Blackpool residents who are at risk of flu are being urged to book their appointments for the annual vaccine.

For most healthy people, flu is an unpleasant illness that usually lasts a week or so. However, older people, the very young, pregnant women and those with underlying health conditions are at particular risk of severe illness if they catch flu.

The best way for these groups to protect themselves and their families is by getting the flu jab. It’s quick, safe and completely free. Just ask your GP or community pharmacist and make an appointment.

Those at risk and eligible for a free flu vaccination from their GP or local pharmacy are:

  • Over 65’s
  • Pregnant women
  • At risk groups, which cover those with a long term condition (e.g. diabetes), those with a weakened immune system (e.g. cancer patients), heart disease, chronic respiratory disease, kidney disease, liver disease, chronic neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and people in long stay residential homes
  • Health and social care workers
  • Carers
  • Two and three year olds
  • Children with certain existing health conditions. These include asthma, having lowered immunity due to disease or treatment, a heart condition, or a learning disability.

Young children aged two, three and four will be offered a nasal spray vaccine to protect them against flu.  All children of school years one and two will also be offered the flu vaccination in the form of a nasal spray. The nasal spray contains viruses that have been weakened to prevent them from causing flu but will help your child to build up immunity.

For some children, the nasal spray is not suitable for medical reasons and it should not be given to children under the age of two. These children will be offered an injectable vaccine instead either at their school or through your GP. If your child is not offered the vaccine in their school, it is important that you contact your GP to arrange an appointment.

Flu can be a very unpleasant illness in children. The immunisation will not only provide important protection to your child but will also reduce the spread of flu to other family members and the wider community, protecting younger siblings, grandparents and others who are at increased risk of becoming seriously ill from flu.

Dr Amanda Doyle, a local GP and Chief Clinical Officer at NHS Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It’s really important that people in the at-risk groups don’t put off getting the flu vaccine. If you’re eligible for a free vaccine it’s because you need it. Flu is not just a bad cold. It can lead to more serious complications like pneumonia and bronchitis.

“The vaccine provides year-long protection from flu which not only protects you as an individual, but also helps to stop the spread of the virus to your family and friends.”

Contact your GP as soon as possible to arrange your flu vaccination appointment. Alternatively, you can visit your local pharmacy, many of which offer walk-in appointments.

For more information about the flu vaccination as well as a range of health advice for the winter period, please visit:

For further information about this press release please call the communications team at NHS Blackpool CCG on 01253 956594.