Vaccine and flu jabs vital for winter boost to immune system

Council News
09:14, Thursday, 14th October 2021

Getting a flu jab as well as the Covid-19 vaccine is vital to protect people and the NHS and care services over winter.

With very low rates of colds and flu in our community last year due to the pandemic restrictions, people’s immune systems may not be as strong as normal.

Ruth Twiggins, North Lincolnshire’s Public Health Consultant, said:

“Covid-19 infection rates in North Lincolnshire remain among the highest in the country and with restrictions now lifted and people mixing more, there is a real potential for this winter’s flu season to be much worse than in previous years.

“Many people have been laid low by the severe cold that is circulating at the moment. One of the reasons for this is the fact we are now exposing ourselves to viruses we have been protected from for the past 18 months.

“Catching both flu and Covid-19 at the same time greatly increases the risk of hospitalisation, but even flu alone can be a killer with around 10,000 people dying each year.”

“Research shows those infected with both viruses are more than twice as likely to die as someone with Covid-19 alone.

“The message is still clear if you want to stay healthy – wash your hands, use a mask when appropriate, open a window when meeting people or meet outside.

“Most important of all, I urge people to take up both flu and Covid-19 vaccinations if eligible in preparation for the winter – including the booster jab.”

For those who are eligible, the booster jab is now available. Find out if you are eligible by visiting the NHS website.

In England, free flu jabs are available for:
• All children aged two and three
• All primary and secondary school pupils up to and including Year 11
• Those aged six months to under 50 years in clinical risk groups
• Pregnant women
• Those aged 50 years and over
• People in residential care
• Unpaid carers
• Close contacts of people with weakened immune systems
• Health and care staff

People not included in these groups can pay for a flu jab at pharmacies or some supermarkets, at a cost of about £15.