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Amidst persisting Covid-19 pandemic and winter flu, health care chiefs have urged the patients with long-term health complications to get their flu jab immediately.

Latest data from the Public Health England (PHE) analysis showed six in 10 flu deaths are people with underlying conditions.

A coalition of charities, including the British Heart Foundation and Mencap, have joined the PHE and the NHS in urging them to get vaccinated before Christmas.

This year, with those most vulnerable to flu also being at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus, it is more important than ever that eligible people get the flu vaccine, the PHE said.

Public Health Minister Jo Churchill said: “The flu vaccine is there to protect as many people as possible, especially those living with long-term health conditions who carry a higher risk of falling seriously ill.

“This winter with Covid-19 circulating, it’s more important than ever that all those eligible get their jab. Our brilliant GPs and pharmacists are delivering the vaccine to record numbers and if you are contacted by your GP, make sure you take the opportunity to get your free flu vaccination”.

Those with chronic respiratory diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or asthma, are seven times more likely to die if they catch flu compared to healthy adults, the health agency has said in a statement.

Dr Nikki Kanani, Medical Director of Primary Care in England, said: “As well as kicking off the world-first Covid-19 programme this week, the NHS continues to offer essential flu vaccines for those who need it, and it’s especially important that those most at-risk, including with long-term conditions, get vaccinated.

“We have written to eligible patients inviting them to get vaccinated without delay, and NHS services have put a range of measures in place to minimise any risk of Covid-19”.

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