Free flu jabs available to minimise risk of severe illness for those with liver disease

People with chronic liver disease are at particular risk of severe illness if they catch flu, and are 48 times more likely to die if they develop flu than healthy individuals. If you are living with hepatitis C or liver disease, protect yourself with a free flu vaccine provided as part of the NHS’s ‘Stay Well this Winter’ campaign.

For most healthy people, flu is an unpleasant but usually self-limiting disease with a short recovery. However, people with an underlying health condition are far more likely than a healthy adult to be admitted to hospital with complications. Liver disease can affect the immune system, making it more difficult to fight off infection. Flu can also make the effects of an existing condition worse and makes complications like pneumonia more likely.

Flu vaccination remains the best protection we have against the influenza virus. Last year only 42.6% of those with chronic liver disease had the flu vaccination, and the NHS is emphasising it the importance of as many people as possible in clinical risk groups receiving the vaccine.

You can ask to have your free NHS flu jab at your GP surgery, your local pharmacy offering the service, or your midwifery service if they offer it for pregnant women. If you would like any further information about the vaccination programme, please read the user guide here or email immunisation@phe.gov.uk