Boost your immunity this winter and get vaccinated against flu

Boost your immunity this winter and get vaccinated against flu

The annual flu vaccination campaign in Oxfordshire is underway and people are being urged to get their vaccination against the virus.

Adults at high risk from flu are also most at risk from COVID-19 and the free flu vaccine is more important than ever, to help protect our community from a double threat this winter.

Flu can also be a very unpleasant illness for children which can lead to serious problems, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Children can catch and spread flu easily. Vaccinating them also protects others who are vulnerable to flu, such as babies and older people. The children’s nasal spray flu vaccine is safe and effective and is offered every year to children to help protect them against flu.

Dr Edward Capo-Bianco, Urgent Care Lead at Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “This year the flu vaccination is even more important because if you get flu and COVID-19 at the same time, research shows you’re more likely to be seriously ill.

“The flu is not the same as getting a cold. It can seriously affect your health and the risks of developing complications are greater for people within the ‘at-risk’ groups. Healthy people usually recover within two to seven days, but for some the disease can lead to a stay in hospital, permanent disability or even death.

“More people are likely to get flu this winter as fewer people will have built up natural immunity to it during the COVID-19 pandemic. Getting vaccinated against flu and COVID-19 will provide protection for you and those around you for both these serious illnesses.”

The Oxfordshire School-aged Immunisation Team from Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust is offering the flu vaccine to more than 100,000 primary and secondary school pupils in Oxfordshire.

Fiona Singleton, Manager of the Oxfordshire School-aged Immunisation Team, said: “The flu vaccine provides the best protection against the virus and we are pleased that it has been extended to include all school aged children.

“Children can catch and spread flu easily. Vaccinating not only protects them but also those around them including those who are vulnerable. This is even more important now with Covid still present.”

The flu vaccine is given free on the NHS to people who:

  • are 50 and over (including those who will be 50 by 31 March 2022)
  • have certain health conditions
  • are pregnant
  • are in long-stay residential care
  • 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
  • live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)
  • frontline health or social care workers

You’re GP will contact you if you are eligible for a free flu vaccine but you can also book an appointment through a local pharmacy. Visit the NHS website for more information on the NHS flu vaccine.

The flu vaccine is offered free on the NHS to anyone with a serious long-term health condition, including:

  • respiratory conditions, such as asthma (needing steroid inhaler or tablets), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema and bronchitis
  • diabetes
  • heart conditions, such as coronary heart disease or heart failure
  • being very overweight – a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above
  • chronic kidney disease
  • liver disease, such as hepatitis
  • neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), or cerebral palsy
  • a learning disability
  • problems with your spleen, for example, sickle cell disease, or if you have had your spleen removed
  • a weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or taking medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
  • Talk to your doctor if you have a long-term condition that is not in one of these groups. They should offer you the flu vaccine if they think you’re at risk of serious problems if you get flu.

Children eligible for the flu vaccine 2021:

  • children aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2021 – born between 1 September 2017 and 31 August 2019
  • all primary school children (reception to year 6)
  • all year 7 to year 11 children in secondary school
  • children aged 2 to 17 years with long-term health conditions
  • If your child is aged between 6 months and 2 years and has a long-term health condition that makes them at higher risk from flu, they’ll be offered a flu vaccine injection instead of the nasal spray. This is because the nasal spray is not licensed for children under 2 years.

Published: 1 December 2021