Experts recommend ‘free flu jab’ for morbidly obese

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Health experts have recommended that people classed as being morbidly obese should be entitled to a free flu vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which provides advice to the Department of Health (DH), has presented evidence to Public Health England that suggests that those who in this weight bracket are at greater risk of complications and death should they contract the virus.

A JCVI spokesperson told the BBC that consideration of the host of research provided by Public Health England presented the conclusion that morbidly obese people are more likely to experience complications and mortality if they catch influenza compared to healthy individuals.

The spokesperson went on to say that additional evidence suggests that the morbidly obese would respond well to the flu vaccine, saying: “The committee confirmed its advice that morbid obesity should be considered a risk factor for seasonal influenza vaccination.”

The plan for next winter’s flu season is still being developed, according to the DH.

Those currently entitled to a free flu jab include pregnant women, people aged 65 and over and those with certain medical conditions that mean they may not be able to fight the virus on their own, such as those with chronic heart disease.