Health experts across Bedfordshire are urging people to get the flu jab, saying the vaccine will be even more widely available.
Last year, GPs reported seeing too many patients suffering from flu symptoms.
Now, Clinical Commissioning Groups in Bedford are urging people to protect themselves and their families by having the flu jab.
The flu jab is safe, effective and for many it’s free of charge. It’s also available at flu clinics, local pharmacies, schools and at some places of work.
Adults aged 65 and over, people with long-term conditions, pregnant women, and frontline health and social care workers all have a higher risk of getting flu, so are eligible for free flu vaccinations.
People with a learning disability and those who care for them are also being encouraged to have the seasonal flu vaccine.
And for the first time, the vaccination programme is being extended to include all primary school children, who will be offered the nasal spray vaccine.
For those who do not qualify for a free flu jab, most pharmacies charge less than £10 for the jab – just drop into your nearest pharmacy to enquire.
A spokesperson added that the flu is more dangerous than they think: “Some people mistakenly believe that getting the flu is just like having a very heavy cold.
“It is actually a serious, debilitating illness that can lead to major complications, particularly if you have an underlying health condition such as lung disease, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease or liver disease.
“A severe case of flu can result in the patient needing hospital treatment and can even cause death.
“The flu vaccine is the best defence we have against flu and it will protect those people who are most vulnerable.”
Flu is a viral infection spread through coughs and sneezes, so as well as getting vaccinated it’s important to practise good hand hygiene to avoid spreading the virus.
Always catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue, throw it away and then wash your hands. Remember the advice, “catch it, bin it, kill it!”
For more information visit: www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/who-should-have-flu-vaccine/