The flu virus continues to circulate during the cold winter weather, and people who have a learning disability can be more susceptible to the effects of flu and are therefore at increased risk of developing complications such as bronchitis or pneumonia.
Anyone with a learning disability is entitled to receive a free vaccination. Carers of anyone with a learning disability are also entitled to the free vaccination. The vaccine offers the best level of protection from the flu virus, and it’s important to have the vaccine every year, especially as the flu virus strain changes every year.
Vaccination is available from GP practices and participating community pharmacies. Having the vaccine sooner provides the individual with protection over a longer period of time; it also helps reduce the chances of spreading the virus to family and friends.
Dr Liz Mearns, Medical Director, NHS England South (Wessex) said: “Flu is a very unpleasant illness. Its symptoms can be miserable for many of us, but it can lead to more serious complications for those who fall within certain clinical ‘at risk’ groups. Some people with a learning disability can be more susceptible to flu and can go on to develop more serious complications. I’d urge anyone in this group to makes sure they have the vaccination as soon as possible. Carers of anyone with a learning disability should also get the free vaccine, the sooner the better to get the best possible protection.”