Cheshire East Council is urging people to get their flu jab as soon as possible.
People at increased risk of severe illness if they catch flu are older people, the very young, pregnant women, those with long-term health conditions – particularly chronic lung or heart disease – and those with a weakened immune system.
Health and social care workers are also urged to protect themselves and, importantly, their patients and clients, by having the jab.
Councillor Liz Wardlaw, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for health, said: "The flu jab is the single most effective way to protect yourself and those around you and is especially important if you are at increased risk of severe illness if you catch flu.
"While most healthy people generally recover within a week, it can lead to serious complications, like pneumonia and bronchitis, which require hospital treatment. Every year, hundreds of people die from this preventable disease.
"The best time to get vaccinated is in autumn before the flu season starts. So please have your jab as soon as possible, to avoid catching flu and spreading it to others."
Those eligible to receive a free flu jab on the NHS are:
● People aged 65 or over;
● All pregnant women;
● People living in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility;
● Those in receipt of a carer's allowance, or those who are the main carer of an older or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill;
● People aged from six months to less than 65 years of age who have certain medical conditions (including diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, heart problems, chronic neurological diseases and conditions such as Parkinson's, chronic respiratory disease and those with a weakened immune system);
● All two and three-year-olds (nasal spray vaccine); and
● All children in school years reception, 1, 2, 3 and 4 (nasal spray vaccine).
Dr Matt Tyrer, health protection lead at Cheshire East Council, added: "Flu is a highly-infectious disease with symptoms that come on very quickly, such as fever, tiredness and aching joints.
"As the flu bug changes every winter, it's very important that people are immunised each year, as the flu jab protects against the strains that will be circulating.
"Please don't delay getting the flu vaccination – speak to your surgery as soon as possible."
Cedrics Chemist are now offering flu vaccinations for £12 per person and in addition to administering the vaccinations in store, they are able to provide flu vaccination services to companies and businesses wishing to offer the service to their staff.
For advice and information about the flu vaccination, including whether you are eligible for a free jab, speak to your GP, practice nurse or pharmacist or visit: www.nhs.uk/staywell/