PENSIONERS are being urged to have a vaccination before an expected epidemic strikes.
For over 65s in Halton there are now more ways to obtain a free annual flu jab. Flu is a serious illness for older people as it can lead to long-lasting complications, such as bronchitis, pneumonia or even death.
Every autumn, local GPs work alongside Halton Primary Care Trust (PCT) to offer free flu vaccination to pensioners and others whose health places them at risk of serious complications should they catch flu.
This year's flu vaccination campaign runs from this week until December 31 and Halton PCT is offering jabs in a range of community locations as well as GP surgeries.
In particular, flu vaccination sessions have been arranged with the assistance of Asda.
Shoppers aged over 65 will be able to add the flu jab to their shopping list at Asda Runcorn on Tuesday.
Specially trained nurses will be on hand to administer the jabs at the stores from 10am-3.30pm.
Vaccination will also be available on a drop-in basis at the PCT's Halebank Access Centre which is open Monday-Thursday 9am-12.30pm and 1.30-5pm; Friday 9am-noon.
In addition, the PCT will be working with Halton Borough Council to provide flu vaccination at two invitation-based Alive and Kicking Days in local community centres.
Halton's flu champion Eileen O'Meara, public health lead for older people, Halton PCT, said: 'We would urge people aged over 65 and those in 'at risk' groups to have their free flu jab as soon as possible. You can have it at your own GP's surgery or at one of our community access events.
'Even if you had a flu jab last year, the vaccine is only effective for 12 months, so it is important to have one each year.'