Since the pandemic started, unpaid carers have made huge sacrifices by taking every possible step to mitigate risks and keep the person they care for as safe as possible. Now, with autumn approaching, we also need to protect carers and those they care for from seasonal flu. Carers could pass the flu virus on to the person they care for, even if they have no symptoms themselves.
The flu vaccine is a safe and effective vaccine. It’s offered every year on the NHS to help protect people at risk of getting seriously ill from flu as it’s the best protection against flu and its complications. The government recognise unpaid carers as a vulnerable group in need of protection and as such have included them in the national programme for flu vaccination.
Flu and Covid-19 viruses can be life threatening and have the potential to increase pressures faced by the NHS this winter, particularly if infection waves from both viruses coincide. We are therefore encouraging all unpaid carers in Surrey to take up the offer of a free flu vaccination as a priority, not only to protect themselves and the people they care for, but to help reduce hospitalisations during a time that we expect will be especially busy for the NHS and social care.
The best time to have the flu vaccine is in the autumn or early winter before flu starts spreading. The flu season generally lasts from October to March and this year the jabs may be available as early as September. Carers who look after someone who is elderly or disabled can show their Surrey Carers’ Flu Jab Voucher when asking for a flu jab at their GP practice or their nearest participating community pharmacy. The voucher provides assurance that the carer is known to carers services in Surrey and is therefore entitled to a free flu vaccination.
Surrey Carers’ Flu Jab Vouchers are available through all of our Carers Support Services:
- Action for Carers Surrey
- Surrey County Council Adult Social Care
- Crossroads Care Surrey
- Surrey Independent Living Council
Young carers are encouraged to contact their GP for advice on flu vaccination.
Please don’t worry if you don’t have the voucher with you or lose it, you can still get your flu vaccination done for free by signing the flu form at your community pharmacists or GPs to say that you are a carer.
Dr Sue Tresman, Independent Carers Lead Surrey Heartlands said: “It’s really important that Carers look after themselves and take advantage of the free flu vaccine available to them. I would like to encourage all our Surrey Carers to protect themselves and those they care for.”
Councillor Sinead Mooney, Carers Champion at Surrey County Council said: “Carers play an integral role in our communities, ensuring loved ones are safe and well through all circumstances. I am incredibly pleased to be involved with this scheme ensuring our carers and their loved ones are protected through the winter months.”