Pregnant women and children are amongst the groups being urged to get a free flu vaccination this autumn.

Despite more people eligible for a flu vaccine than ever before, the uptake of the vaccination across some vulnerable groups in Surrey remain lower than we would expect.

Protection from the flu vaccine may only last about six months, so even those who have been vaccinated previously are urged to have the vaccine each flu season.

It is important for women to have the vaccination at any stage of their pregnancy, as they will pass on some immunity to their baby that will protect them during the early months of their life.

Children over six months of age with medical conditions, children aged two and three years on 31 August 2019 and all primary school-aged children will be offered the free flu-vaccination this year.

Children aged two and three years will be given the vaccination at their GP practice, usually by the practice nurse. Nearly all primary school-aged children will be offered the flu vaccine in school.

As the NHS prepares for the impending pressures of the winter months, all Surrey residents are being asked to protect themselves and prevent the spread of germs and reduce the risk of transmission by maintaining good cough and hand hygiene in addition to getting the flu jab. 

Karen Thorburn, Director of Performance at Surrey Heartlands CCGs and former Health Visitor and Nurse said:Flu is something that many people underestimate or can make light of, but it’s a particularly unpleasant disease that can have serious health consequences. Getting the flu vaccination is the only way to prevent it from spreading in the community, especially to our older and more vulnerable residents.

“Anyone at increased risk from the effects of flu is offered the vaccine for free, and this includes people aged 65 and over, pregnant women, those with underlying health conditions and children aged 2-9. We’re therefore urging anyone who belongs to an ‘at risk’ group to get their free flu vaccination as soon as possible in order to protect themselves and their loved ones.

“In addition, we’re working together with partners across Surrey Heartlands to ensure residents are prepared and ready for winter in a number of ways – by planning ahead and making sure they don’t run out of vital medication should bad weather hit, checking on elderly relatives and neighbours during winter months and utilising local pharmacies and the NHS 111 service at the first signs of illness”.

For more information on the flu vaccination visit the NHS website at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/flu-influenza-vaccine/. The full list of people urged to obtain a free flu vaccination can be found here.

For advice and information about the flu vaccination, always speak to your GP, practice nurse or pharmacist.