A COVENTRY doctor is urging eligible residents to get their free flu jab in time to protect them from illness this winter.
As summer comes to a close, Dr Simon Stockley, national clinical lead for Primary Care at Virgin Care, which runs several practices in the city, is encouraging local people eligible for the free NHS jab to take up the offer to reduce the risk of them falling ill.
Every year people suffering from flu add to the huge pressures facing the NHS over the winter months, so he argues it is vital that people at risk of contracting the illness get vaccinated at their local GP surgery.
Dr Stockley said: “A flu vaccine is the best protection against Flu – an unpredictable virus which can cause unpleasant illness in children and severe illness and death among at-risk groups, including older people, pregnant women and those with an underlying medical health condition.
“Flu is not simply a bad cold. It can make some existing conditions worse and can lead to other conditions such as bronchitis and pneumonia.
“Last year alone 100 people tragically died of flu, which is why we believe it is important to get it done as early as possible.”
The free vaccination programme is open from now until early November.
While some community pharmacies now offer flu vaccination, it can cost up to £13 and is subject to availability.
Visit www.nhs.uk for for more information.
Who is eligible for the free NHS flu vaccination?
* Children aged two to seven on 31 August 2016
* Primary school-aged in former government primary school pilot areas
* Age six months to under 65 years with in clinical risk groups with serious medical conditions, such as and including asthma, diabetes, heart failure, neurological diseases, and those with a weakened immune system
* Pregnant women
* Aged 65 years and older
* Long-stay residential care home residents