Adults at high risk from flu are also most at risk from Covid-19 and the free flu vaccine is more important than ever, to help protect our community from a double threat this winter, they say.
Flu can also be a very unpleasant illness for children which can lead to serious problems, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Children can catch and spread flu easily. Vaccinating them also protects others who are vulnerable to flu, such as babies and older people. The children's nasal spray flu vaccine is safe and effective and is offered every year to children to help protect them against flu.
Dr Edward Capo-Bianco, Urgent Care Lead at Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “This year the flu vaccination is even more important because if you get flu and COVID-19 at the same time, research shows you’re more likely to be seriously ill.
“The flu is not the same as getting a cold. It can seriously affect your health and the risks of developing complications are greater for people within the ‘at-risk’ groups. Healthy people usually recover within two to seven days, but for some the disease can lead to a stay in hospital, permanent disability or even death.
“More people are likely to get flu this winter as fewer people will have built up natural immunity to it during the COVID-19 pandemic. Getting vaccinated against flu and COVID-19 will provide protection for you and those around you for both these serious illnesses.”
The flu vaccine is given free on the NHS to people who are 50 and over (including those who will be 50 by March 31, 2022), have certain health conditions, are pregnant, are in long-stay residential care, receive a carer's allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick, live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis) or are frontline health or social care workers.
Your GP will contact you if you are eligible for a free flu vaccine but you can also book an appointment through a local pharmacy. For more information on the NHS flu vaccine visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/flu-influenza-vaccine/