DOCTORS are calling on vulnerable people to get their flu vaccine after several outbreaks of the killer virus across the West Midlands.
Around one in three patients are eligible for a free jab including children, those who are over 65, pregnant women and people suffering from illnesses such as asthma, diabetes and chronic heart disease.
Several schools across the region have had to close after high numbers of pupils caught the virus – which can be fatal in some cases.
But recent figures suggest the number of people in South Warwickshire who have had their vaccine – which available from community pharmacies or their GPs surgery – is above the national average.
Director of Public Health Dr John Linnane said: “The latest figures indicate we are ahead of the national average in terms of the proportion of eligible individuals who have taken up the vaccination, but this does not mean we should relax. Still only around one in three pregnant women are getting their flu vaccine and even fewer young children are getting their vaccine.
“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 then you should also get a free flu jab – it is completely safe, and can’t give you flu.”
The vaccine changes each year to fight the latest strains of the virus, which is spread by coughs and sneezes and can cause high temperature, headaches, tiredness and a sore throat.
From this year children under age four are eligible for a nasal spray as an alternative to the jab.
Visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/flu or speak to your GP or pharmacist to find out more.