New strains of flu circulate each year, and local authorities and the NHS in Hampshire and Isle of Wight are working together in partnership to ensure as many people as possible are aware of the benefits of the jab. Commenting on behalf of the partnership, Simon Bryant, Interim Director of Public Health at Hampshire County Council, explained: "Flu can be extremely debilitating and lead to serious complications so it is vitally important for everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated to protect not only themselves but those around them. The vaccine gives good protection and lasts for one year."
A winter flu jab is considered essential protection for the over 65s, young children, pregnant women and carers, as well as those with pre-existing long-term health conditions or a weakened immune system. The virus can spread fast in families, schools, care homes or hospitals, and lead to serious complications. The vaccination is available free of charge from GPs and pharmacies for these eligible groups.
Primary school children will get the vaccine by means of a free nasal spray at school vaccination clinics and pre-school children can receive it from the family GP. Vaccinating children aged two to nine is particularly important as they spread flu easily, putting families, other adults and the wider community at risk. Severe symptoms including fever, chills, aching muscles, headache, stuffy nose, dry cough and sore throat make it one of the most incapacitating seasonal illnesses.
The flu jab is free-of-charge to at risk groups but if you are not eligible, you can still consider getting the vaccination at a pharmacy for a charge.