Flu season is coming and the NHS flu vaccination campaign has begun. The NHS are encouraging those who are eligible for the free NHS jab to be vaccinated.
While flu can normally be treated with rest and fluids, it can cause severe illness and even death among at-risk groups. These groups include: older people, pregnant women, and those with long-term health conditions. Flu can make complications such as pneumonia more likely as well as exacerbating existing conditions. Every year flu evolves into different strains making it vital for those who are eligible to have the vaccine each year.
Last year seasonal flu put significant strain on the NHS, the number of GP appointments and 111 calls relating to flu was double that of the previous year, and 1 in 8 A&E consultations were for acute respiratory infection. By having the flu jab, those in the at-risk groups can help ease the pressure put on the NHS while lowering their risk of catching the virus.
There are around 22 million people eligible this year, including social care workers and hospice staff. People who are 65 and over will have access to a new vaccine this year which is designed to not only vaccinate against flu but to also boost the body’s immune response. This boost will improve the vaccine’s effectiveness in the older age group.
The first wave of vaccines has already been supplied to GPs and pharmacists with more arriving over the coming weeks ahead of the flu season. There are sufficient vaccine stocks to meet the anticipated demand for all eligible groups, however, if your local GP or pharmacist does not have stock the day you go in for vaccination, they will inform you of nearby, convenient alternative providers, or give you another date to return for your jab.