It’s not too late to vaccinate as thousands remain at risk from flu in Sandwell and West Birmingham

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Thousands of vulnerable patients in Sandwell and West Birmingham still remain unprotected from the deadly flu virus according to the latest figures from Public Health England. NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is calling for more patients who are entitled to the free flu jab to come forward as it’s still not too late to get the flu jab.

The latest figures for Sandwell and West Birmingham show:

  • Only 57 per cent of patients aged over 65 have had their flu vaccination, leaving over 30,000 people who have not had their annual flu jab vulnerable and at risk of flu.
  • Over 4,500 pregnant women have not had the vaccination and
  • Over 46,000 people aged six months to 64 years with long-term illnesses such as diabetes and asthma, remain at risk.

The flu vaccine reduces risk of serious illness, hospitalisation and even death among those who are most at risk.

This winter season a more effective vaccine is for the first time available in the UK for those aged 65 and over. It has the potential to reduce GP consultations, hospitalisations and prevent deaths from flu in England, alleviating some of the health burden that seasonal flu places on the population, workplaces and the NHS.

Dr Nick Harding, Chair of NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG, said:

“Having the flu jab is one of the most important actions patients can take to protect their health. Yet thousands of patients in Sandwell and West Birmingham have put themselves at risk. It’s still not too late to have the flu jab and we are urging everyone who is eligible and unprotected to book an appointment today.

“Flu is serious and is different to the common cold. As with all vaccines, uptake needs to be high to ensure that those most at risk in the community are protected, as flu is a virus that can quickly spread.

“Understandably some people may be anxious about the flu jab. However, the vaccine contains no live virus and although it may cause a mild reaction, it is not possible to catch flu from the jab.”

Help and information on flu, the flu vaccine, symptoms and how to treat flu is available on NHS Choices, by contacting your local pharmacist or by calling NHS 111.