Protect yourself and your family from flu this winter.
Flu is a highly contagious and unpredictable virus that can be unpleasant for generally healthy people, but can cause severe illness and even death among vulnerable groups including the very young, older people, pregnant women and people with an underlying health condition.
This is anything but a typical year and we all want to protect ourselves and those close to us. Due to the potential impact of influenza and COVID-19 it’s now more important than ever that we act to protect ourselves from getting the flu.
This year, the national flu vaccination programme will offer free vaccination to:
- People aged 65 years and over
- Pregnant women
- People aged under 65 years with certain medical conditions, including children in at-risk groups from 6 months of age.
- Children aged 2 – 3 years; children in primary schools; children in Yr 7 in secondary schools
- People who are on the NHS Shielded Patient list and members of their household
- People in residential or nursing homes
- Main carers for people who are older or disabled whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill
- Front-line health and social care workers employed through Direct Payment (personal budgets) and/or Personal Health Budgets, such as Personal Assistants, to deliver domiciliary care to patients and service users.
Reducing the spread of Flu
If you yourself or any member of your household is eligible, we strongly encourage you take up this vaccination which is available at your GP or local pharmacist. Pre-school children are vaccinated by the GP and school-aged children are vaccinated in school.
For the rest of us, there are still plenty of options you can consider to reduce the risk of catching and spreading the Flu virus.
Catch it Bin it, Kill it - Aside from having your flu vaccine, the best way to prevent the spread of flu is to practise good hand hygiene. Catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue, throw the tissue away and wash your hands well with soap and warm water.
Visit your local pharmacist - you may wish to consider paying for the vaccination yourself helping to prevent you and your family getting really unwell this winter. Most pharmacies will offer a vaccination for between £10 and £15.
For more information about flu and the flu vaccination, please see NHS choices website
For more ideas and tips to help you and your family stay well this winter please see here (link to Help Us Help You leaflet)
Free flu vaccine for personal assistants
All frontline health and social care workers should get the winter flu vaccination – including all Personal Assistants (PAs). For the first time, this year, PAs will be able to access the vaccine free of charge from GPs and community pharmacies, via the NHS Complementary Scheme. This vaccination is available now. (Local availability may vary).
Full, bespoke guidance for PAs and direct payment holders has been developed and will be published shortly. However, given the complexities in communicating this message to this sector, we are taking the step of issuing a summary of that guidance, along with the proof of entitlement, so that PAs can begin to access the flu vaccination now.
To access the scheme, PAs will simply need to attend a GP surgery or community pharmacy and identify themselves as a PA. However, we are aware that individuals have been asked to provide proof in the past and we have therefore provided a letter that can be used for identification, as attached. The process for PAs to access the flu vaccination, is as follows:
- Attached to this summary, there is a letter that can be printed. Personal Care Assistant (PA) Letter of Entitlement
- The direct payment holder, as employer, will fill out this letter, to prove they employ the PA. Once the PA has this, this will act as their ‘letter of entitlement’ to the vaccination.
- They will then need to visit their local GP or community pharmacist, who will be able to give them the flu vaccination. If they need to prove their entitlement, they can use the letter of entitlement and a copy of this guidance (when published).
- The vaccination will then be given to them, free of charge.