A vaccine administered earlier this year. Picture: Ian Burt

Health chiefs are urging people to have their flu jab to protect themselves and help to ease winter pressure on NHS services.

A spokesman for Norfolk and Waveney Clinicial Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “This winter the risks of both flu and COVID-19 outbreaks are high. This is because fewer people will have built up natural immunity to flu during the pandemic, and protective measures like social distancing and mask wearing have been lifted.

“Following the extended flu vaccination programme from last year, more groups are eligible to receive the flu vaccine this year.”

The vaccine is available free of charge if you are aged 50 years and over, are pregnant, live with someone who has a weaken immune system, have certain health conditions, receive a carer’s allowance or are the main carer of an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick.

The flu nasal spray vaccine is also available for children aged two and three years old and  from Reception up to Year 11.

You don’t need to wait to be invited to have your vaccine. If you are eligible you can make an appointment at your GP surgery or a pharmacy which provides the NHS service. 

Dr Anoop Dhesi, CCG chairman, said: “This winter the combined risks of flu and Covid present increased risk of serious illness this year. As we see an increase in Covid cases, we should not be complacent about the dangers which flu presents to our communities every winter.  

“Getting your flu vaccine and Covid booster, when you are contacted to do so, will provide the best protection for you and your family this winter.”

See page 36 for call for people with weaken immune system to get their Covid booster vaccination.