Health view: It’s vital the vulnerable have flu jab

Dr Jagan John urges residents who are eligible to get their free flu jab.

Dr Jagan John urges residents who are eligible to get their free flu jab. - Credit: Mark Sepple

In an average year, flu kills 11,000 people and hospitalises tens of thousands more. It is clear that this is anything but a normal year, and we must do all we can to protect ourselves and those around us from the flu.

The flu virus is similar to Covid-19 in the way that it spreads. It spreads from person to person, even amongst those not showing any symptoms, and it can cause significant complications for those aged 65 and over, those living with long-term health conditions (such as diabetes, COPD, or Chronic Kidney Disease), and women who are pregnant.

The evidence is clear that the best protection against the virus is to get a flu jab if you are eligible. The vaccine is free to those in Barking and Dagenham who are in ‘high risk’ groups and it is easy to get your jab at a time that is convenient at GP practices or local pharmacies.

Yet in Barking and Dagenham last year only 49 per cent of eligible adults decided to get vaccinated. This was much lower in children aged 2-3, women who are pregnant, and those who are carers of vulnerable adults.

It is vital that we do all we can to protect ourselves and others from the flu virus this winter. I encourage Barking and Dagenham residents who are eligible for their free flu jab to speak to their GP practice or visit their local pharmacy.

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