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People with long term health conditions at serious risk from Flu

09 January 2023

A woman holding a hankerchief to her nose

Do you have a long term health condition which makes you eligible for a free flu jab, but have not yet taken up the offer? Book yours today to protect yourself from flu.

Those who have long-term health conditions are at a higher risk of catching flu and the life-threatening complications that can come with it which frequently lead to hospitalisation. These complications include pneumonia, septic shock, heart, brain or muscle tissue inflammation, or organ failure, such as lung or kidney failure. Sadly, even with hospital treatment these can, and do, lead to death.

Yet there is a clear decline in the uptake of the flu vaccine, with just 47% of our 'at-risk' population receiving their flu vaccination to date. 

In addition to fewer people being vaccinated, lack of exposure to respiratory illnesses other than COVID-19 and reduced mixing and movement due to shielding and lockdowns is likely to have had an impact on immunity making us more vulnerable to infections.

Dr Annapurna Sen, Consultant in Health Protection for North and West Northamptonshire Councils says:

“This winter, as expected, we are already seeing a rise in flu and COVID-19 infections and around 49,000 residents within the ‘at risk’ group are still unvaccinated. If you have a long term condition having the flu vaccine, as well as the COVID-19 injection, will protect your immune system and help prevent serious illness and death.

"Its hugely worrying to hear that a high proportion of our hospital intensive care beds are currently occupied by seriously ill flu patients.

"Helping our local NHS is just one reason why those who are classified as clinically at risk should to protect themselves by getting the flu vaccine as a priority, but it is a vitally important one.”

The flu vaccine is free to individuals that are at risk, including those with:

  • Respiratory conditions, such as asthma, COPD, bronchitis, or emphysema
  • Diabetes
  • Heart conditions, such as coronary heart disease or heart failure
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Liver disease, such as hepatitis
  • Some neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, MND, MS, cerebral palsy and those who have had a stroke
  • Spleen problems like sickle cell disease (or if you have had your spleen removed)
  • Those who have a BMI of 40 and above
  • Weakened immune system due to conditions such as HIV, AIDS, or those who are taking medication such are steroid tablets or undergoing cancer treatment

We are asking all eligible individuals to get their flu jab today if they haven’t taken up the offer of getting it already.

If you have not had an invite from your GP and are in one of these groups – or a loved one you help care for is – call your surgery or visit Find a pharmacy that offers the NHS flu vaccine - NHS - NHS ( to find your nearest local pharmacy offering the flu jab today. 


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