GPs in Kirklees are encouraging people to get their free NHS flu jab to help protect them from flu and its potentially serious complications.

This year it’s even more important than ever to get vaccinated as people begin mixing with others and those most vulnerable may not have built up natural immunity during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The vaccine is provided free of charge to those who are at risk. This year it’s being offered to a much wider range of people than previously.

Those eligible for a free flu vaccine include: 

  • Those aged 50 and over (including those who’ll be 50 by March 31 2022);
  • People who have certain health conditions;
  • Women who are pregnant;
  • Those in long-stay residential care;
  • People who 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;
  • People who 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.

Dr Khalid Naeem, a GP and chairman of Kirklees CCG, said: “Flu is an unpredictable, nasty and at times fatal illness which kills an average of 11,000 people and causes thousands of hospitalisations every year.

“As we begin to rebuild following the Covid-19 pandemic it is even more important to help protect ourselves and those close to us – doing so is one more way we can help to reduce the pressure on our NHS and social care services.

“While flu only causes mild illness in a lot of people, some are more likely to develop potentially serious complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia. The flu vaccine helps protect our families, friends and people we care for who may be vulnerable.”

Rachel Spencer-Henshall, director of public health for Kirklees Council, said: “The flu vaccination programme is always important. This year it’s more important than ever and we are actively encouraging people to have their flu jab.

“The programme is expanding to help protect people from flu and ease pressure on the NHS and urgent care services, and I would ask that if you are invited for vaccination you take the offer.

“With Covid still circulating, and the increased risk to life if you are ill with both viruses simultaneously, it’s vital to get the free jab as soon as you can.”

GP practices have put in place a range of measures to keep people safe when they receive their vaccination. This includes social distancing, the use of protective clothing (PPE) and time specific appointments. Wherever you get your jab, you will be expected to wear a face covering and sanitise your hands thoroughly. 

If you’re eligible for a flu jab, your GP practice will contact you to arrange an appointment. You can also have your jab at a local pharmacy free of charge if you’re in one of the at-risk groups.

Those most at risk from Covid-19 are also being invited for a booster six months after their second dose.

While it is safe to have both flu and Covid-19 jabs at the same time, it is recommended that you do not wait and book. You can find out who is eligible for a booster jab on the NHS website.