Text messages and letters are being sent to eligible adults across the Black Country and West Birmingham, encouraging them to come forward for their annual flu vaccine.

People aged 50-64 will be contacted by the NHS from this week and invited to book an appointment for their vaccine at their GP practice or local pharmacy.

Flu is a highly contagious viral infection that anyone can catch and is most common over the winter period. It can be very serious for some and even life-threatening. It can spread easily from one person to another, even if you don’t have any symptoms.

One of the most effective ways to reduce potential harm from the seasonal flu virus and protect immune system is through getting the flu jab.

Sally Roberts, Chief Nursing Officer for Black Country and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Preparing for potential winter illnesses is important for everyone, but especially for those who are at higher risk of getting the flu.

“Due to the restrictions that were in place last year, it’s possible that more people will catch flu compared with last winter as immunity levels will be lower. One of the most effective way to reduce potential harm from the seasonal flu virus is through getting the flu jab.

“Getting vaccinated is important to not only protect yourself, but also the people around you, and to help slow the spread of the virus in the wider community. Even if you had a flu vaccination last year, the type of flu can vary each winter, so it is recommended to have the flu vaccine again this year or you won’t be protected.

“The best time to have the flu vaccine is in the autumn or early winter before flu starts spreading, so I would encourage anyone who has received an invite to get their appointment booked as soon as possible.”

Those who already have an appointment booked or have had their flu vaccination this year don’t need to do anything.

The COVID-19 booster programme will also run alongside the flu programme, and many clinics across the area will be offering both doses at the same time, where possible, to those eligible for both types of vaccination. If you are offered both vaccines, it is safe to have them at the same time.

Click here for more information about the flu vaccine.