Black Country residents urged to get flu jab and not wait for Covid vaccine

Health bosses are warning vulnerable people in the Black Country not to ignore their flu jabs as they wait for the Covid vaccine.

Medical experts say those who catch coronavirus while suffering influenza are twice as likely to die.

Sally Roberts, chief nurse for the Black Country and West Birmingham (BCWB) Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), said: “It’s extremely worrying that people are not coming forward to have their free flu vaccination, especially this winter, when catching this virus could be more dangerous than ever.

“We are hearing that some people are trying to wait for the Covid-19 vaccination, but we need to be clear that flu can be just as dangerous if you are in a vulnerable group, and flu kills thousands of.”

Across the Black Country the number of people getting a flu jab is less than 40 per cent. Among pregnant women the rate falls to just six per cent.

Emma McCartney, midwife and professional midwifery advocate for the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, said: “Flu can have devastating complications for your baby if you catch it while pregnant, including low birth weight and an increased risk of birth defects.

"You are more vulnerable to getting very ill at this time too, as your immune system is concentrating on keeping baby safe.

“The flu jab protects you and your baby. It’s safe to have at any time during your pregnancy and it’s available right through flu season – even if you find out you’re pregnant in January.”

Across the Black Country the numbers getting the free vaccine is only 44 per cent in Dudley and 41 per cent in Walsall. Sandwell and West Birmingham has the lowest take up rate at 31 per cent followed by Wolverhampton at 36.

The flu jab is free of to adults aged 65 or over, pregnant women, those with pre-existing conditions including heart disease, diabetes and respiratory conditions, NHS and social care workers, all children aged two and three years old, all school-aged children up to year seven, households of those who are on the shielding patients list, adults aged 50 to 64 from December 1.

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