People aged over 65 are being urged to book their flu jab and enjoy the benefits of a flu-free winter.
There are no shortages and everyone who requires one can get one, with patients urged to ignore misleading reports that say otherwise.
This year an enhanced vaccine that gives extra support to help older immune systems develop a stronger defence against flu is being used in the UK for the first time.
Because it is new there was always planned to be a phased delivery.
Dr Mo Huda, a Staffordshire GP and CCG Chair said: “This year the country should be better protected against flu than it has ever been, but only if people get vaccinated.
"Getting the flu vaccine is the single best way to protect yourself against this potentially fatal illness. This year around 24 million people are being offered the vaccination, with patients aged over 65 being offered a vaccine that is especially effective for their age group.
“Our message is quite clear. We need to vaccinate as many people as possible as soon as possible. Flu brings risks of serious medical complications, especially for vulnerable patients, and getting people vaccinated will help many unnecessary hospital admissions and deaths.”
The vaccine for over-65s is called adjuvanted trivalent flu vaccine (aTIV), also known as Fluad. Tests have shown that this is highly effective for this age group.
Other vulnerable groups of patients who should get vaccinated are:
- Patients with a long-term condition (LTC) such as COPD or Diabetes – there are many more and if you are not sure whether this means you, then please check with your GP practice
- Children aged 2 and 3 and in reception class and school years 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 – they will be immunised using a nasal spray
- Children with certain health conditions from 6 months upwards
- Pregnant women
- Carers, so they can’t pass on illness to the people they care for
Dr Huda talks about why it is so important for people aged over 65 to get vaccinated: