GP surgeries and community pharmacies in West Lancashire have been working tirelessly to vaccinate thousands of residents as part of the biggest flu programme in UK history.
Those eligible for a free flu vaccination this year are:
- Those who are 50 and over (including those who’ll be 50 by 31 March 2021)
- people who have certain health conditions
- pregnant women
- people who are in long-stay residential care
- those who receive a carer’s allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick
- people who are on the clinically extremely vulnerable patient list and members of their household
- frontline health and social care workers
- children aged 2 – 3 years on 31 August 2020
- all primary school and year 7 children
- children ages 2 to 17 years with long-term health conditions.
If you are eligible, please do not call your practice. Your GP practice will be in touch to let you know the plans for you to get your vaccine.
If you have been invited to get the free flu vaccine and have not booked your appointment yet, it is not too late.
Dr Peter Gregory, chair of NHS West Lancashire Partnership, said: “Flu is a potentially fatal illness and one that can spread very quickly. If you are eligible for a free flu vaccine, it is important that you take up that offer.
“Please be assured that changes have been made to make sure that it is safe for you to have the flu vaccine at GP surgeries and pharmacies. These changes include social distancing, hand washing and wearing protection equipment.”
The general population is also being encouraged by West Lancashire Partnership to get Winter Ready by making small changes to their lifestyle to help protect themselves and their loved ones from many common illnesses such as coughs, colds, flu and now Coronavirus (COVID-19). These changes can be anything including moving more, eating more healthily, connecting with others, quitting smoking or drinking less alcohol. All West Lancs residents can access support from the Winter Ready team.
Dr Ros Bonsor, local GP and one of the clinical leads for the Winter Ready programme, said: “Flu should not be underestimated. It is a serious illness and can be deadly for those who are vulnerable. The flu vaccination is the best defence we have against the virus.
“Getting the flu vaccine is really important, as is maintaining a healthier lifestyle as possible. We are all guilty of snacking on too much Christmas chocolate but by making small steps such as walking every day or dropping sugar in your tea, and maintaining some consistency around your new healthier habit, you can improve your day to day health and wellbeing”.
Winter Ready provides the opportunity for residents to talk with a qualified member of staff who can offer support, ideas and inspiration on how to make small consistent changes that will make a big difference. If residents would like to find out more about ideas that might work for their own lifestyle, visit www.westlancs.gov.uk/winterready or call the team on 0800 616 667.