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. Research published by Public Health England in November 2016 suggests that more than two adults in every 100 (2.16%) have a learning disability.
Carers of anyone with a learning disability are also entitled to the free vaccination. All carers are urged to ensure they are registered at their local GP practice as a carer of someone with a learning disability.
Now is the time that GP practices and community pharmacies are carrying out vaccinations for those at risk.
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.
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.
Dr Caroline Gamlin, NHS England Medical Director for Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset, said:
“Flu is a very unpleasant illness. The 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 people to make sure they have the vaccination as soon as possible.
“Carers of anyone with a learning disability should also get the free vaccine from their GP surgery or community pharmacy – the sooner the better to get the best possible protection.”