PEOPLE are being urged to get their flu jab ahead of a winter where both flu and Covid-19 will be circulating.
There are more than 2,000 venues across the region offering flu vaccines for the four million over 50s still to be vaccinated.
At a time of increased publicity around cases of Covid-19 and the vaccination programme, local clinicians are warning those eligible not to forget their flu jab and the chance to increase protection against this winter disease.
On average around 11,000 people die each year in England from flu and there are fears the death toll could be much higher due to a lack of exposure last winter due to social distancing.
This year, people who are eligible for the flu vaccine include those aged 50 plus, two and three-year olds, school children up to year 11, pregnant women, health and care staff, people who are at risk and households of immuno-suppressed people.
Anyone eligible can get their jab through their GP or by going to a community pharmacist.
Dr Nigel Sturrock, Regional Medical Director at NHS England and NHS Improvement in the Midlands, said: “I urge everyone who is eligible for the free flu jab to take this opportunity to protect themselves and other vulnerable people.
“For the first time we will have Covid-19 and flu co-circulating.
“Not many people got flu last year because of Covid-19 restrictions, so there isn’t as much natural immunity in our communities as usual.
“If people get flu and Covid-19 at the same time, research shows that they are more likely to be seriously ill.
“The flu vaccine is a lifesaver because flu is a highly contagious disease which for some people can lead to serious and sometimes life-threatening consequences.
“Having the flu vaccine will also stop you spreading flu to other people who may be more at risk of serious problems from flu. So, if you are offered a flu vaccination this year, please accept it.”