Flu occurs every year, usually during the winter months and is highly infectious even amongst those without symptoms. It can take between two and seven days for fit and healthy people to recover from flu and can mean days off work and in bed and for some can lead to complications and hospital admission.
Flu vaccination is important because:
- 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 as we have socially distanced from each other
- if you get flu and COVID-19 at the same time, research shows you're more likely to be seriously ill
- getting vaccinated against flu and COVID-19 will provide protection for you and those around you for both these serious illnesses
If you've had COVID-19, it's safe to have the flu vaccine. It will still be effective at helping to prevent flu.
The flu vaccine is given free on the NHS to people who:
- are 50 and over (including those who'll be 50 by 31 March 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, this includes young carers aged 5-16
- 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)
- frontline health or social care workers
So if you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person, who may be put at risk if you became ill, you are eligible for a free flu jab, according to government policy. You are also eligible if you're receiving Carer's Allowance.
Carers uptake in the South Tees area
Last year 44.7% of adult carers across the South Tees (of those known to services) had their vaccine which is almost a 10% increase on the previous year but still not enough. Young carers aged 5-16 years are also eligible for a flu vaccination, 46.8% of the 171 identified as eligible had their vaccination last year.
Where can I get my vaccination?
If the above applies to you, you can request a free flu vaccination from your GP surgery or local pharmacy.