Brits DON’T intend to get flu jab this winter as millions think they are immune

MILLIONS of Brits don’t intend to get a flu jab this year, as many think they are immune and that the virus is not contagious.

From September more than 30 million people in the UK will be able to access a free flu jab as part of the government’s biggest ever vaccine drive.

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Many people believe you can’t catch the flu if you have had it before [/caption]

All over 50s will be eligible for the jab and last year, around 15 million people received a jab against seasonal flu but ministers hope this will rise to 30 million this winter.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he wants “everybody to get a flu jab” as winter approaches.

But a new study from LloydsPharmacy has revealed that many are hesitant to get the vaccine.

One in five people who are in the most vulnerable group don’t plan on getting the jab this year while 15 per cent of people surveyed believe you are immune to the flu if you have had it before.

It also found that 20 per cent of Brits don’t think the flu can kill, a quarter think it’s just a bad cold, while one in five think it’s not contagious.

Despite the push from the government to get the jab, 35 per cent think they are healthy enough to fight the virus, while 22 per cent don’t think the flu is something to be concerned about.

At the moment, the free NHS flu programme is for people aged 65 and over, pregnant women, people with certain conditions such as kidney disease, asthma or heart disease and carers or those in care homes.

Seasonal influenza can kill and we need to make sure we are preparing ourselves against this

Keith NealEmeritus Professor in the Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases at the University of Nottingham

Frontline health and social care workers are also eligible to receive the flu vaccine.

The jab is also free for children over six months with a long-term health condition, those aged two and three and those in primary school.

Keith Neal, Emeritus Professor in the Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases at the University of Nottingham said Covid-19 has revealed the direct impact that disease spread can have and how quickly this can manifest.

He said: “Last year influenza resulted in around 900 hospital admissions per 100,000 people in the 50-64 year old age range.

“Seasonal influenza can kill and we need to make sure we are preparing ourselves against this.

Sorting the myths from the facts when it comes to flu

As a new study reveals many Brits think they are immune to the flu if you have had it before, LloydsPharmacy pharmacist Deep and Professor Neal sort the fact from fiction.

Myth: You are immune to the flu if you have had the jab before

Fact: Deep says there is always confusion around flu protection and whether if you have had the jab once you are protected for life. He added: “This is not the case, there are many different strains of flu, which manifest each year, which is why everyone needs to protect themselves every year.”

Myth: You could catch Covid if you get the flu jab

Fact: Deep said 13 per cent of people who are eligible for the jab are worried they will catch the virus. He said: “This could put them off having it and leave them at greater risk of catching the flu. Covid-19 can only be caught by coming into contact with the virus itself and not through having the flu vaccination.”

Myth: Flu is not contagious

Fact: Prof Neil said: “The flu is very contagious – it is usually most infectious from the day the symptoms start and for a further three to seven days. For those who are experiencing symptoms of flu, the best thing to do is to stay at home and isolate until all the symptoms have gone, as these could be Covid-19 symptoms. Seasonal influenza can be spread until symptoms disappear”.

“The flu is a yearly disease that has a great impact on the NHS, it’s concerning to see that those who are eligible for the free NHS vaccine aren’t having the vaccination.”

Prof Neil added that there are many benefits to having the jab and said that those who are vulnerable should be protecting themselves.

“Getting vaccinated protects you, protects the people around you and will ultimately help the NHS this winter”.

LloydsPharmacy is encouraging Brits to get the jab with its campaign and A&E & TV Doctor, Dr Alex George, who is also supporting the campaign added that the flu is well-known and because of this people often underestimate the risks.

“People commonly think it’s similar to having a cold. This definitely isn’t the case, it’s much more severe and in some cases it can even result in death.

“I urge people to take steps to protect themselves and their family”.

Experts have also warned that a lack of understanding could have an impact on our health.

LloydsPharmacy Pharmacist Deep Patel explains: “Last year 40 per cent of those who were eligible for a free vaccine didn’t get one.

“These new figures suggest that we may see a similar trend this year so it’s vitally important, especially in light of Covid-19, that we help to encourage those who are vulnerable to protect themselves.”


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