Bedford Borough Council is urging its residents aged 65 and over to take up their free NHS flu vaccination before winter sets in.
The last batches of the vaccine were delivered to GPs and pharmacies across the country this week ahead of the flu season, which usually starts in December.
8,524 older people across Bedford Borough didn’t take up their jab last year, despite being most vulnerable to flu’s effects. Many of those will have caught the virus and needed NHS treatment as a result.
Cllr Louise Jackson said: “If you’re 65 and over, the single most important thing you can do to stay well this winter is to take up your free NHS flu jab.
“GPs and pharmacies in Bedford Borough should now have enough stock to ensure that everyone eligible can be vaccinated before the start of the flu season, so if you haven’t had chance yet or stocks had run low when you tried earlier in the Autumn, now is the time to go get protected.”
While flu is a common ailment and many people can get over it with rest and fluids, for some people in high-risk groups, such as the elderly and those with long-term conditions, it can lead to serious and potentially life-threatening complications, such as pneumonia or bronchitis.
Health chiefs believe that the new vaccine could reduce GP consultations due to flu by 30,000, hospitalisations by over 2,000 and prevent over 700 hospital deaths in England, alleviating some of the health burden that seasonal flu places on the population, workplaces and the NHS.
To find out if you’re one of the 22million people who are eligible for vaccination head to www.nhs.uk/staywell