SOUTHAMPTON residents are being urged to help protect themselves from the dual threat of flu and coronavirus.

Southampton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) says people living in the city should make sure they benefit from the biggest flu vaccination campaign ever seen.

NHS staff across the country are hoping to reach 30 million people - twice the figure recorded last year.

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Public Health England has warned that people who get flu and coronavirus at the same time are almost twice as likely to die.

This year's flu vaccination programme is bigger than ever because more people are eligible for the free jab.

Doctors are keen to stress that what can appear to be "just flu" can lead to long-term complications.

People at risk of developing problems if they catch flu include pregnant women, people aged over 65 and those with a long-term health condition.

Lorna Fielker, the city council's cabinet member for health, said: “This year, with both the flu virus and Covid-19 circulating, getting a flu jab is more important than ever.

“We want to you to look after yourself and protect the NHS."

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Mark Kelsey, clinical chair at NHS Southampton City CCG, added: "This year will be the biggest flu vaccination campaign we have embarked on.

“We will be vaccinating more people than ever as we have expanded the groups of people eligible for the free jab.

“Because we still have coronavirus in our community, some practices and pharmacies might be carrying out their vaccination clinics differently this year.

“This could involve booked appointments, vaccinations in car parks or community buildings and separate clinic groups for our ‘at risk’ patients.

"I would like to thank all of our NHS staff for their hard work to make this happen.

“You may also see staff wearing face masks and lots more handwashing and use of hand sanitiser. Please feel rest assured these measures are in place to help keep you and our staff as safe and secure as possible.

“We know some people will be feeling anxious, worried or scared about having their vaccination, however it is far better to be protected from flu, than go without.”