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Doctors urge people to get flu jab ahead of winter

GPs in Calderdale are urging those most vulnerable to flu to get their free vaccination ahead of the winter period when the virus is most common.

Flu is easy to catch and pass to others, and can lead to serious complications in people with long-term health conditions.

The NHS flu vaccine is given to people who:

  • are 65 and over (including those who’ll be 65 by 31 March 2021)
  • have certain health conditions
  • are pregnant
  • are in a 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’s at high risk from coronavirus (on the NHS shielded patient list)

Dr Farrukh Javid, GP at Rastrick Health Centre and Calderdale’s clinical lead for flu, wants people to be clear on why it’s important to have a flu jab:

“The flu vaccination is particularly important this year. If you’re eligible for a flu vaccination through the NHS, then it’s free because you need it.

“People most likely to be seriously affected by flu are young children and elderly people, as well as those who have chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes. You’re also more likely to become very seriously ill if you catch flu and coronavirus at the same time.

Dr Farrukh Javid, Calderdale CCG's clinical lead for flu
Dr Farrukh Javid, Calderdale CCG’s clinical lead for flu

“Having a flu jab may make you feel a little under the weather as your body builds a resistance to the virus, but it cannot give you flu. What the vaccine can give you is peace of mind that you’ve done something to protect yourself, your family, and help to reduce pressure on the NHS and social care staff who may be dealing with coronavirus over the winter months.”

To keep people safe during the coronavirus pandemic many GP practices in Calderdale are holding special flu clinics, which are only open to people who have pre-booked an appointment.

If you’re able to have a flu jab for free through the NHS, you’ll get a letter or a text message asking you to contact your practice, usually by telephone, to make an appointment. If you think you’re eligible for a free NHS flu jab but haven’t been contacted by your GP surgery, or if you’re unsure, contact your surgery.

Don’t go to your GP surgery in person to ask for an appointment. GP practices in Calderdale are only letting people into their buildings if they have been told to go by their GP.

Contact to your GP practice, a pharmacist or midwife online or over the phone for information on the flu vaccine. You can also go to www.nhs.uk for more details on the flu vaccine and how to stay well over the winter months.