Winter is coming and so is the time to get protected from the winter flu!

The quick and simple flu vaccination is the best protection from the virus and they are offered free to those residents who could be ‘at risk’ of developing severe complications from it such as; bronchitis, pneumonia, the worsening of an existing condition or even death.

Those eligible for a free flu vaccination include:

  • Healthy children aged two to four-years-old or in school years reception, one, two, three and four
  • People aged over 65
  • People aged 6 months to 65 years old with underlying medical conditions such as heart problems, asthma or disabilities
  • Pregnant women
  • Carers
  • People living in long-stay residential care homes or other long-term care facilities

Those living or working with people in these at risk groups should also get themselves vaccinated.

Public Health England (PHE) advises that the vaccination should be taken before the flu season starts and needs to be updated every year to fight the latest strains of flu.

Dr Chris Duffy, chair of NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group said: “People can sometimes underestimate the seriousness of flu, in extreme cases it doesn’t just land you in hospital it can kill you. If you have a chronic medical condition or are over 65 the risk of dying from flu is increased and it is vital you have your vaccine.

“You can make an appointment with your GP practice now to book in your flu vaccination. Vaccinating children is increasingly important as we are trying to reduce the amount of flu that is in the environment and in your local community enabling vulnerable individuals to be protected from the flu.

“I have the vaccine every year to protect my patients, family and myself and urge you to book in your vaccine now to protect yourself and loved ones.”

This year the flu vaccination programme is encouraging more healthy children to get the vaccination to help prevent the virus spreading to other vulnerable people. A quick and painless nasal spray vaccination is available for children and it does not contain the live flu virus, so they definitely cannot catch the flu from it.

Vaccinations for healthy children in schools years reception, one, two, three and four will usually be administered in school.

Councillor Jacqueline Beswick, Rochdale Borough Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “Catching the flu can be unpleasant but for most healthy people it will usually clear up within a few weeks. For some people however, it can be very serious or even life-threatening, so the best way to get protected and prevent spreading the virus is to get the vaccination. I urge everyone to book their jabs as soon as possible, remind your loved ones to get theirs and help our borough stay healthy this winter.” 

Flu vaccinations can be booked with local GPs, pharmacies or midwives. For more information visit


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