Still chance to have your free flu jab

Uttlesford District Council's offices

Uttlesford District Council's offices - Credit: Archant

PEOPLE across north Essex who are entitled to a free flu jab have been told it is still not too late to take advantage of the benefit – particularly the under-16s.

The over-65s, under-65 in certain at-risk groups and pregnant women are entitled to a free flu vaccination.

Debbie Saban, senior public health commissioning manager at NHS North Essex, said: “Though flu has been relatively low profile this winter, it could as yet still come along and be a major problem for people. I would like to stress that it is still not too late for people entitled to a free flu jab to make an appointment with their GP surgery to have one.

“We are particularly keen to target the under-16s in the at-risk group as our figures show less than one third who are entitled to a free vaccination have had one.

“Flu is not just a cold – it can be a really serious illness for some people and it doesn’t just affect older people. If you’re pregnant, have lowered immunity or a long term health condition such as severe asthma, a chest or heart complaint, or diabetes then you should also get a free flu jab from your GP and get flu safe. The flu jab is completely safe, and it can’t give you flu.”

The flu vaccine changes every year to fight the latest strains of flu, so even if you had a jab last winter you need another one this year to stay flu safe. The jab doesn’t contain the ‘live’ virus so it cannot give you the flu.

Debbie added: “Flu can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and can make existing conditions much worse. Flu can knock you off your feet and make it hard to look after the kids or go to work. In the most serious cases, seasonal flu might land you in hospital - it can even be a killer.”

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“If you’re in any of the ’at risk’ groups, the flu jab is completely free and is a safe way of protecting you and your family in a matter of minutes.”

For more information, speak to your GP or visit