Residents urged to take up free life-saving flu vaccinations

Residents are being urged to take advantage of free flu vaccinations to protect against the potentially dangerous virus this winter. The vaccination is available for free in Hammersmith & Fulham to young children, residents aged over 65, pregnant women, carers and those with long-term illness. For children it comes as a painless nasal spray. “For parents of young children and residents at risk of suffering from flu complications, a vaccination this winter should be a real priority. It is free and could potentially save a life,” said Cllr Vivienne Lukey, H&F Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care. It is estimated that up to 25,000 H&F residents could contract the virus this winter. Most residents are familiar with the normal unpleasant symptoms of flu, such as fever, cough, headaches and joint pains. But, for some at-risk residents, flu can lead to severe complications that may even be fatal. Despite this, uptake of the vaccine in H&F has been below average in previous years. “In Hammersmith and Fulham less than 40 per cent of those with a long-term medical condition were vaccinated by the NHS against flu last year,” said Acting Director of Public Health for H&F, Stuart Lines. “These are among the most at-risk of the serious complications of flu, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. “Equally worryingly, borough figures for uptake in children under five have been well below national targets. It is critical that as many at-risk residents as possible take up this free vaccination to protect both themselves and others who they may come into contact with.” Who should have the vaccination? Children aged from two to four and those in school years 1 and 2 People over 65 Pregnant women People with long-term medical conditions Carers Frontline health and social care staff For adults and children aged two to four years, the vaccination is available at GP surgeries, while children in school years 1 and 2 will be offered the vaccination at school. Many community pharmacies are also offering the vaccine to adults this year. The flu virus is constantly changing and so the vaccinations change each year to target the most common strains. For this reason, residents should get a new vaccination each year; from now until November is the ideal time. Some vaccines may still be available from your GP later in the flu season. Find out more about flu and some common misconceptions about the vaccination.

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