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Public Health England and NHS England urge eligible people to take up free flu vaccine

  • Primary school vaccination programme
  • Parents of two and three-year olds are urged to protect their children against flu, which can be a serious and fatal illness
  • Those aged 65 and over, children and adults with underlying medical conditions and pregnant women are also urged to get their free vaccine in the next few weeks, before flu begins to circulate widely

The primary schools-based flu vaccination programme is underway. GPs have now been advised to call in all eligible children for vaccination by early December.

Dr Hamid Mahgoub, Consultant in Health Protection and Flu Lead at PHE East of England, said: “The flu vaccine is the best defence we have against what can be a serious and fatal illness, and flu season is just around the corner. If you are in an eligible group, visit your GP or pharmacist as soon possible to ensure you are protected.”

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England national medical director, said: “Flu can be extremely serious and even kill in some cases and getting vaccinated is the best protection against it. “NHS services across England continue to work hard to prepare for the winter season, including staff getting their free flu jab, and now we’re appealing to the public to ‘Help Us, Help You’ by ensuring that they and their eligible children or relatives get vaccinated, now.”

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “Influenza can be a very unpleasant illness, and while it is not generally a serious illness for most people, for those in at-risk groups, such as young children, elderly people, those with long-term conditions and pregnant women, flu has the potential to trigger life-threatening complications. “The best defence against the flu is to be vaccinated and we strongly urge all patients in at-risk groups to get vaccinated and for parents to ensure their young children receive their vaccine as soon as possible.”

Public Health England is working closely with NHS England and Improvement and the Department of Health and Social Care to ensure that all eligible children receive their flu vaccination as soon as possible. 

The adult flu programme is continuing and PHE is reminding all those aged 65 and over, pregnant women and all children and adults with underlying medical conditions to visit their GP or pharmacist to get their flu vaccine.

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