People with a high BMI are being encouraged to take up the offer of having their free flu vaccine.
We understand that it’s been harder than normal to maintain a healthy weight during lockdown periods this year, but having a BMI of over 40 puts you at an increased risk of having complications associated with flu.
Just under a third of patients with a high BMI have had their flu vaccination this year and so people are being encouraged to come forward and take up the offer of the free jab.
Dr Matt Nisbet, GP in Hampshire, said: “I encourage all people with a high BMI of over 40 to get their flu vaccine.
“In practical terms this means if you are 5ft 7ins and your weight is over 18 stone or if you are 6ft and your weight is over 21 stone.
“Flu can be really unpleasant and we want to protect as many patients as possible this year.
“It’s really important for you to be protected this winter.”
Watch a video of Dr Matt Nisbet explaining why it’s important to get the flu jab.
Patients can get their vaccines from their GP practice or local pharmacy.
While the covid vaccination programme has started, it’s important to note that currently those aged 80 and over, people in care homes and frontline health and care workers are being prioritised for it.
If you have a high BMI, it’s important to continue to get your flu jab and not wait for your covid vaccination invitation.
Everyone is reminded not to contact their surgeries about the covid vaccination – it is being given strictly by invitation only.
Notes to editors
Each year the vaccination is free for people most ‘at risk’ of having severe flu:
- anyone aged 65 and over
- pregnant women
- children and adults aged 6 months to 65 years with an underlying health condition (such as long-term heart or respiratory disease, weakened immune system or have a learning disability)
- children aged 2 and 3 on 31 August 2020
- children in primary school
- people living in long stay residential care homes
- frontline health or social care workers
And this year it has also been expanded to include the following groups of people too:
- people living with someone who’s at high risk from coronavirus (on the NHS shielded patient list)
- children in year 7 (secondary school)
- People aged 50 to 64 without a long-term condition (from November onwards if sufficient vaccine stock is available)
Unsure whether to have your flu vaccine? We hope the below Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) will help.
What is flu?
Flu is an unpleasant disease that spreads quickly and easily through coughing and sneezing. Flu can also give you headaches, a sore throat, fever, chills, and muscle and joint aches. Those people who are at risk, either because of their age or medical conditions, may develop complications such as chest infections and pneumonia.
Why get the vaccine?
The vaccine provides the best available protection against flu. It is not 100% but it will protect a significant number of people and reduce the severity of flu if you get it. It could also help your relatives or carers because you will not be passing the disease to them.
I’ve heard that the vaccination can give you flu. Is that true?
No; the flu vaccine that is given to adults is made from dead flu virus and cannot cause the infection. The flu vaccine that will be given to most children is a live vaccine, but the viruses in it have been weakened so they can not cause flu. You may get some side effects after the vaccination but these are quite mild like a slightly raised temperature or aching muscles for a couple of days or an ache in the arm where the injection was given. Other reactions are very rare.
Will the flu vaccine protect me against coronavirus?
Getting a flu vaccine will not protect against coronavirus. However, the flu vaccination has many other important benefits. Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalisation and death.
I think I have coronavirus symptoms – should I still come in for a vaccination?
The symptoms of coronavirus are:
- A new continuous cough
- A high temperature
- A loss of taste and/or smell
If you have any of these symptoms then you should stay at home and self-isolate and attend only when you have recovered or tested negative for coronavirus.