Hampshire County Council is encouraging those who are most at risk from catching flu to take up their vaccination this autumn

Councillor Patricia Stallard, Executive Member for Public Health, explains: “The flu immunisation remains the most effective method to help protect against influenza.

For most healthy people, flu is an unpleasant but short-lived illness.

However, people who catch flu pass it on to an average of two people – putting our most vulnerable people at an increased risk of serious illness.

It is important that these vulnerable groups are protected, and I would encourage those who are eligible, to take up the free flu vaccine.”

The NHS offers the flu vaccine free of charge to those individuals most at risk from catching flu and developing serious complications.

This includes anyone who is the main carer for an elderly or disabled person at home, pregnant women, the over 65’s and others, both adults and children, with certain existing health conditions such as diabetes and asthma.

Flu can be horrible for little children and if they get it, they can spread it around the whole family.

This year we are keen to let parents of children aged 2 – 3 know their child can get the flu jab.

The flu vaccine for children is not an injection – just a quick nasal spray, which helps protect them from flu and also reduces them spreading it to others.

Ask your GP about the free flu vaccine for your child now.

Children aged 4 – 8 are also eligible for the flu vaccination.

More information about when and how your child will be vaccinated can be found on the NHS Children’s Flu Vaccine web pages.

Hampshire County Council is also once again providing free flu vaccines to its frontline health and social care staff who work with elderly or vulnerable groups.

This helps those in the county’s communities who are most at risk, to stay well this winter, as well as the staff who support them.

The flu vaccine is reviewed annually to match the main flu viruses expected.

There is generally a good match between the vaccine and the flu virus circulating – making it very effective form of protection.

Who is eligible for the flu vaccine?

You are eligible to receive a free flu jab if you:

• are 65 years of age or over
• are pregnant
• have certain medical conditions – adults and children
• are very overweight
• are living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care 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
• are a healthcare worker with direct patient contact, or a social care worker

For more information about what to do if you think you have flu visit NHS Choices