19 December 2016

Thousands of people at risk from flu are being urged to take up their free vaccination as figures shown that only one in three people at risk have done so this winter.

Figures for Sheffield, which are similar to the national trend, show that only 21,000 people under 65 who are registered with a GP and have an underlying health condition had a flu vaccine up to the end of October. This is out of 62,000 ‘at risk’ people with conditions such as asthma, heart problems or diabetes.

People can get a flu vaccine from their GP practice or most pharmacies. They are free for pregnant women, children and adults with underlying health conditions, people over 65 years old and children aged two, three and four.

Greg Fell, Director of Public Health at Sheffield City Council, said: “There’s been a time lag since the latest figures came out so we know more people will have taken up the flu vaccine. However it’s really a worry that the take up has been so low amongst the most vulnerable people.

“Flu can cause a high temperature, sore throats, achiness and tiredness. But for some people it can be much more serious than this.

“It’s not too late to have your vaccine this winter – last year we had cases as late as April. Please speak to your GP or pharmacy about getting your flu vaccination.”

Dr Zak McMurray, GP and Medical Director for NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), added: “The flu jab is one of the most effective ways to reduce harm from flu, so if you’re eligible for the free vaccination, get it now; it’s free because you need it.”

For more information visit: www.nhs.uk/Flu