming ill with both flu and coronavirus, so please take up the offer of the flu vaccine if you’re eligible.”You can receive your free flu jab at most community pharmacies or your GP practice. Find out more about the flu vaccine on the NHS website at nhs.uk/fluvaccine