HEALTH bosses have launched an enhanced drive to get vulnerable East Lancashire residents to get their free flu jab as coronavirus cases rise.

Blackburn with Darwen and NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are urging all eligible people to get vaccinated against influenza.

Dr David White, clinical lead for urgent care across Pennine Lancashire, says the immunisation is particularly important because of the risks posed by coronavirus.

He said many of the groups vulnerable to flu are also more vulnerable to Covid-19.

Free NHS vaccines are available to two and three year olds; primary school-aged children and year seven secondary school pupils; pregnant women; those in clinical risk groups including those with breathing problems or diabetes, heart, kidney or liver disease; those aged 65 and over; household contacts of shielded patient; and health and social care workers

Dr White said: “This winter more than ever, with Covid-19 still circulating, we need to help reduce all avoidable risks. Vaccinating more people will help reduce flu transmission and stop people becoming ill.

“It is vital that every contact counts and that all eligible patients are aware of the importance of having a flu vaccination and know where to get it be that GP surgery flu clinic, a local pharmacy, or a visiting district nurse. It is vitally important children are vaccinated.

“We need to get the eligible population in the habit of asking about their flu vaccination and where and when they can receive it.

“There are plans to also extend to programme to those aged 50 to 64 later in the year.”