Homeless people have been queuing up at a medical drop-in centre – where doctors are injecting them with free flu shots.
A Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) launched the scheme to vaccinate homeless people against the ‘life threatening’ virus.
The drop-in clinic was set up to vaccinate ‘the most vulnerable people’ who live on the streets in Barking and Dagenham, east London.
According to the CCG, the aim of the clinic is to save the lives of people who usually skip access to healthcare.
Flu jabs are around £20, according to the NHS.
Local GP Dr Raj Kumar and nurse Sarah Byrne spent the day handing out vaccination at Vicarage Field Shopping Centre in Barking.
Dr Kumar said: “Not only can catching flu cause unnecessary trips to hospital, but flu for those who are homeless could be life threatening.
“The cold weather, and often extreme temperatures in winter, can mean those who are homeless in our area are at high risk of developing flu.
“These clinics have been able to offer our vulnerable homeless population flu vaccinations, which will help towards protecting their health this winter.”
A spokesperson for Barking and Dagenham Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Anyone can catch flu, and those who are homeless are at high risk.
“The clinics provided the vaccination free of charge, health advice, and further information on the wider services available.”
Barking and Dagenham councillor Maureen Worby said: “Anyone who has ever experienced flu will know how awful it can be.
“However, most of us are fortunate that we can get better in a warm comfortable home with support from friends, and family.
“This winter, we are committed to improving the health and wellbeing of the most vulnerable people in Barking and Dagenham and working with the local NHS is just one of the ways we hope to continue to support homeless people this winter.”
By Daniel Hammond