NEARLY 100,000 people under the age of 65 deemed most at risk of flu across Solihull and Birmingham have not had their free flu vaccine this year.
According to statistics released by Solihull council only 37 per cent of residents with long-term illnesses such as diabetes, asthma and heart, liver or kidney disease have had this year’s flu vaccine.
Only one third of pregnant women in the area have taken up the free flu jab leaving almost 9,000 mothers and unborn children at risk from flu.
And over 24,000 children aged 2 and 3 are yet to receive the nasal spray.
Just over half of over 65s have taken up the annual flu jab leaving nearly 77,000 elderly people vulnerable to flu.
People who receive carer’s allowance, are main carers for an elderly or disabled person, frontline health and social care workers and people living in a long-stay care facility are also being eligible for a free flu jab.
Dr Richard Mendelsohn, chief medical officer of NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group and a Birmingham GP, said: “Prevention is always preferable when it comes to flu.
“The reason we talk so much about getting a flu jab if you are in one of the at-risk groups is that we don’t want to see anyone become seriously ill, especially when it is avoidable.
“I would encourage everyone in an at risk group to get a flu jab and protect themselves this winter.”
Councillor Karen Grinsell, cabinet member for adult social care and health, said: “If you are eligible for a free flu jab and have not yet come forward, it’s not too late to get protected.
“Flu can be serious and is very different to the common cold; it can even be life threatening for those in an at-risk group.
“You are putting yourself at risk if you do not take up the annual vaccination so please visit your GP, pharmacist or midwife as soon as possible. It’s free because you need it.”
For more visit www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/flu-influenza-vaccine/