Hywel Dda University Health Board is urging all eligible people to have their free NHS flu vaccine as we head into the winter season.

GPs, pharmacists and NHS staff across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire say they are prepared for this year’s flu vaccination programme.

They say it will be safe for residents to receive the flu vaccine, and it will be available to those most at risk of complications from flu as early as possible.

Ros Jervis, Director of Public Health at Hywel Dda UHB, said: “This year, it is more important than ever to get your flu vaccine if you’re eligible because we may see both COVID-19 and flu circulating.

“Our teams have worked tirelessly to ensure the flu clinics are safe, and I would encourage you to go for your flu vaccine appointment when invited.

"It's very important to make sure you and your loved ones are protected this winter.”

Flu spreads easily and the health board anticipates that this autumn and winter we may see COVID-19 and flu both circulating at the same time.

"Having a flu vaccine each year is one of the best ways to protect yourselves and those you care for from catching or spreading it.," said a Hywel Dda statement.

"Flu is more likely to be serious if you have a long term health condition, are pregnant, or are older.

"The people at high risk of COVID-19 are generally the same people at increased risk of becoming very ill with flu.

"If you are eligible for the flu vaccine, you will be invited by your GP surgery, so it is important that your details at your surgery are up to date."

Children and young people will be offered the simple nasal flu vaccine by the Hywel Dda school nursing team, after receiving consent forms from their parents or guardians.

The NHS flu vaccine is available from GP practices or community pharmacies for children aged two and three years old (on 31 August 2021).

It is also available to children and young people in school years Reception to Year 11 or are over 6 months and have a long term health condition.

Also eligible for the flu vaccine are adults who are aged 50 or over, or pregnant, or those who are a care home resident or a carer.

It also applied to those working directly with patients/clients in health or social care or living with someone who has a compromised immune system.

If you’re not in the eligible groups for the flu vaccines, you can still protect yourself this winter by getting the flu vaccine at your nearest pharmacist at a small fee.