Heatwave causes trouble for those with lung disease. Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Many people living in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes will soon be hearing from their GP practice inviting them to have a free flu jab. Invitations are being sent to those who are considered to be most at risk from serious complications of catching the flu.

This includes people with long-term health conditions, anyone over 65 years of age, pregnant women and carers (paid or unpaid) looking after someone who has a long-term illness or disability and whose health would be at risk if they fell ill with flu.

Dr Sanhita Chakrabarti, clinical lead and lead for the Flu Programme for Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Groups, said:

“Coronavirus has shown us how some people are more vulnerable to becoming gravely ill if they contract the virus. The flu is also a highly contagious virus that can have serious health implications.

“But while we wait for a vaccine for COVID-19, those in a high risk group can protect themselves from the worst effects of the flu by simply taking up their GP’s offer of a free flu vaccination.”

This year the NHS flu vaccination programme will include all school children up to year seven and, subject to availability, people aged 50 to 64, who don’t normally have a flu jab, may also be offered one from November.

However, flu vaccines will first go to those most at risk. Dr Chakrabarti said:

“The flu vaccine is safe and effective. It will prevent serious health complications associated with the flu and can save lives. Anyone who is invited by their GP to have the free flu jab should not think twice about having it.”

To maintain social distancing, flu clinics will be operating differently this year to ensure patients and staff are kept safe.

GP practices will notify patients how they will be delivering flu clinics before their appointment. Clinics will continue to take into account any changes in line with local and national guidance.

Please visit Seasonal Flu for more information on the importance of the flu vaccine and who is eligible for a free flu vaccination.