Officials are warning that in cold temperatures, people over 65 are at greater risk of suffering from the flu because they're more vulnerable to the effects and more likely to develop potentially serious complications, such as pneumonia.
Over the last few years, numbers of vaccinations are dropping as fewer people aged 65 and over are getting their flu jab. With the threat of hospital admission becoming an ever more serious possibility, doctors are reminding those aged 65 and over to get their flu jab as soon as possible, and not to wait until the weather turns too cold.
Dr Dino Pardhanani, Joint Clinical Director at NHS Sutton CCG and a local GP said:
"It is more important than ever to make sure you get your free flu jab if you are aged 65 and over. With fewer people getting their vaccinations, the risk of developing potentially serious complications is increasing. For those in 'at risk' groups, the flu can lead to other illnesses, such as pneumonia and you could even require hospital treatment.
If you are aged 65 or over, then simply get yourself down to your local pharmacist or book an appointment with your GP as soon as possible. The flu jab is free for you, because you need it, so don't wait for the weather to turn even colder."
Pregnant women, children aged 2-3 and those with a long-term condition are also likely to suffer more than most if they contract flu, which is why the NHS is also offering free vaccinations to those who are eligible.
Visit www.nhs.uk/fluvaccine for more information on the flu vaccine and its effectiveness.