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Health leaders across South Cumbria and North Lancashire urge eligible people to get ready for the flu vaccine

15 September 2020

Child Winter Flu Fighter.jpgIf you are eligible for the flu vaccine this year, get ready to get it. This is the advice from University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT), family doctors and health leaders.

The annual flu vaccination programme is a vital part of keeping people in our communities safe this winter. Having a flu jab doesn’t just protect you; it also protects those around you. 

This year there is likely to be a change to the way you receive your flu vaccine as health teams have to factor in social distancing and infection prevention measures to keep people safe.

Some surgeries will be offering drive through options, using local community centres or calling people for time specific appointments, rather than the traditional drop-in clinics.

Practices are now contacting eligible patients and calling them for their flu vaccine. This could be by letter, text or phone. Doctors are urging patients who usually get called for the flu jab to be ready and to be clear about how and when they will get it this year.

If you get your flu jab every year there are three key things we are urging you to do:

1 Look out for the plans from your surgery - they’ll be getting in touch to tell you when and where to go for your jab. The arrangements are likely to be different this year, this is to keep you safe.

2 Once you know when and where to go - get prepared – be sure you know where to go, any specific timings and remember your face covering and any letters you have to show.

3 Get the jab - do your bit to protect yourself and others.

Flu vaccine doctor and patient.jpgGeoff Jolliffe, Lead GP at Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This year it’s even more important than usual to have a flu jab, with the risks that we already face from coronavirus so we are asking you to have your flu jab on behalf of everyone else in your community, if you are eligible.”

As well as GP Practices, local pharmacies, school nursing teams and other health professionals will be delivering the annual vaccination programme.

Patients in ‘at risk’ groups who are eligible to receive a free flu jab include:

  • Everyone aged 65 years or over
  • Women who are pregnant
  • People aged six months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups including patients who suffer from a chronic illness, such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), kidney disease, hepatitis, Parkinsons, HIV and diabetes
  • Children aged two or three years old on 31 August 2020
  • All primary school-aged children
  • Children with a health condition that puts them at a greater risk of flu
  • People in long-stay residential care homes
  • Carers
  • All frontline health and social care workers

This year it also includes:

  • Year 7 secondary school children
  • Household members of those who may have been shielding
  • Later in the year the age range will extend to those aged 50-64

Flu vaccine pointers.jpgDr Jolliffe added: “Having your child vaccinated against flu protects your child, your family and your friends.

“There is no scary injection needed as it is done with a nasal spray and it is far less hassle than having the flu. We know that children pass around bugs and viruses really easily. Even with the COVID-19 restrictions in place this year, there will still be opportunities for our children to catch the flu.

“On top of everything else that is going on and the valuable time in school that has already been lost, avoiding further time off is more important than ever. That’s why we’re really keen to make sure as many children as possible have the vaccine this year.”

GP Practices will contact eligible patients and advise them of how they will be delivering the flu vaccine this year. There will also be information on your Practice’s website and social media channels.

 

More information

  • For more information on flu, visit the NHS website at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/flu
  • Those eligible for the free flu vaccine will be contacted by their GP Practice. Information about this year’s arrangements will be on their website and social media too.
  • Those eligible for the free flu vaccine can also have it at their local community pharmacy.