Protect yourself with a free flu vaccine

More than an estimated third of Waltham Forest residents are eligible for a free flu vaccine available from GPs and pharmacies.

The free vaccination is available to those most at risk of developing complications including:

  • people aged 65 and over
  • pregnant women
  • children aged two to four years
  • people with health conditions such as severe asthma, chest or heart complaints, and diabetes.

People in these groups are being urged to get their free vaccination to protect themselves and their families.

Tens of thousands of people from Waltham Forest had the flu vaccine last winter, however only a third of pregnant women and under a fifth of four-year-olds were vaccinated, meaning a lot of people missed out.

Flu is a highly contagious viral infection that anyone can catch, and it can be a really serious illness.

Nasal spray for children

Children aged two, three or four are being offered a nasal spray vaccine instead of the traditional jab.

This will be available through local primary schools to children in years one to three, while parents of younger children can get it from their GP.

Dr Anwar Khan, Chair of NHS Waltham Forest Clinical Commissioning (CCG) and a Chingford GP said: “It is really important that if you are eligible for the vaccine, you take up the offer. It’s safe, it’s free, and it can’t give you flu.

"Remember, flu has the potential to be really serious – causing complications such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and in some cases even death, that’s why it’s so important that people in the high risk groups make an appointment with their GP to get their flu jab.

"The virus is constantly changing too, so even if you were vaccinated last year you still need to get it this year to protect you from the newest strains of flu.”

The vaccine is one of the most effective ways to reduce potential harm from the seasonal flu virus.

It is available from all GP surgeries and many pharmacies, and it is completely free for people in the high risk groups.

Some businesses and organisations also provide free flu jabs to their workforce, and employees are encouraged to take this up if offered, as it can help prevent them spreading flu to their loved ones.

Cllr Ahsan Khan, Waltham Forest Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:

"If you're in a high risk group then it's really important you take up the offer of a free flu vaccination and protect yourself and those close to you.

"Records show a significant number of Waltham Forest residents did not take up the offer last year, so we're trying to reach as many people as possible to improve uptake and protect more people from what can be a really serious illness."