Alert over flu jab numbers

Health chiefs have issued a new year's alert after concerns that a large number of vulnerable people have failed to have their flu jab.

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Each year the seasonal flu virus changes so anyone who had a flu jab last year will need one this year to protect them from this winter's virus

Health chiefs have issued a new year's alert after concerns that a large number of vulnerable people have failed to have their flu jab.

Latest figures from the Cardiff and the Vale Health Board area show more than half of at risk under 65s have not received vital jab protection.

Doctors at the health board, in south Wales, warn that uptake of the flu vaccine in the area is well below the Welsh average.

People in at risk groups are more likely to develop potentially serious complications of flu, such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

Most at risk are pregnant women and those with long-term medical conditions from asthma, diabetes and heart disease to lung disease, kidney or neurological disease.

People who have a weakened immune system are also at risk and are among those who should have the flu jab annually.

Dr Tom Porter, Consultant in Public Health Medicine for the health board, said: "Many people under 65 are eligible for a free flu jab but are not aware.

"Free jabs are available to those who are at the greatest risk of flu, including pregnant women and those with a long-term medical condition such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease.

"Flu spreads easily, and can cause serious illnesses such as bronchitis, pneumonia and meningitis which can require hospital treatment.

"If you are eligible for the vaccine, talk to your GP, Practice Nurse or NHS Direct Wales.

"In addition, many community pharmacies in Cardiff and the Vale are offering vaccination for free for eligible patients."

Each year the seasonal flu virus changes so anyone who had a flu jab last year will need one this year to protect them from this winter's virus.