A Nottingham GP has shared an important message to those aged 50-64 years old as flu season gets underway.
Earlier this year, the 50-64 age group was added to those eligible for a free flu vaccine however, this age group is being asked to wait to have a flu jab until later this year. This is to make sure that those who are most at risk are vaccinated first.
Dr Stephen Shortt, GP at East Leake Medical Group and Joint Clinical Leader at the NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire CCG, explained why this was the case.
He said: “With winter approaching and the additional pressure of having the flu virus and coronavirus co-circulating this year, we understand that many patients are keen to book in for their flu vaccines.
“Our priority first and foremost is to ensure that those who are the highest risk from flu are vaccinated first and this is already underway. Once we have vaccinated those most at risk, we can then look to vaccinate further patients later in the year, providing there are sufficient vaccines available.
“We understand that that some people will feel anxious about not being able to get a vaccine as soon as they would have hoped to but we would encourage the public to be patient and when those most vulnerable have been vaccinated we will be able to start vaccinating the 50-64 cohort.”
As a result, people in the 50 to 64 year old age group will not be vaccinated until November and December, providing there are sufficient vaccines, and no appointments will be offered for this age group until then.
If you are 50 to 64 and you are in one of the other groups which is eligible for the flu vaccination, for example you have a health condition which puts you at risk from flu, you will be invited earlier.
Flu can cause severe illness and even death among vulnerable groups, as well as complications like bronchitis and pneumonia, so it is particularly important to have the flu vaccine. The vaccine is available free of charge on the NHS, if you:
- Are 65 years or over
- Are pregnant
- Have certain medical conditions
- Are living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay facility
- Receive a carer’s allowance, or you are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill
- Live with someone who’s at risk of coronavirus (on the NHS shielded patient list) or you expect to be with them on most days over winter