Flu jabs now available in Bedfordshire as vaccination programme gets underway

Immunity levels may be lower this winter - meaning more people could catch flu

Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 10:53 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 10:54 am
The flu vaccination programme is now underway

The annual flu vaccination programme is now underway in Bedfordshire, with many GP practices and pharmacies offering the jab.

And Dr Ed Sivills, Medical Director for NHS Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group says it's particularly important this year as immunity levels may be lower due to Covid restrictions in place last winter.

Eligible people are being asked not to contact their GP to arrange their booster and flu jabs - the NHS will be in touch when you become eligible and invite you to book an appointment.

Those eligible, including people aged over 50, those who'll be 50 by 31 March 2022, pregnant women, frontline health care staff and school-age children, are all being offered the free vaccine in the run-up to winter.

People in long-stay residential care homes and carers are also eligible, as well as close contacts of anyone who is immunocompromised.

Clinics will be run at various practices and pharmacies over the next couple of months and will be on an appointment-only basis.

Dhanna Singh, 70, who was jabbed at Smarta Healthcare/Pharmacy in Bedford last week, said: “It’s important that I get the flu jab as I’m at higher risk of getting unwell. I have my flu jab every year to help protect me and always feel fine afterwards.”

The Covid-19 booster programme will run alongside the flu programme, and many clinics across the area will be offering both doses at the same time, where possible, to those eligible for both types of vaccination.

Dr Ed Sivills said: “It’s fantastic that the flu vaccination programme is now underway across the area. I feel fortunate to have already had my flu jab and Covid-19 booster and I have recommended that my friends and family book their vaccines as soon as possible.

“Due to the public health measures that were in place last year, there were lower levels of flu than there has been in previous years. That means our immunity levels to flu may be lower this year and more people are likely to catch it this winter.

"That’s why it’s really important that all those eligible for a flu jab come forward to help protect themselves and others from what can be a severe, and sometimes fatal, illness.

“The Covid-19 booster programme will also run alongside our flu vaccine programme and, wherever possible, those eligible will be offered the booster and flu vaccines together.

“The vaccines are there to give protection to those most vulnerable and prevent them from getting seriously ill from these viruses, and so I’d encourage anyone who has received their invite for either vaccine to please get booked in as soon as possible. If you are offered both vaccines, it's safe to have them at the same time.”