Residents in South Tyneside at higher risk of developing severe seasonal flu are being encouraged to get their free flu jab.
While anyone can catch the flu, it can be very serious for certain groups of people. Getting the flu jab helps to protect the most vulnerable, including those aged over 65, pregnant women and children and adults with an underlying condition and people with weakened immune systems. People with learning disabilities as well as carers of an old or disabled person are also eligible.
Jarrow resident and South Tyneside Council employee Caroline Hall, who has asthma and is also a carer for her daughter who has disabilities, has already had her flu jab.
She said: "'As the flu lead for the Public Health Team of South Tyneside Council I understand the importance of getting the flu jab each year. I made sure I got it early this year to lead by example and make sure I'm protected all winter, especially with coronavirus circulating too.
"When I called my GP to make an appointment they explained the extra safety measures in place in the surgery and what PPE the nurse would be wearing during my appointment so I knew what to expect. I was also asked to respect social distancing measures and wear a face covering inside the building
"In these current times it is more important than ever to get the flu jab. As I have asthma I can't take the risk of getting flu and Coronavirus which both attack the respiratory system.
"I also want to protect my daughter who has disabilities as much as possible and, as her main carer, it's important that I look after myself for her."
Flu can lead to serious complications resulting in a stay in hospital and even death. Helping to protect against flu is particularly important with COVID-19 in circulation because people vulnerable to COVID-19 are also at risk of complications from flu.
Deputy Leader with responsibility for Independence and Wellbeing, Councillor Tracey Dixon, said: "With the pandemic still very much at large in our communities, it is important that we all do as much as we can to keep ourselves and one another safe.
"I would encourage residents who are eligible to take advantage of a free flu jab. This is not only the most effective way of protecting themselves from flu, it will also help prevent our NHS from being overwhelmed."