Having the free flu jab could stop vulnerable people ending up in hospital, or even dying, this winter, the local NHS has warned.
Last year’s flu season saw 72 people ending up in hospital Brighton and Hove due to flu, and there were also a small number of deaths across Sussex as a result of the viral infection.
The influx of people needing medical care due to flu caused extra strain on hospitals last year and cost the NHS almost £215,000.
Local doctors believe this could have been avoided had those eligible taken up the opportunity to get their free jab.
Allison Cannon, Chief Nurse Officer for East Surrey and Sussex Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “Flu is potentially a very serious illness, and the flu vaccine is the single best way to protect yourself, and help ease pressures on your local NHS.
“Last year, around 1 in 4 of those eligible in Brighton and Hove did not claim their free flu jab. This year, residents should be vaccinated as they will be better protected from flu than ever before. We hope this improved vaccine will help ease pressures on local health services by leading to fewer avoidable GP appointments, fewer people needing hospital care and fewer deaths from flu.”
Those who could get seriously ill if they get flu and risk avoidable hospital admission can claim a free flu jab, including:
· All children aged two to ten (but not eleven years or older) on 31 August 2019, this covers nurseries, Reception through school years 1-6.
· Those aged six months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups
· Pregnant women
· Those aged 65 years and over
· Those in long-stay residential care homes
· Close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
People identified at risk of complications can receive the flu vaccine through their GP, and from their local high street pharmacist. The childhood vaccination programme uses a flu nasal spray, protecting children and anyone they come into contact with.
Download the Easyread flu guidance for people with learning difficulties.
Flu vaccination: who should have it this winter and why - further information in different languages from www.nhs.uk