People aged over 65 are being urged to protect themselves against flu this winter with a free vaccination.
NHS Coventry and Rugby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is reminding pensioners that a vaccination is the best possible protection against the flu virus during the autumn and winter months.
Even if you’ve had the vaccination before it’s important to get it again because the type of virus in circulation changes every year and so the vaccine changes too.
In winter 2013/14, more than 900 people nationwide were admitted to hospital with confirmed cases of flu and 10 per cent of all patients admitted died as a result of the flu virus.
Over 65s are one of a number of groups that qualify for a free vaccination. Others include pregnant women, carers, people who have certain medical conditions such as diabetes or those who are living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility.
Dr Adrian Canale-Parola, Chair of NHS Coventry and Rugby CCG which plans and pays for NHS-funded healthcare in the two areas, urged everyone eligible to take advantage of the free flu vaccination.
He said: “Flu is a really unpleasant illness, particularly for those over 65. You are more likely to become seriously ill and have complications like pneumonia or make an existing condition worse if you catch it. This may result in an unwanted hospital stay and can even be fatal.
“Flu tends to circulate between September and March so I would urge anyone who is offered a free flu vaccination to visit their GP or pharmacy now. It’s quick, safe and free if you’re over 65.”
Dr Canale-Parola added: “Contrary to popular myth it can’t give you flu because it has no live vaccine.”
Look out for a letter from your GP telling you about the dates and times of their flu clinics. For the first time this year some pharmacies are offering the flu jab free too. You will have to check with your local pharmacy but it’s another way of getting yourself protected.
If you care for someone over 65 it’s advisable to get vaccinated too, so that you can protect yourself and the person you care for.
For more information about who is eligible and how to get your flu jab, visit www.coventry.gov.uk/flujab or www.warwickshire.gov.uk/flu