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Tens of thousands at-risk people not taking up free flu jab offer

By Richard Guttridge | Sandwell | Health | Published:

More than 115,000 people in part of the West Midlands could be at risk of flu because they haven't had their free vaccination, experts have warned.

Thousands haven't had their free flu jab

NHS figures showed relatively low numbers of those eligible for the free jab had actually taken up the offer across Sandwell and West Birmingham.

Less than half of people aged over 65 - 45 per cent - have been vaccinated, while just 16 per cent of pregnant women and 16 per cent of those under 65 deemed to be clinically at risk have had the jab.

Just 4.5 per cent of two-year-olds and 4.6 per cent of three-year-olds have had the vaccinated. These are the groups deemed to be most at risk of suffering complications if they get flu.

Health leaders in Sandwell and West Birmingham are reminding those people to book an appointment and not to "leave it until it is too late".

Dr Ian Sykes, chair of Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group said: “There is still time to get your flu vaccination before Christmas. Make sure you are not struck down in bed with flu over the festive period and book your flu jab today.

“Flu is a highly contagious illness that spreads rapidly. It can cause serious complications for at risk groups, such as the elderly, expectant mothers and people with long term health conditions.

“We know that germs can be very easily picked up and spread amongst friends and family members. The flu vaccination helps protect local people in particular those identified in the at risk categories.

“My advice for anyone eligible for the free flu vaccination is to get it now before it is too late. It is the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus, that's why it's free for people who need it.”

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Investigations Editor - @RichG_star

Investigations Editor for the Express & Star.

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