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FLU: People with a learning disability are at greater risk of developing serious illness

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.

As the NHS continues to work through the Covid-19 pandemic, anyone with a learning disability is encouraged to get their free vaccination to help stay well this winter.

Carers of anyone with a learning disability are also entitled to the free vaccination. All carers (family member or support worker) are urged to ensure they are registered at their local GP practice as a carer of someone with a learning disability. Individuals should also be on their GP Learning Disability Register to access the very best care.

Now is the time that GP practices and community pharmacies are carrying out vaccinations for those at risk.

Anyone who is defined as being in an ‘at risk’ group should arrange to have the vaccine once they are contacted by their GP practice.

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 regularly.

Having the vaccine provides the individual with protection and it also helps reduce the chances of spreading the virus to family and friends.

Dr Ian Tait, Chair of NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group and Herefordshire GP 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 chest problems like pneumonia.

“I’d urge people to make sure they have the vaccination as soon as they are contacted by their GP practice. Carers of anyone with a learning disability should also get the free vaccine from their GP surgery or community pharmacy.”

Information that was held previously by NHS Herefordshire CCG, NHS Redditch and Bromsgrove CCG, NHS South Worcestershire CCG and NHS Wyre Forest CCG was transferred to NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire CCG on 1 April 2020.

The new CCG is the the new data controller. Any questions about the use of data (including patient data) by the new CCG should be directed to hw.enquiries@nhs.net.