Flu is a highly infectious illness which spreads rapidly, even people with mild or no symptoms can infect others. If someone is pregnant or has a long-term condition, they're more vulnerable to the effects and could suffer more than most people if they catch it.
Only 46% of working age adults with a long term condition and only 41% of pregnant women in the borough received the flu vaccination last year. Both figures are below the national average of 48%*. Officials warn that 'at risk' groups could develop potentially serious complications that could even require hospital treatment.
Dr Dino Pardhanani, Joint Clinical Director at NHS Sutton CCG said:
"Unfortunately, anyone with a long-term condition is more likely to develop potentially serious complications of flu, such as pneumonia.
The flu vaccine is readily available for those with long-term conditions. If you have a long-term condition then you are eligible for a free flu vaccine and I'd urge you to get yours as soon as possible, it's free because you need it - don't wait for even colder weather to arrive. Simply ask your pharmacist or book an appointment at your GP.
Children aged 2-3 and adults aged 65 and over 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.