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Protect yourself, your family and those you care for

People at risk of flu in Dorset are being called onto protect themselves, their families and those they care for against it this Winter.

The local NHS and Public Health Dorset have joined forces to make the appeal that the flu vaccine is the best protection for you and those around you. It’s available for free to those most at risk. Ask your GP or pharmacist today.

Every year a free flu vaccination is offered to millions of people across the country who are considered to be most at risk from the disease.

This year it is being offered to over 375,000 people in Dorset with the message that is more important than ever to get yourself protected and reduce the spread; not just to protect yourself and those around you, but to reduce pressure on local services.

Dr Karen Kirkham “Over the summer months we have all got used to messages about reducing the spread of COVID-19 and the message around flu is really no different – protect yourself, help stop the spread and you could be saving lives.

If you are offered a flu vaccination for whatever reason this year, please accept it.

If you aren’t doing it for yourself do it for those around you. You may consider yourself in good health and may not normally get symptoms, but this does not reduce your risk of getting flu or passing it on. Along with helping people not get flu you will be helping reduce pressure on the NHS, enabling there to be more availability should there be a second wave of COVID-19.”

This year the flu vaccine is being offered free on the NHS to:

• adults 65 and over

• people with certain medical conditions (including children in at-risk groups from 6 months of age)

• pregnant women

• people living with someone who’s at high risk from coronavirus (on the NHS shielded patient list)

• children aged 2 and 3 on 31 August 2020

• children in primary school

• children in year 7 (secondary school)

• frontline health or social care workers

If you are aged 50-64 and not in one of the at risk categories, you will be made aware in the coming months if you will be able to attend for vaccination, if the programme is extended this is likely to be November or December.

However, if you’re aged 50 to 64 and in an at-risk group, you should not delay having your flu vaccine.

Rachel Partridge, Assistant Director of Public Health Dorset said: “Certain groups of residents are offered a free flu jab each year due to being at increased risk of becoming seriously ill if they catch flu. If you identify as one of the priority groups, then please speak with your GP or pharmacist about getting your free vaccine.

Around 11,000 people a year die from flu and thousands more are hospitalised. Flu is very serious. The best way to keep yourself and the ones you love protected from getting flu is by getting a flu vaccine.”

If you aren’t eligible for a free flu jab you are able to pay for one at your local pharmacist.

For more information, visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/flu/

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