Long term condition? Still not had your flu jab?

A patient with a long term heath condition who has taken up the offer of a free flu jab is urging others to make sure they get vaccinated.

Marion Barritt, who works as a personal assistant (PA) for the NHS, has spoken out to encourage other ‘at risk’ patients to have their annual flu vaccination straight away, if they have not already done so.

Flu is a particular threat to people with long term conditions such as diabetes (type 1 and type 2) low immunity, respiratory illnesses such as asthma and COPD, and heart, kidney, liver or neurological disease.

The grandmother-of-six, who lives in Wickford, said: “As someone with a long term condition, my GP advised that I have the flu vaccine every year. I’ve had flu when I was younger. I couldn’t walk – it was horrendous and I don’t ever want to get it again.

“By having the flu jab, I know I am protecting myself from a potentially debilitating virus and helping to prevent its spread to family members and colleagues because if you can’t catch the flu, you can’t pass it on. I also have a son with a chronic kidney condition and he always ensures he has the flu jab every winter.”

Marion found the vaccine free and easy to access – she simply made an appointment with pharmacist Mohammed Raje at her local pharmacy - the Shadforth Pharmacy in Wickford High Street. The process took just a few minutes.

Teresa Kearney,  Chief Nurse at Basildon and Brentwood CCG, said: “If you have a long term health condition, even one that is well managed, you are eligible for the flu vaccination free or charge. It’s free because you need it.

“Flu can make the effects of your existing condition worse and make complications like pneumonia more likely.

“It is vital that those who are eligible have the flu vaccine annually as the vaccine protects against different strains of flu which can change or evolve each year.

“Don’t underestimate flu and make an appointment at your local pharmacy or GP surgery for the free vaccination as soon as possible.”

Other ‘at risk’ groups also entitled to book in for their free flu jab include:

These include:

  • anyone aged 65 and over

  • pregnant women

  • children and adults with an underlying health condition (such as long-term heart or respiratory disease)

  • children and adults with weakened immune systems

  • anyone living in a residential or nursing home

  • anyone who is the main carer of an older or disabled person

  • frontline health or social care worketings

Find more information at NHS Choices

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