Published: Wednesday, 12th October 2022

Residents are encouraged to get their flu jab to protect themselves against the flu virus this winter.

We are encouraging residents to get their flu jab as getting vaccinated reduces the chance of catching flu and minimises the risk of spreading it to others, who may be at more risk of complications.   

Flu can cause severe illness and in extreme cases, can be life threatening. Flu symptoms may include a fever, a cough, a headache and tiredness.

The virus spreads through the air when people cough or sneeze, or when they touch surfaces where the virus has landed then touch their eyes, nose or mouth. The virus can be caught all year round but spreads more commonly during winter periods, this is why it is important to get vaccinated every year to gain maximum protection.

To minimise the risk of catching the flu and to reduce the spread, residents should regularly wash their hands with warm water and soap, sneeze and cough into tissues to catch the germs, dispose of the tissue as quickly as possible and get their vaccine.

Some people are at higher risk of becoming very unwell with flu and are eligible for a free flu vaccination.

Free flu jabs are available to:

  • Pregnant women
  • Carers
  • All children aged two to three years old
  • All school children from reception to year 9 (years 10 and 11 will be offered the vaccine at school in due course dependent on supply)
  • Those aged six months to under 50 years in certain clinical risk groups
  • Close contacts of immunocompromised individuals
  • Those aged 50 years and above (eligible from Saturday, 15 October)
  • Care home residents
  • Frontline health and care workers

Flu vaccination appointments are available at GP practices, selected pharmacies and midwifery services also offer the flu jab to pregnant women. Primary and secondary school children will receive their vaccination at school. Booking is straightforward and the vaccination appointment itself can take less than 10 minutes. People who may not be eligible for a free flu jab can pay for one at a local pharmacy.

Exercise personal responsibility if you are feeling unwell

Cllr David Brake, Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Health, said: “It’s so important that people book their flu jab as soon as possible, especially older adults or people who may have underlying health conditions. If you are contacted directly by the NHS, please get vaccinated - it will be free and is the best way to protect yourself and loved ones. Flu is an unpleasant and nasty virus. We can help to stop the spread by being considerate towards others and exercising personal responsibility if you are feeling unwell. I would also encourage residents to check in on loved ones and neighbours this winter, particularly if they’re unwell and may need food or supplies, as the flu is an isolating illness.” 

Find out more about the flu and learn top tips on how to stay well this winter.

James Williams, Head of Public Health on the left of the image with the flu vaccination nurse, to the right in a blue dress, at Gun Wharf in Chatham

James Williams, Head of Public Health, after receiving his flu vaccination (Gun Wharf, Chatham)


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