Shielding from Coronavirus? Make sure you protect yourself from flu

People who are on the Covid-19 Shielding Patients list are being offered a free flu jab to help protect them from one of winter’s most dangerous illnesses.

In an unprecedented move, all members of households where somebody is shielding from Covid-19 are being free offered vaccination too, to provide maximum protection for some of the Black Country and West Birmingham’s most clinically vulnerable people.

This is in addition to free vaccination for people with long term health conditions including lung diseases, kidney or liver disease, certain neurological conditions and diabetes.

The vaccine offers the best level of protection from the flu virus, and it’s important to have it every year because the virus strain changes each year. Eligible people should receive an invitation from their GP, but if you’re unsure if you qualify you can contact your surgery or local pharmacist.

Dr Ruth Edwards, local GP and chair of Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “As we’ve seen with Covid-19, respiratory illnesses – of which flu is one – can be very serious and even deadly. If you get flu and Covid-19 at the same time you have a higher chance of getting seriously ill, and people who are at high risk from Covid-19 are also most at risk from flu.

“We may not have a Covid-19 vaccine yet, but we do have a safe and effective vaccine against flu right now, so it’s really important that anybody who is in an identified ‘at-risk’ group takes this step to protect themselves this winter.

“I’d also urge everybody who lives in the same home as somebody who is on the shielding patients list to take up the offer of a flu jab this winter. It’s fast, it’s free, and it’s something you can do today to help protect the people you love.”