Residents across Sefton are still being urged to get the flu jab this winter.
The flu vaccination is one of the most effective ways to reduce harm from flu as it reduces risk of serious illness, hospitalisation and even death among those who are most at risk.
Free flu vaccinations are being offered to all pregnant women, all children aged 2 to 4, residents of all ages with a long term health condition and everyone aged 65 and over. Most people who are eligible can get vaccinated at their local GP practice.
In addition, this year children in school years one and two have been offered the flu vaccination and a programme has been carried out across the borough offering the spray.
The flu vaccine for children is given as a single dose of nasal spray squirted up each nostril. Not only is it needle-free (a big advantage for children), the nasal spray works even better than the injected flu vaccine.
It’s quick and painless and means children are less likely to become ill if they come into contact with the flu virus.
Cllr Ian Moncur, Cabinet Member Health and Wellbeing, said: “There is still time for residents to get the flu jab or spray.
“Flu is a highly contagious illness that spreads rapidly and can be very unpleasant for children and adults alike. Symptoms include fever, chills, aching muscles, headache, stuffy nose, dry cough and sore throat lasting up to a week.
“By having the vaccination it will go a long way to protect yourself against such nasty symptoms.”
Pippa Rose, who is a practice nurse lead for both clinical commissioning groups in Sefton, said: “As well as planning your Christmas shopping, remember to book your flu jab before the colder weather sets in.
“Having a flu jab isn’t just about protecting you from what can be serious effects of the flu but also helps reduce the spread of flu to those around you. We also encourage carers to get protected too.
“It’s really good news that a greater number of children can now benefit from the free vaccine. However, we mustn’t forget that it’s equally important for expectant mums, those aged over 65, or anyone of any age who has diabetes, chest complaints like bronchitis and kidney problems to get their vaccination.
“If you are not sure if you qualify for a free vaccine, just contact your practice and they’ll be happy to offer advice.”
You can find a wide range of information about the annual flu immunisation campaign at http://www.nhs.uk.