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​Get the jab, get flu safe in Wandsworth

As winter approaches, it's now time for those at greatest risk from flu to protect themselves and their families, and get flu safe with a free flu jab.

 Flu is a highly contagious infection that anyone can catch, and it can be a serious illness for some. 

Those at greater risk from a bout of flu include people aged 65 or over, pregnant women, and those with health conditions such as severe asthma, chest or heart complaints and diabetes. Flu can be a mo​re serious illness in these people.

This year, the annual nasal spray flu vaccine will also be available for all children aged two, three and four years old as part of the NHS childhood vaccination programme.   The nasal spray flu vaccine is also for children aged two to 18 who are at risk from flu, such as children with long-term health conditions. 

The NHS in Wandsworth is launching the new Flu Safe campaign this week to remind people that they should make an appointment at their GP surgery and get a flu jab.

Local GP and chair of NHS Wandsworth Clinical Commissioning Group Dr Nicola Jones said,

"Flu is not like a cold – it can be a serious illness for some people who are older or who have other conditions. Flu can be also be unpleasant for children, with some developing a high fever or complications of flu such as bronchitis, pneumonia and middle ear infection for which they may need hospital treatment.

"If you are pregnant, have lowered immunity or a long term health condition such as severe asthma, a chest or heart complaint, or diabetes, then you should also get a free flu jab from your GP and get flu safe.  The flu jab is safe and it can't give you flu."

NHS Wandsworth CCG is encouraging everyone in the borough who knows anyone who may be at risk from flu to tell them how important it is that they get protected.

People who are carers and frontline health and social care staff are also encouraged to get a free jab to protect themselves and those around them.

The flu vaccine changes every year to fight the latest strains of flu, so even if you had a jab last winter you need another one this year to stay flu safe.  The jab doesn't contain the 'live' virus so it cannot give you the flu.

Dr Jones added, "Flu can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and can make existing conditions much worse. If you are at risk you may also be eligible for a free pneumonia vaccine, offering protection for up to 10 years. It can be given safely at the same time as your flu jab.

"If you're in any of the 'at risk' groups, the flu jab is completely free and is a safe way of protecting you and your family in a matter of minutes."

The best time to be vaccinated is at the start of the flu season from the beginning of October to early November, so it's good to get in early and get flu safe in time for the winter.

 Simply contact your GP surgery to arrange a convenient appointment or find out when the walk-in vaccination sessions are being held -  and get your jab. It's quick, safe and free for those most at risk from the virus.

Parents of children eligible for the nasal vaccine will be contacted automatically by their GP practice or school when the programme starts.​