People in Nottinghamshire at risk of complications from catching flu are being urged to get vaccinated against the condition.

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People in Nottinghamshire at risk of complications if they catch flu are being urged to protect themselves against the condition.

But only half of people in Nottinghamshire deemed to be at greater risk of complications if they catch flu are being are being vaccinated - despite many being eligible to have it done for free.

Dr Paul Oliver, clinical lead for NHS Nottingham North and East Clinical Commissioning Group said: “I cannot express enough how important it is that those at risk protect themselves from what can be a very nasty virus for those affected.

“It is also a very preventable illness; and the jab itself is quick, safe and free for those most at risk .”

He said the flu vaccination was important for those with a long-term health condition, even if well managed, because of the increased risk of complications and even death as a result of flu.

In Nottinghamshire, only around 53,800 of the 104,000 eligible 16 to 65 year olds had been vaccinated against flu between September 2013 and January 2014 – just 52 per cent, compared with as much as 75 per cent of over 65 years olds who are all eligible for the free vaccination.

People at risk are:

Those aged 65 and over

Those aged six months to under 65 in clinical risk groups (with a long-term health condition)

Pregnant women

All 2,3 and 4 year olds

School-aged children in pilot areas

Those in long-stay residential care homes

Carers

Long term conditions include the following types of illnesses: chronic (long term) respiratory disease such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchitis, chronic heart disease, such as heart failure, chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis, chronic neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or motor neurone disease, diabetes, people with problems with their spleen – for example, sickle cell disease, or have had their spleen removed, people with a weakened immune system due to conditions such as HIV and AIDS, or as a result of medication such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy.

For more information, speak to your GP or local pharmacist, or visit www.nhs.uk/flu

Flu vaccinations are currently offered free of charge to the following ‘at risk’ groups:

• People aged 65 years and over (including those becoming 65 years of age by 31st March 2015)

• All pregnant women (including those women who become pregnant during the flu season).

• Children aged 2-3, who are eligible for a free nasal flu vaccination

• People with a serious medical condition such as:

i. Chronic (long-term) respiratory disease, such as severe asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or bronchitis

ii. Chronic heart disease, such as heart failure

iii. Chronic kidney disease at stage 3, 4 or 5

iv. Chronic liver disease

v. Chronic neurological disease, such as Parkinson’s disease or motor neurone disease

vi. Diabetes

vii. A weakened immune system due to disease (such as HIV/AIDS) or treatment (such as cancer treatment)

• People living in long stay residential care homes or other long-stay care facilities where rapid spread is likely to follow introduction of infection and cause high morbidity and mortality. This does not include, for instance, prisons, young offender institutions, or university halls of residence

• People who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an older or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill.