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.
Now is the time that GP practices are carrying out vaccinations for those at risk and inviting them in to be vaccinated. Anyone who is defined as being in an ‘at risk’ group should contact their surgery and arrange an appointment to have the vaccine.
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.
In Kent, 4,720 people aged 18 to 64-years-old with a learning disability are supported by KCC Adult Social Care. KCC Director of Public Health, Andrew Scott-Clarke 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.”
He added: “Carers of anyone with a learning disability should also get the free vaccine from their GP, the sooner the better to get the best possible protection.”
To get your vaccine or find out if you are eligible, contact your GP, pharmacist or midwife for more information. Visit nhs.uk/staywell for more details on how to help you and your family to stay well this winter.