Bexley Cllr Teresa O’Neill OBE receives her flu vaccine as flu season begins

London Borough of Bexley’s community and key frontline staff received their flu vaccinations this week along with Cllr Teresa O’Neill, the Leader of the Bexley Council:

“This year, more than any other, promises to be a very harsh flu season. Getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever for at-risk groups, especially in times of COVID-19. The flu vaccine is safe and will help protect you, your families, and your community. The more at-risk people vaccinated against flu, the more people protected from flu,” said Cllr O’Neill.

More people than ever before will be offered the flu vaccine free of charge as new research suggests that those infected with flu plus COVID-19 are more at risk of serious complications or even death.

  • New Public Health England (PHE) research suggests that people infected with both viruses between January and April were more at risk of severe illness and death.
  • 30 million people will be offered the free flu vaccine this year, the highest number ever.
  • Bexley is aiming to vaccinate 50,000 people in at-risk groups.

People in the following at-risk groups will be offered the flu vaccine first through their GP or pharmacy:

  • All primary school children and, for the first time, Year 7 children will be offered the flu ‘nasal spray’ in schools to reduce community spread.
  • Two and three-year olds will be offered the vaccine through their GP.
  • Women who are pregnant will be offered the vaccine through their midwifery service.
  • People aged 65 and over (including those who’ll be 65 by 31 March 2021).
  • People with long-term health conditions.
  • People in long-stay residential care.
  • Those who live with someone at high risk from coronavirus (on the NHS shielded patient list) and those who are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk.
  • Frontline health or social care workers.

Anyone who is 50-64 years old with a health condition should be vaccinated earlier in the season, in line with all others in at-risk groups. Other 50-64 year olds will be contacted later in the season.

Flu is a serious condition that kills on average 11,000 people in England each year and hospitalises many more. Adults at high risk from flu are also most at risk from COVID-19 and the free vaccine is important to help protect the nation from a double threat this winter.

South East London CCG’s GP Clinical Lead for Bexley, Dr Clive Anggiansah, said “Flu can be deadly, and it is easily spread in children and adults. It is dangerous to think of it as “Oh, it’s just the flu!” If you are in an at-risk group, the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from becoming ill with the flu.

This year, the programme is being expanded to help protect communities from flu and ease pressure on the NHS and urgent care services. People in at-risk groups should speak to their GP or pharmacist about getting vaccinated as soon as possible.”