City and Hackney residents at higher risk from developing severe seasonal flu (influenza) are being urged to have a free flu vaccine this autumn, as we enter the flu season. Anyone can catch the flu, but it can be a much worse illness for people at higher risk.

You can help prevent the spread of flu (and coronavirus) by covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, washing your hands frequently or using hand gels, and throwing any used tissues in the bin as soon as possible.

Getting a flu vaccination can help to protect you from flu and avoid putting pressure on the NHS.

Speak to your GP, practice nurse or pharmacist today to book a vaccination appointment, to get the best possible protection. If you are concerned about visiting your GP or pharmacy because of coronavirus, please feel reassured that our healthcare services have all the necessary protocols in place to protect you and can answer any questions you may have. They may also be able to make alternative arrangements if you think you may struggle to get to a GP surgery or pharmacy. 

People most at risk from flu and eligible for a free flu jab from September include:

  • all adults 65 and over
  • all children aged 2 to 11 
  • people with certain medical conditions making them at risk (including children in at-risk groups from 6 months of age)
    • chronic (long-term) respiratory disease, such as severe asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchitis 
    • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure 
    • chronic kidney disease 
    • chronic liver disease 
    • chronic neurological disease, such as Parkinson’s disease or motor neurone disease
    • learning disability 
    • diabetes 
    • a weakened immune system due to disease (such as HIV/AIDS) or treatment (such as cancer treatment) 
    • morbidly obese (defined as BMI of 40 and above)
  • all pregnant women
  • people living with someone who’s at high risk from coronavirus (on the NHS shielded patient list)
  • all frontline health or social care workers
  • adults aged 50 to 64 may also be eligible later on in the season – more details to follow

If you belong to one of the groups mentioned above, it is important that you have the flu vaccination this season even if you were vaccinated last year. The flu virus frequently changes, so the vaccine is different from year to year to keep up with it. The flu vaccination does not provide protection against coronavirus.For pregnant women, the vaccine may also be available through maternity services and for frontline health and social care workers, arrangements can be made through your employer.

Children will be offered the flu vaccine through their school. It is very important that parents sign and return the flu vaccine consent form for their child. 

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